San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos, INVESCO Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
Sunday, January 2, 2011, 4:15 pm EST, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Chargers -3.5
Current Line: Chargers -3
Opening Total: 47.5
Current Total: 47
Money Line: Chargers -175 / Broncos +155
The San Diego Chargers (8-7) simply dug themselves into too big of a hole to start the season and will try to end on a winning note when they visit the Denver Broncos (4-11) in this AFC West matchup. The Chargers (-3) were denied their fifth straight division title when they suffered a 34-20 loss at Cincinnati last week, but a 2-5 start is mostly to blame for them not making the playoffs.
San Diego went 6-1 following the rough start but division winner Kansas City was just good enough to stay ahead and clinch the title with wins in the last two weeks. The Chargers could also not overcome getting swept by Oakland as the Raiders handed them their only loss in the previous seven games before last week.
Team president Dean Spanos has already decided to keep head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith around next season, ending any speculation that San Diego will go in another direction. But it may have been Smith’s reluctance to strike a deal with disgruntled wide receiver Vincent Jackson that ultimately cost the Chargers. Jackson has proven in the last two games that he was missed earlier in the season and still might be gone next year.
Despite Jackson’s absence, quarterback Philip Rivers has enjoyed a career year with 4,397 passing yards and a 67 percent completion percentage. He will represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl and hopes to finish the season with one more victory to avoid a losing record.
The Broncos have seen what rookie quarterback Tim Tebow is capable of the last couple games, giving Denver fans hope that things might turn around next year with him under center. Tebow led the team back from a 17-0 halftime deficit last week to a 24-23 home win over Houston, passing for 308 yards and scoring the game-winning touchdown on a 6-yard run with 3:02 remaining.
With head coach Josh McDaniels fired after a 10-6 loss at Kansas City in Week 13, Tebow’s future was in doubt. But Kyle Orton’s rib injury has opened the door for the former Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion to prove he can play in the NFL.
San Diego is 7-1-1 against the spread in the last nine meetings with the Broncos, going 7-2 straight-up in those games. The UNDER has cashed in the past two meetings and is 4-1-1 in the last six games for the Chargers overall.
Now that you have read this AFC West football betting preview featuring the Broncos & Chargers, check out the NFL odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.