NFL Picks: Betting Trends Don't Favor Broncos vs. Chargers

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 9:44 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 9:44 PM UTC

They just upset the defending champions. Now the Denver Broncos are 4-point road faves in San Diego, but the trends say Denver might have trouble beating the NFL odds.

Jason's 2015 record as of Dec. 1: 45-41-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 25-31 Total

Ding-dong, the champs are dead. The New England Patriots suffered their first loss of the 2015 regular season, 30-24 to the Denver Broncos (+2.5 at home) in overtime. It was a notable game for many reasons, including the fact that Brock Osweiler got a win over Tom Brady. Okay, maybe “fact” is stretching it a bit. Football is a team sport, after all.

As we reported earlier this week, Denver was a near-unanimous NFL pick when the lines opened for Sunday's matchup (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS) with the San Diego Chargers. At press time, our expanded consensus figures show two-thirds of bettors on the Broncos as 4-point road faves, supplying 78 percent of the action. But the betting trends suggest this is a poor place to fill up on Orange Crush.


Beat the Champ
Once again, we turn to NFL trend guru Walter Cherepinsky, who crunched the numbers and found that since 2000, teams who upset the defending champions are 20-30 ATS the following week – no bye weeks allowed in between, if I'm interpreting this trend correctly. It looks like these particular numbers haven't been updated since early 2009, though. Let's see if we can help out here at the home office:

2009 (Week 3 onward): 1-4 ATS
2010: 0-1 ATS
2011: 0-1 ATS
2012: 2-3 ATS
2013: 0-1 ATS
2014: 2-2 ATS

Oh my. Add all that up, and you get... um, carry the one... 25-42 ATS since 2000. This is a tough spot for the Broncos (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS). Unfortunately, we can't break this trend down by head coach – Gary Kubiak wasn't involved in any of these games when he was in charge of the Houston Texans. But at a general level, the message is clear: Teams who upset the reigning champs have been overvalued going into their next contest.


The Osweiler Sanction
Does this mean the Chargers (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS) are the best bet on the Week 13 NFL odds board at sportsbooks like 5Dimes? Not necessarily. They did spoil our picks last week by upsetting the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-25 as 5-point home dogs, snapping a six-game losing streak. And the Bolts did appear to escape that game without adding to their long list of injuries. But on the whole, this has been a very, very bad year for San Diego.

Fading the Broncos this week would ultimately be more about trying to exploit the betting market's tendency to overreact when the defending champs get beaten. Osweiler may prove to be a competent game manager for Kubiak, but according to Football Outsiders, Osweiler posted –14 Total DYAR against the Patriots. Better than Peyton Manning? Yes. Good enough to pry open your wallet and/or purse? We'll leave that up to your better judgment for now.

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