Bargain-Basement NFL Pick: Broncos vs. Dolphins in Week 12

Nikki Adams

Thursday, November 20, 2014 4:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 4:30 PM UTC

Find out what NFL odds are currently in swing as the Denver Broncos look to bounce back from a shocking upset in St. Louis when they host the Miami Dolphins at home in week 12. 

Denver Broncos Class of AFC West
Although the Denver Broncos slipped to a shocking 22-7 defeat to the St. Louis Rams on the road, marking one of the worst ever performances by Peyton Manning over his career, the Broncos remain the supreme favourites to win the AFC West division at -400 NFL odds in future betting. That the Kansas City Chiefs have capitalised on the Broncos' costly setback to draw level with a 7-3 SU record in the AFC West standings behind a pivotal 24-20 home win over the Seattle Seahawks, seems to have made little impact on the trading floor as far as the class of the AFC West is concerned. The Chiefs are the second favourites at +375 NFL odds to clinch the coveted title, well behind the Broncos but also well ahead of San Diego Chargers at +1100 – the only remaining threat in the division  with a 6-4 SU record through 11 weeks of the NFL season.


Broncos Face Must-Win Game
Future betting markets may remain unmoved, but that doesn't mean the Broncos are home free. Week 12's matchup with the Dolphins is a must-win game, make no mistake. The AFC West title hangs in the balance. With the Chiefs all but certain to beat the winless Raiders (0-10 SU) on Thursday Night Primetime – well, as good as a lock NFL pick can get in any given week these days in the NFL – the Broncos must return to winning form or face the very real prospect of falling behind in their title defence campaign. [Insert dramatic shiver].

It was a tough defensive test in St. Louis. Another tough defensive test in the prospect of the Miami Dolphins next week. Any concern Broncos' backers entertained following the loss to the Rams were compounded by the growing injury list. Amongst the walking wounded in week 11 NFL betting: Emmanuel Sanders (concussion), Julius Thomas (ankle) and Montee Ball (groin), to name a few. These are serious injury concerns that impact the NFL odds for this game. Sure to impact both any NFL line movements and how the NFL betting public reacts closer to game time when the starting line-ups are revealed.

The Dolphins are in the hunt for a playoff spot, improving their stock value in futures markets after a convincing 22-9 win over the Bills on Thursday. A long week to rest and prepare for the Broncos, aided along by a handy blueprint on how to beat the Broncos courtesy of the Rams, are several intangible advantages that can't be ignored by NFL bettors. It's one thing  though to strike an attractive pose on the NFL odds board, another to actually pull off the feat on the field. At Mile High no less where the Denver Broncos are 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS highlighted by a 14.8-point margin of victory.


Broncos vs. Dolphins Opening Line: 7.5
Already early NFL betting markets are recording a 67-to-33 split between the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins (6-4, 3-2 away) at the online betting shops. The earliest NFL odds to appear on the online sports exchange saw the Broncos range from 7.5 to 8-point favourites. By the end of Sunday, however, those lines moved down to 7-points across most online platforms. Consider the game is at Mile High Stadium, you get a sense of how extraordinary such a negative move is against the Broncos, the trepidation permeating this highly-anticipated clash.

To put it into context of this season, the Broncos, against much better teams, opened and closed on less ambiguous NFL betting lines as home chalk. Looking at just closing lines, they closed on -8.0 against the Colts, -13.0 against the Chiefs (that became a dreadfully inflated spread after the Titans beat the Chiefs in week 1), -8.0 against the Cardinals, -6.5 against the Niners and -9.0 against the Chargers.

All these teams were playoff contenders last season, save for the Cardinals, who despite a solid 10-6-0 SU record in 2013 somehow still narrowly missed on a playoff berth. Importantly, Peyton Manning and Company blew  the last three spreads off the NFL odds board easily. The first two games of the season  featuring the Colts and Chiefs were misses for different reasons a) credit goes to Andrew Luck and Alex Smith. respectively, rising to the occasion and b) the absurd 13-point spread trading in week 2 between the Broncos and Chiefs was an overreaction to a wobbly start on the season by the Chiefs in a loss to the Titans at home.

How the Miami Dolphins are found hobnobbing, all of a sudden, in the same company as those established opponents is somewhat surprising. The banged up receiving corps could explain it to some extent, prompting NFL bettors to turn to the Dolphins and their solid defense as the value NFL pick against the spread. However, all that implies is the Broncos are no better, no deeper, than those players. That has to be the overreaction of the season on the NFL betting floor – in other words a trap NFL pick, tailored to lure bets on the Dolphins, especially late sharp bets as we approach kickoff.


NFL Betting Verdict
By the numbers, the Broncos are 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS at home this season with a 14.8-point margin of victory. Since 2013, they are 9-5-1 ATS with 15.1-point margin of victory at home and 14-9-1 ATS with a 14.7-point margin of victory. The most guiding NFL stat – that is the Holy Grail of NFL betting after all – is a 2-0-0 ATS record this season following a loss with a staggering 22.5-point margin of victory, a statistic that improves to a perfect 5-0 ATS since 2013 and a 20-point margin of victory, and improves further to a 7-1-0 ATS record since 2012 with a 17.0-point margin of victory. The implication is clear – Peyton Manning and the Broncos don't enjoying losing. Looking at these gaudy stats, the 7-point spread is a bargain-basement NFL pick. They lost last week to the Rams badly. NFL betting trends suggest they're poised to bounce back in a big way. Don't you want a slice of such tempting action?

NFL Picks: Broncos to win SU and cover as the 7-point home faves (offered at BetOnline)

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