Bet Broncos in Week 3 NFL Preseason Against the Texans

Jason Lake

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:43 AM GMT

The Denver Broncos are on a mission this year. They’re dead-set on winning the Super Bowl after falling short this past February, and they’ve already beaten the preseason NFL betting lines twice in August.

Remember when losing Super Bowls was what the Denver Broncos were all about? John Elway eventually took care of that in the late ‘90s, but at Super Bowl XLVIII, Denver was trampled 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks (+1.5), whiffing at the Big Dance for the fifth time in franchise history. Great googly-moogly.

Denver got a modicum of revenge in Week 1 of the 2014 preseason, beating Seattle 21-16 as a 1-point home dog on the NFL lines. Then the Broncos went medieval on the San Francisco 49ers (–4 at home) in a 34-0 rout. Uh-oh. Maybe that embarrassing Super Bowl loss really did light a fire under them. The Week 3 NFL preseason odds board has Denver laying the full seven points against the Houston Texans, who are chasing down their own redemption after finishing last in the league in 2013.

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I’ve Got My Orange Crush
Motivation is always nice, but that Super Bowl butt-kicking might generate even more NFL betting value for the Broncos. Casual bettors may have already forgotten how incredible Denver’s offense was – not just the most efficient scoring machine in the league last year, but one of the greatest of All-Time, according to the advanced stats at Football Outsiders. Not that you need DVOA and DYAR to appreciate 37.9 points per game and an OVER record of 11-5.

What the Broncos didn’t have was a world-class defense. They finished No. 15 overall in defensive efficiency last year (Seattle was No. 1), and thanks to some untimely injuries, they were even worse in the playoffs. Enter CB Aqib Talib, who made the Pro Bowl last year as a member of the New England Patriots. And safety T.J. Ward, who made the Pro Bowl last year with the Cleveland Browns. Not enough Pro Bowls for you? How about DeMarcus Ware, who was nominated seven times while playing for the Dallas Cowboys?

And the hits just keep on coming. Denver used its first-round pick (No. 31 overall) on CB Bradley Roby, who was voted first-team All-Big Ten in each of his two years at Ohio State. Once CB Chris Harris returns from his torn ACL, this could be one of the best secondary units in the league. Don’t forget safety Rahim Moore, who’s also coming back from the case of lateral compartment syndrome that nearly cost him his leg.

 

Losing is a Disease
At the other end of the motivation spectrum, you’ve got the Texans, who absolutely spat the bit last year at 2-14 SU and 4-12 ATS. They’ve undergone quite the makeover for 2014, signing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (82.0 passer rating last year with the Tennessee Titans) to be their new game manager, and drafting DE Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick. That’s a good start.

The Texans also have a new head coach in Bill O’Brien, whom we discussed in brief earlier this month. This is his first tour of duty at the NFL level; after two preseason games, he’s got a record of 1-1 SU and ATS. O’Brien and the Texans (+1.5 away) were blanked 32-0 by the Arizona Cardinals in his debut, but Week 2 was much kinder, as Houston (+3 away) prevailed 32-7 over the Atlanta Falcons.

Denver head coach John Fox has been at this a while longer. He’s got a career preseason record of 27-23 SU and 23-26-1 ATS, which would suggest that he’s neither here nor there when it comes to actually winning these exhibition games. But the 2014 Broncos are not your typical football team, and reports from Wednesday’s joint practice with Houston have Clowney leaving the field after colliding with Denver TE Jacob Tamme. Saturday night’s matchup (9:00 p.m. ET) might not be your typical preseason game, either.

NFL Pick: Take the Broncos –6.5 at The Greek