NFL Picks: Chargers vs. Broncos Betting the Total

Jason Lake

Thursday, January 9, 2014 1:04 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 1:04 PM UTC

If anyone’s going to cash in the OVER this week on the NFL odds board, surely it will be the Denver Broncos, who have a Sunday afternoon date with the San Diego Chargers.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14, up to January 9 inclusive:

44-39-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

11-18-1 Totals

Somebody’s got to do it, right? We’ve got some miserable weather on tap for all four Divisional Round games, which means we’ve got four good reasons to bet the UNDER this week. But does it ever make sense to bet the UNDER when the Denver Broncos (OVER 10-5-1) are involved? Especially when they’re matched up with the San Diego Chargers (OVER 9-6-1)?

Perhaps. Sunday’s NFL betting lines have a giant total of 54.5 points to shoot for, and the weather report… well, what do you know. Looks like things are clearing up somewhat over Mile High; we’re down to a 10-percent chance of rain for kick-off (4:40 p.m. ET, CBS) with temperatures in the low 40s, although we’re expecting winds of up to 25mph. Still not the most hospitable weather, but not exactly a polar vortex out there. Very interesting.

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It’s Raining Money

If Sunday’s game were played in a vacuum… it would be pretty cramped in there. Thank you, I’ll be here all evening. Anyway, we’ve got two fantastic offenses about to take the field, as well as two not-so-fantastic defenses. You’ve no doubt heard about Peyton Manning (55 TDs, 10 INTs, 115.1 passer rating) and his assault on the record books. I’ll point you at my article earlier this week on the NFL spread for more – by the way, just after I wrote that, a whole shipping container full of money came in on the Chargers at +10. You could almost pay for a beer and nachos at the concession stand with all that cash. Almost.

People seem to be heavily invested in the OVER this week, too. Our consensus reports show 66 percent support for the OVER; however, a cursory glance at the betting patterns from Vegas shows the earliest bettors leaning slightly toward the UNDER. That was back when we had a 40-percent chance of rain on the forecast, so keep that in mind, but still.

Ariel vs. Lotus

Fortunately for us, the Broncos and Chargers both play in the AFC West, which means they face each other twice a year during the regular season and occasionally in the playoffs. Let’s see how those games have turned out over the past couple of years with Manning at the reins of the Denver offense:

Dec. 12, 2013: Chargers 27, Broncos 20 (UNDER 56.5)

Nov. 10, 2013: Broncos 28, Chargers 20 (UNDER 56.5)

Nov. 18, 2012: Chargers 23, Broncos 30 (OVER 47.5)

Oct. 15, 2012: Broncos 35, Chargers 24 (OVER 48)

Notice the massive spike in the NFL totals between 2012 and 2013 – the third game on that list wouldn’t have reached Sunday’s over/under, although we can’t transpose things quite that easily. San Diego QB Philip Rivers (32 TDs, 11 INTs, 105.5 passer rating) has a much better offense around him in 2013, both in the trenches and at tailback. Speaking of which, RB Ryan Mathews (4.4 yards per carry) has a bum ankle and didn’t practice on Wednesday, although he still intends to play on Sunday.

One other thing: The popular computer projections from both Team Rankings and numberFire have this matchup going UNDER. I’m going to have to agree. We’ve already seen the Broncos and Chargers do it twice this year, and although it might not even rain on Sunday, that wind isn’t likely to help Manning and Rivers with their job performance. Besides, if the early-bird sharps are on the UNDER in today’s hyperactive NFL, I’m not going to argue. Not very often, anyway.

NFL Pick: Take UNDER 55 at Bodog

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