Thursday Night Football NFL Picks: Chargers vs. Broncos

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:42 AM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 11:42 AM GMT

The San Diego Chargers will bolt into Mile High off a tough loss against the Chiefs while the Broncos are savoring their dismantling of the 49’ers but which team gives us the best chance to cash in our NFL picks on Thursday night?

San Diego Chargers (5-2 SU, 5-2 ATS)
The Bolts took their home field last Sunday installed as three-point betting favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs. Expectations were sky high in sunny southern California as Phillip Rivers’ performance this season has seen his name bandied about in MVP discussions. But against the Chiefs the entire team may have been looking ahead to this Thursday night showdown against the high-octane Broncos instead of focusing on a dangerous Kansas City squad that kept the pressure on Rivers all afternoon.

The Chiefs won the time of possession battle by 18 full minutes and the Chargers were only able to convert on three of 10 third-down conversions. Antonio Gates was the recipient of a 27-yard touchdown strike that closed the gap to within four as the first half ended. But that was not enough as Rivers was hurried and pressured throughout by a penetrating Chiefs defensive front that only managed two sacks but kept Rivers hot-stepping all afternoon. The Chargers quarterback wound up with 205 yards through the air on 17-of-31 passing for two TD’s and one desperation interception. When the final whistle sounded the Bolts were beaten 23-20 which hurt not only those who backed them as three-point home favorites but even more those punters who added them to their NFL picks as -170 NFL odds money line favorites.

 

Denver Broncos (5-1 S, 3-3 ATS)
All hail to the chief, bow to the king or choose whatever gaudy show of respect you please to genuflect at the altar of Peyton Manning. The Broncos quarterback is now the all-time NFL passing touchdown leader after he thoroughly eviscerated a vaunted 49’ers defense with all the precision of a laser guided missile. Manning torched the Niners for four passing touchdowns on a stunning 22-of-26 passing for a total of 318 yards over the course of this aerial blitzkrieg.

When the Broncos are firing on all cylinders it’s virtually impossible envisioning any team keeping pace. Though Demaryius Thomas was scintillating in catching two TD passes and ending the evening with 171 yards and Wes Welker got into the action with a nifty 39 yard touchdown reception of his own, the ground game was still clicking as Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson combined for over 100 yards on the ground. Overlooked in all of the offensive heroics was the Denver defense that sacked the slippery smooth San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick six times and picked him off once. It was indeed a historical day and a bold statement for this year’s edition of the Denver Broncos.

 

Free NFL Pick:
What are the NFL odds headed into this one? After a stunning display of offensive prowess and a dominating defense, where is our pain threshold for not betting the Broncos as they stay put while the Chargers must pack up, lick their wounds and prepare for the juggernaut that awaits in Mile High? What’s the magic number boys and girls? Perhaps the only stat that can give us cause for pause in terms of favoring the underdog Chargers is their third ranked passing defense. But against a machine like Manning and the Broncos, how much weight does that even carry?

As of this Monday morning writing, the Broncos have been installed as 7 to 7 ½ point betting favorites on the NFL odds boards. Does that truly grant enough respect to a Chargers offense that is ranked ninth in scoring and averaging 26.3 PPG while they boast the third stingiest defense allowing only 16.3 points per game? I believe there will be a severe overreaction to Manning’s historical achievements and with a short week facing both teams this just might be closer than expected.

Free NFL Picks: Play San Diego + 7 ½ at Pinnacle.com.

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