This Sunday the Denver Broncos (11-4) will host the San Diego Chargers (4-11) in a key matchup that will help decide the playoff seeding in the AFC. Kickoff for this AFC West matchup is scheduled for 4:25 EST at Sports Authority Field and will be televised locally on CBS. Our Week 17 NFL odds show the Broncos currently listed as a 8.5-point home favorite with the total set at 41 points.
Denver was able to overcome an early 14-point deficit at home to beat the Bengals 20-17 in overtime as a 3.5-point favorite. The win secured the Broncos a spot in the postseason. However, Denver needs a win or Cincinnati loss to clinch the No. 2 seed and a first round bye. They could also be the No.1 seed with a win and Patriots loss. There’s also the possibility they could be a Wild Card team if they lose and the Chiefs beat the Raiders at home.
San Diego comes into this game off a heartbreaking 17-20 overtime loss at Oakland on Christmas Eve. The Chargers have been eliminated from playoff contention for quite some time and a win actually would do more damage than good, as it would drop them down the NFL Draft order.
These two teams recently played in San Diego in Week 13, which the Broncos won 17-3 as a 6-point road favorite. It was Denver’s 4th straight win in the series and 8th in the last 9 meetings overall.
Early Lean on Chargers +8.5
If I had to take a side in this matchup, I would lean with the Chargers catching the 8.5-points. I know this game means so much more to Denver than it does San Diego, but I don’t expect the Chargers to just lay down for the Broncos in this matchup. Even though it came in a losing effort, San Diego played well last week against the Raiders and that was on the heels of a 30-14 win against the Dolphins.
The thing that you can’t overlook with the Broncos win over the Bengals, is they beat a Cincinnati offense that was being guided by the inexperienced A.J. McCarron and had to overcome a 14-point deficit to do so. You also have to factor in the emotional aspect of that game. Denver was facing enormous pressure to win against the Bengals, as they were in jeopardy of missing the playoffs completely. It’s not going to be easy bouncing back mentally from that game and bringing that same energy and intensity against a bad San Diego team.
Road teams who are off a road loss by 3-point or less are 25-5 (83%) ATS in the last 2 weeks of the regular season since 1983.
Another big factor here is rest and the Chargers have a huge advantage in this department. While San Diego has had an extra 3 days to prepare for this matchup, Denver will have one fewer day of preparation after playing on Monday Night Football. That’s not something the public is going to consider a whole lot, as their only focus will be on the Broncos being the only team with something to play for. Keep in mind the oddsmakers are well aware of the fact that the public will be on Denver and have inflated this line.
It’s also important to note that while Denver won at San Diego by 14-points, that was a much closer game than the final score would indicate. The Broncos only had a 292 to 272 edge in total yards and the Denver defense scored 7 of their their 17 points with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Chargers defense more than held their own against Denver’s offense and have continued to play well on that side of the ball down the stretch. San Diego has allowed 20 or fewer points in regulation in each of their last 4 games.
San Diego is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games and 11-3 ATS in their last 14 road games against a team with a winning homee record. Denver on the other hand is just 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 when playing on Sunday after playing on Monday Night Football and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 against a team with a losing record. Adding to all of this is a strong system in favor of the Chargers. Road teams who are off a road loss by 3-point or less are 25-5 (83%) ATS in the last 2 weeks of the regular season since 1983.