Betting on the Denver Broncos’ Past, Present and Future
Recent Denver Bronco Betting Trends and what to expect week 1 against the Raiders
It’s hard to believe that just four seasons ago, the Denver Broncos were crowned Super Bowl Champions.
But since that magical run, the franchise has been pedestrian at best — never finishing with more than nine wins in a season and missing out on the playoffs every year.
The Broncos fall from glory is far from a surprise, though. In 2015, the Broncos had the best defense in the NFL, and after the season, a few of their top defenders left to sign large contracts elsewhere. This included defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for a six-year, $85.5 million contract.
It was also a season where the Broncos squeaked out several close wins. In 2015, the team tied the record for the most one-score victories in a season at nine and finished the year with a total of 12 one-score games.
Yet, including playoffs, the team went 10-8-1 against the spread, covering by 2.1 points per contest.
Fast forward to 2018 and the Broncos had a record of 6-10 and were 6-9-1 ATS. Only five teams had a worse record ATS and a sixth, the Green Bay Packers, had the same record.
For as bad that season was against the spread, it was actually a huge improvement compared to 2017, when the Broncos only covered on four games all season.
It was advantageous, however, to take the under in contests that included the Broncos. Per TeamRankings.com, Denver games hit on the under 80 percent of the time. The next closest team was the New England Patriots at 63.2 percent.
Why were the Broncos so effective at hitting the under?
For one, the team’s scoring output was poor all season, but it got progressively worse throughout the year. In the first eight games of 2018, Denver averaged 24.25 points per game. In the last eight games, it was a measly 17.625 points per game. This coincided with a 61.25 total yards per game decrease in the last eight games.
Aside from two ultra-productive seasons from Payton Manning, there has been uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position during almost every season of John Elway’s tenure as the Denver Broncos general manager and vice president of football operations.
Even during the Broncos Super Bowl run in 2015, there was a quarterback debate between Manning and Brock Osweiler on who would be the team’s best signal-caller. Osweiler even went on to start a few games for the Broncos that season before Manning took back the reins in time for the playoffs.
Well, quarterback uncertainty should continue for the Broncos in 2019. While the game-one starter will most likely be Joe Flacco, it’s hard to know which Flacco they will get. If he can return to 2012 Flacco, who threw 22 touchdowns on just 10 interceptions, the Broncos will be much more consistent on offense, and thus, more predictable.
What’s more likely is that Joe Flacco continues to be the quarterback who, since winning the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, has averaged almost an interception per game.
If that’s the case, at the end of the season, the Broncos might be better suited to give Drew Lock, the team’s first-round pick out of Missouri, a chance to start.
Losing the starting job to highly touted rookie would be similar to how Flacco’s tenure with the Baltimore Ravensended last year. Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson started the last eight games for the Ravens in 2018, going 4-4 ATS. However, in Jackson’s first four starts, he was 3-1 ATS.
Perhaps the same type of rookie magic could continue in Denver if Lock takes over at some point in the season? Or maybe this could lead to the second season in a row where Denver’s total points per game drop dramatically in the second half.
Week 1 Matchup with the Oakland Raiders
The teams split in their two regulars season matchups in 2018 and never scored more than 41 combined points in a game, and it seems like that trend will continue in week one.
While the Bronco offense should be more consistent under Flacco, it might not be more potent. It seems unlikely that running back Phillip Lindsay will have another 1,000-yard rushing season, especially with a shaky offensive line.
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos also return perhaps two of the most prominent edge rushers in the NFL in former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Nick Chubb, who had 12 sacks as a rookie in 2018. This duo should be able to keep the Oakland offense at bay, which allowed 52 sacks last year — tied for fifth-most in the league.
Given that the Broncos strengths on defense and potential woes on offense, it seems unlikely that the combined score of this game exceeds 43 points.
At the same time, because the game is expected to be such a low scoring affair, it’s going to be hard to predict which team will come out on top. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to pass on the spread and just enjoy watching two teams struggle to put points on the board.