Denver Broncos (3-2 SU, 2-2-1 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4 SU, 2-3-1 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 4:25PM EST
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN +1.5/LAC -1.5
Over/Under Total: 42
The Denver Broncos come to StubHub to take on the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC West battle this Sunday. The Broncos are coming off a puzzling Sunday Night Football loss to the New York Giants, 23-10. The loss came off a bye and dropped them to 3-2. They look for better this week against a team they have already beaten this season in the Chargers. The Bolts, however, have registered two straight wins, both on the road. After beating the Raiders by a point, 17-16, they look to win at home for the first time this season on Sunday. The Chargers might be just 2-4, but keep in mind that with just some better placekicking, they could easily be 4-2. This has the looks of a well-contested divisional game on Sunday.
These AFC West teams played in week one at Mile High. Trevor Siemian threw a pair of touchdowns and things looked to be easily in hand, until Philip Rivers and the Chargers made a run, narrowing it to 24-21, with only a late missed kick resulting in the game not going to overtime. They have shown they are pretty evenly-matched already this season and those expecting a close game this week seem to be on the right track.
Granted, beating a Giants team in the midst of massive injury woes and a sideways Raiders bunch arent causes to signal a Chargers revival, but two straight road wins for a previously-winless team says a lot. Again, looking at them as just any old 2-4 team could lead bettors astray. They have a lot of weapons on offense and could improve in that area with guys working themselves back into the rotation. And the defense has a lot going for it, namely a massively-successful pass-rushing duo, in addition to a secondary that has come into their own this season thus far.
Philip Rivers was able to use some of his main weapons on Sunday in an offensive performance that was sufficient enough to win. Melvin Gordon was big with a touchdown on the ground and through the air. He had 9 catches and 83 yards rushing. Hunter Henry, the Chargers tight end of the future, was big with some key catches. Mike Williams had his first NFL catch and the big-framed pass-catcher could become a real asset moving forward. With receivers like Travis Benjamin and Keenan Allen always lying in wait, there are a lot of weapons on this side of the ball. And the offensive line, while not a great one, was fairly adept at keeping Oakland defenders out of Rivers face on Sunday and theyve been decent in that area in most games so far this year.
Even at far less than full-strength, the Chargers defense has been pretty good. They are not in any way invulnerable and opposing run-games have thrived for the most part against this group. There is still a lot to like. Even without a great corner in Jason Verrett, the secondary has played wellboth stout and adept at making plays. Casey Hayward, Trevor Williams, Tre Boston, Jahleel Addae, and others deserve a lot of credit. As far as getting to opposing quarterbacks, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa have combined for 13 quarterback sacks on the young season, nearly twice as many as the total amount of times Rivers has been sacked in 2017.
Denver was really awful last week, missing the point spread by a massive 26.5 points. Coming off the bye, a depleted out-of-conference Giants team that hadnt won a game yet seemed like just what the doctor ordered. Instead, the Giants had a lot of success running the ball, while the Denver offense was mistake-prone for much of the night with some key miscues. Trevor Siemian wasnt very good and was missing guys all night long. The Broncos have been a testament to the shapelessness of the NFL at times this season. Results from one week to the next seem to have little attachment to reason, other than the simple conclusion that those betting on or against Denver can expect pretty much anything this season.
The Denver offense was not very sharp on Sunday night. It underlines how erratic they can be on this side of the ball this season. The run-game, which was showing promise with resurgent CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles was totally quiet against the Giants. They were one-dimensional on Sunday, with the only production coming aerially, which is not consistent with Denvers formula for success. Siemian converted 376 passing yards into a meager 10 points. Demaryius Thomas had a big game and they got a sudden burst of aerial production from reserve back Devontae Booker. Beyond the bad performance was some injuries, with Emmanuel Sanders out indefinitely, with T Menelik Watson also banged-up. In addition, Thomas was seen limping around on Sunday, though he is expected to play this week.
The Denver offense was a lot more exploitable against the run on Sunday than what weve seen this season so far this year. Still, the defense wasnt really the issue on Sunday night, giving up just 16 points, with the other 7 coming on a defensive score. When you give up a huge game on the ground to Orleans Darkwa, its not a good sign. Still Von Miller had a sack and the secondary was very adept, albeit against an Eli Manning who was working with a thrown-together aerial package. Simply put, this is one of the best defenses in the league.
Denvers schedule this season was front-loaded with a lot of home games. This is their first of three straight games on the road. When looking back at this season when its over, this three-game stretch will likely tell a big part of the story. Its big for Denver to get it off to a good start against the Chargers this week. But urgency alone is not enough and the Chargers are looking tougher with each passing week. Without really being thrilled about the inherent value of this spread, I see the Chargers covering the number.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Los Angeles Chargers minus 1.5 points. Not all sportsbooks are created equal! Many are fly by night, poorly run and your loot is actually at risk. End that problem today by signing up at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted sportsbooks! Online for over 15 years, your credit card will work and you’ll also receive a 50% bonus up to $250 FREE at Bovada Sportsbook!