The Broncos hold a solid advantage in the recent rivalry with the Chargers, winning 10 of the last 12 meetings straight up while going 7-5 against the spread. Denver will try to keep that edge when it opens its season against the new Los Angeles team Monday night at Mile High Stadium.
NFL point spread: The Broncos opened as 3.5-point favorites; the total was 44.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 28.9-11.5 Broncos (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Chargers can cover the spread
Playing under the cloud of a franchise move, the Chargers stumbled to a 5-11 record last year. San Diego started just 1-4 last year, got to 5-6 and lost its last five games. But the Chargers lost nine games last year by six points or fewer, four by three points or fewer and six games in which they held leads in the fourth quarter.
Then over the offseason, San Diego moved its operations to Los Angeles.
Heading into this season, the Chargers are getting +400 to win the AFC West (bet $100 to win $400), +2000 to win the AFC and +5000 to win the Super Bowl, playing against an over/under win total of 7.5.
Los Angeles ranked 14th in the NFL in total offense last season at 356.8 yards per game and 16th in total defense, allowing 347.1. A plus-10 yards differential is usually indicative of a .500 team, perhaps even a 9-7 outfit. But a minus-seven turnover ratio proved costly.
Why the Broncos can cover the spread
The Broncos started 4-0 last year and reached 8-4. But a three-game losing streak during which Denver scored a total of just 23 points knocked it from playoff contention and missed the postseason for the first time in six seasons.
Denver lost four games by six points or fewer last year, including one in overtime. Turn one of those games around and the Broncos probably make the playoffs.
As for this season, Denver is getting +350 to win the AFC West, +1400 to win the AFC and +2800 to win the Super Bowl, with an over/under win total of 8.5.
The Broncos only ranked 27th in total offense last year at 323.1 yards per game but fourth in total defense, giving up just 316.1. If it can just get some improvement in its quarterback play, Denver should improve upon that offensive number and perhaps win a couple more games.
For what it’s worth, the Broncos went 4-0 SU and 3-0-1 ATS during the preseason, averaging 26.8 points per game.
These teams split their two meetings last season, each winning at home. But the Chargers outrushed Denver and won the time of possession in both games. San Diego faced some seriously tough luck last year, so perhaps its fortunes will turn. Take the Chargers plus the points here on the Vegas lines.
NFL betting trends
The Chargers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games on the road against the Broncos.
The Broncos are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games on Monday.
The Chargers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games on the road.
All NFL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.