The Denver Broncos offense is on a record-shattering pace. Looks like a great spot for some NFL prop bets with the San Diego Chargers coming to town on Thursday night.
Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 11 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
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Sweet Murphy Brown, those Denver Broncos can move the football. They’re the only NFL team this year to score over 500 points – nobody else has even reached 400 yet. They’re also the only team to eclipse 4,000 passing yards and 6,000 total yards. Barring some kind of catastrophic failure, Peyton Manning will win his fifth league MVP award, and break the NFL single-season records for touchdown strikes (Tom Brady, 50) and passing yards (Drew Brees, 5,476).
With Denver’s offense bent on destroying those records, and with the defensively challenged San Diego Chargers coming to Mile High on Thursday (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN), this is a gift-wrapped opportunity to bust out some NFL props. The weather report calls for clear skies and temperatures just above freezing, which shouldn’t stop the Broncos from doing their thing. Let’s see what’s out there on the NFL odds boards.
Total Completions by Peyton Manning: OVER 28.5
Our highly scientific NFL betting process begins by looking at how many completions Peyton Manning has made in each of his 13 games thus far:
27, 30, 32, 28, 33, 28, 29, 30, 25, 24, 19, 22, 39
Let’s see… carry the one… looks like six of those numbers are above 28.5 and seven below, including four of the last five. Manning completed 25 passes in Week 11 versus the Chargers in San Diego, in one of just two games this year where the Broncos failed to score 30 points. That’s a statistical anomaly if I’ve ever seen one. Or is it? Here’s how many completions San Diego has allowed in each game:
34, 23, 23, 27, 18, 18, 23, 23, 25, 22, 26, 14, 20
There’s a lot more variance on this list, since San Diego played against 13 different starting quarterbacks with different styles – including a bunch of dual-threat types like Mike Vick, Robert Griffin III and Terrelle Pryor. But these are still lower numbers than you’d expect from one of the worst defenses in the past 25 years, according to the efficiency stats at Football Outsiders.
Efficiency is the key word here, as opposed to volume. The Chargers run defense ranks dead-last in the league, as does their pass defense, so why not simply hand the ball off? The Broncos rushing offense will get its licks in, of course, but this is still all about Peyton Manning, especially with those records in sight. You’re with me, leather.
Total Touchdown Passes by Peyton Manning: OVER 3.5 (+140)
Time for some more numbers, starting with Peyton’s TD passes for each game, and finishing with San Diego’s TD passes allowed:
Manning: 7, 2, 3, 4, 4, 2, 3, 4, 4, 1, 2, 5, 4
Chargers: 3, 2, 1, 2, 2, 0, 0, 0, 4, 1, 3, 1, 1
Speaking of anomalies, see that lone “4” on the Chargers line? That was Manning. He’s thrown at least four TD passes in seven of his starts and four of his last six. I’m more than happy to recommend the OVER here.
Total Receiving Yards by Eric Decker: OVER 90.5
One more number line for Decker:
32, 87, 133, 88, 87, 50, 150, 42, 52, 71, 5, 174, 117The variance gods strike again. Decker has been targeted 12 times in each of Denver’s last two games; against San Diego in Week 11, it was only five targets and three catches for 52 yards. Expect that to go up even more on Thursday now that WR Wes Welker (concussion) has been ruled out. Decker is a strong candidate to hoover up a lot of those slot passes that normally would have gone to Welker. Get those Yards After Catch, big man. Run like the wind.