In a longtime rivalry bout between a pair of AFL originals, the Broncos host the Chargers on Thursday night.
Point spread: The Broncos opened as 10.5-point favorites; the total was 54. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 38.2-27.9 Broncos
Why the Chargers can cover the spread
San Diego is in crunch-time mode. Sunday's impressive victory over the New York Giants kept the Chargers just a game behind the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins in the battle for the second AFC wild-card berth.
Led by quarterback Philip Rivers, who's having perhaps the best season of his career, San Diego ranks fourth in total offense. And running back Ryan Mathews is coming off his fourth 100-yard rushing effort of the season.
Even if this game becomes a shootout, the Chargers should have a chance as they have embraced the role of road underdog lately (5-1-1 against the spread).
Why the Broncos can cover the spread
Cold? Who gives a rip about the cold? QB Peyton Manning shook off some criticism of his past play in cold weather last week, throwing for almost 400 yards and four touchdowns, with nary an interception in 59 attempts, in Denver's 51-28 victory over Tennessee. The Broncos are simply very difficult to stop.
They still lead the league in yardage and scoring and, if they need to, they can bang the ball with Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball. They're a defense's worst nightmare.
The Odds Shark computer is calling for a Broncos victory but a San Diego cover in a game that plays OVER its total. But San Diego will have to play one of its best games of the year to hang with the Broncos. Rivers has been absolutely great, and Chargers head coach Mike McCoy might have some insight as to how to slow down Manning and Co.
But Denver has proven it can cover big numbers. Give the points with the Broncos, and pay attention to the OVER trends below as well.
- Chargers are 5-1-1 ATS past seven games at Denver
- Broncos have beaten the Chargers four straight overall
- Chargers are 5-1-1 ATS in the past seven games as road underdogs
- OVER is 12-2-1 past 15 games when San Diego is road underdog
- OVER is 10-1-1 past 12 Denver home games
- OVER is 8-0-1 past nine times Broncos home as double-digit favorites