NFL Picks: Chargers to Crack vs. Broncos on Thursday Night

Jason Lake

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 5:48 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 5:48 PM GMT

The Denver Broncos have been destroying the NFL odds – both point spreads and totals – since taking their early bye week. But their last three games against the San Diego Chargers have all gone UNDER.

Jason’s Record After Week 7: 22-29 ATS, 7-11-1 Totals

Profit: minus-29.68 units

 

These aren’t the best of times for the NFL and its fans. But underneath all the scandal, there is some beautiful football being played. The 2014 Denver Broncos are on a serious roll right now, winning three straight games SU and ATS as big favorites, and blowing out the posted totals on the NFL odds board. Peyton Manning has thrown 11 touchdown passes during this streak to break Brett Favre’s NFL career record. Orange has never looked so good.

Here come the bad guys. The San Diego Chargers have been a thorn in Denver’s side ever since Philip Rivers came to town, and each of their last three meetings (regular season and playoffs) has gone UNDER the total. But this is a new season, and with it come several good reasons to add the OVER to your Week 8 NFL picks when the Chargers visit the Broncos Thursday night (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS).

 

Let’s Make a Deal
First of all, there’s the total itself. The past three games have seen the over/under climb dramatically; each of last year’s regular season meetings had a total of 56.5 points, while their Divisional Round contest had a total of 54.5. The people behind the football odds have adjusted things downward since then. As we go to press, Thursday’s game has a total of 51.5 points, up from 50.5 at the open. Our consensus reports show 94 percent initial support for the OVER and 67 percent at the higher price.

If you were one of the early birds who pounded the OVER, well done. Fifty-one points is one of the most common final combined scores in the NFL, occurring roughly 3.5 percent of the time over the past 10 seasons. Wizard of Odds has pegged the “fair price” of buying a half-point onto or away from 51 points at 8.6 cents. Whether you’re betting OVER or UNDER this week, make sure to check out our NFL odds board to see if you can get a good deal at either 50.5 or 51.5.

 

Blue and Orange Morality
Then you have the two teams in question. The Broncos are obviously on a roll right now, sporting the No. 1 offense in the league (No. 1 pass, No. 21 rush) on the updated DVOA charts at Football Outsiders, and No. 1 with a plus-11.0 SRS at Pro Football Reference. Denver has very few injury concerns at this point – RB Montee Ball (groin) is reportedly out until Week 9 at the earliest, but RB Ronnie Hillman has been more than adequate in relief with 4.4 yards per carry.

The Chargers have been very impressive on offense, too. They rank No. 5 overall (No. 2 pass, No. 27 rush) in DVOA and No. 6 in offensive SRS at plus-4.3. However, while Denver is on the rise, San Diego is in danger of coming off the rails with all those injuries on the offensive line. The Chargers offense has also been very fortunate to recover all six of its fumbles this year. That’s not likely to be sustainable in the longer term.

We also have to acknowledge how well the two defenses in Thursday night’s game have played. Each team has a plus-4.7 defensive SRS going into Week 8; however, while Denver ranks No. 2 (No. 3 pass, No. 4 rush) in efficiency, San Diego is way down the list at No. 23 overall (No. 23 pass, No. 19 rush). The longer that Manning and the Broncos offense can keep the Bolts defense on the field, the more likely it is that San Diego will crack.

Free NFL Pick: Bet one unit on OVER 51 at BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":290669, "sportsbooksIds":[19,43,227,1096,999996,93,238,123,139], "LineTypeId":5, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

comment here