Time: 3:05 PM CST
Spread: DEN -5
M/L: DEN -220; SD +180
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The Denver Broncos are 10-3 and sit atop the AFC West division while San Diego is 8-5 and two games back. This week the Broncos will travel to Chargers in this game with major implications for the AFC West title. Live NFL lines show the Broncos as 5-point favorites on oddsmaker Bovada.
Denver is undefeated this year at home but a much more humble 4-3 on the road. The Broncos have been tough to stop offensively, averaging 405.6 yards per game this season. But what has made Denver more formidable has been the increase in its defensive talents. The Broncos are shutting down the rush, allowing just 72.8 yards per game. Meanwhile, the secondary is good enough to hold defenses to 238.2 yards per game, 14th best in the NFL.
Denver is riding a three game win streak with victories over Miami, Kansas City and Buffalo. In those three contests, the Broncos have outscored opponents by a point margin of 7.6 points per game.
Peyton Manning is adding to his regular season legend status. He’s thrown for 3,910 yards on the season at a 66.9 percent completion ratio, while getting almost eight yards per catch from his crew. Manning has thrown 36 TDs on the season with 11 INTs , but he has been sacked just 13 times.
The Broncos go to C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson for carries. Anderson leads the team in yardage (594) and TDs (4). He’s battling an ankle injury but is expected to play. Hillman is questionable as well with a foot malady. Montee Ball has started to come along, but is still mostly a short down back and he’s only averaging 3.1 yards per carry resultantly and he was placed on the injured reserve after re-aggravating a groin injury sustained in Week 11.
If Anderson’s not fully effective, it will leave the Broncos a bit thin in the backfield this week. Last week Juwon Thompson led the rush attack with 63 yards on just four carries, due to a 47 yard long run. Anderson had 21 carries for 58 yards while scoring three TDs. While Anderson had to battle for his yardage (2.8 per carry), in all he got the Broncos in the end zone.
San Diego is 12th in the NFL in pass yardage but its rush attack is near the bottom, accounting for just 84.7 yards per game. And while the Chargers have a great pass offense, the team defends the pass even better. San Diego allows just 228.4 yards per game in the air, and holds opposing rush offenses to 108.4 yards per game.
Prior to last week’s loss to New England, San Diego had been riding a three-game win streak with wins over Oakland, Saint Louis and Baltimore. The loss to the Patriots came mostly because San Diego couldn’t get it in the end zone in the second half. The Chargers managed just 13 first downs and converted only 4-of-13 on third down. The total yardage was just 216, and Philip Rivers averaged just four yards per completion on 20-of-33 passing. He’s battling a sore chest but is expected to play this Sunday.
The point total in online football betting is set at 51 for this game.
DEN: UNDER 4-0 in last 4 games in Dec., Broncos 1-6 ATS in last 7 games in Week 15; OVER 4-1 in last 5 games in Week 15.
SD: 0-4 ATS in last 4 home games; 0-4 ATS in last 4 vs AFC West, 0-7 ATS in last 7 games on grass.
Head-to-head: Road team is 7-1-1 in last 9 meetings; Broncos are 4-1 ATS in last 5 meetings in San Diego; Underdog 5-2 ATS in last 7 meetings.