NFL Picks: Chargers vs. Broncos Betting the Total

Jason Lake

Thursday, December 12, 2013 1:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 1:55 PM UTC

The Denver Broncos have been trampling the NFL odds boards when it comes to totals this year, but they won’t have Wes Welker when they host the San Diego Chargers Thursday night. Will the loss of one option be enough to make us look the other way with our NFL picks?

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 11 inclusive:

35-29-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

8-14-1 Totals

Be sure to check out our:

NFL Picks: Week 15 NFL Value Picks

NFL Picks: Week 15 Fades & Games to Avoid

Remember when the over/under was the red-headed stepchild of football betting, the Art Garfunkel to the point spread’s Paul Simon? What, not contemporary enough? How about Andrew Ridgeley? Point being, a lot more people are playing the totals these days when they bet on football. And they should be, too. With the way scoring has increased in recent years, the NFL betting public’s tendency to over bet the OVER hasn’t stopped it from going 114-92 this season. That’s 55.3 percent – instant profit for not much brain work.

Front and center, riding this new wave of football betting, are the Denver Broncos (OVER 11-2). They’re absolutely eviscerating the football totals with their stupidly awesome offense, and with a little help from their so-so defense. Giant totals have yet to stop the Broncos from cashing in. The Week 15 NFL odds at press time have a fat 56 points up on the board for Thursday Night Football (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN) with the San Diego Chargers (UNDER 7-6) coming to Mile High. That’s already up from 54 at the open. It’ll probably be even higher by the time you read this.

NFL Picks: Week 15 Betting Odds Report

Higher than a Mission Bell

How high is too high when it comes to the Broncos? Here are the combined scores for all 13 of their games thus far. Get five in a row for a bingo, bonus prize if you fill out a plus, X or box pattern:

76, 64, 58, 72, 99, 54, 72, 66, 48, 44, 65, 63, 79. 

That’s just insane. Notice the two combined scores below 50 points: Those were the only two UNDER results for Denver this season. The 44 was in the first game against the Kansas City Chiefs, who can play some defense. The 48? That was against the Chargers, who have one of the worst defenses the NFL has ever seen. How the heck did that happen? 

NFL Picks: Week 15 Betting Odds Report

Jacked Up 

Perhaps we can go ahead and blame Jack Del Rio. The Broncos defensive co-ordinator was under the headset in Week 10, subbing for head coach John Fox, who was recovering from open-heart surgery. Or we can point our fickle fingers at San Diego’s offensive line, which lost center Nick Hardwick and LT King Dunlap to injuries during the game. Ultimately, the Chargers drove into Denver’s red zone three times in the first half and came away with only two field goals. 

Fox was back on the sidelines for last week’s 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans (OVER 49.5), the third time in four games that Denver has seen a total smaller than 50 points. That was partly in response to the two UNDER results, and partly because of the weather – temperatures were below 20 degrees at kick-off. But as we’ve discussed repeatedly during these past few weeks, cold weather alone doesn’t stop athletes from performing. The Broncos ran 91 plays on offense in that game for 551 yards and blew out the total all by themselves.

Unfortunately for Denver, they won’t have WR Wes Welker (73 catches, 10 TDs) in action this week; he suffered his second concussion of the year against Tennessee and was officially ruled out on Wednesday. It’s a bump in the road, but the Broncos have multiple other targets for Peyton Manning (45 TDs, nine INTs, 114.5 passer rating) to throw at, and he’s aiming at a number of NFL single-season records for offense. There will be no slowing down for the Broncos on Thursday – unless the No. 32-ranked Chargers defenders have anything to say about it. I doubt they will.

NFL Pick: Take OVER 55.5 at William Hill
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