Chargers vs Broncos Predictions Week 12 | NFL Pick of the Day
Week 12 is here and it’s still not quite clear what to think of the AFC West. A matchup this weekend between the Los Angeles Chargers (6-4) and Denver Broncos (5-5) should shed some light on whether either of these two teams will make an impact in the playoffs.
The Chargers are coming off another wild win in which an AFC North team put up 35+ points against them, this time eking out a 41-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Defense continues to be the biggest concern for Los Angeles, as the unit has been hurt by multiple absences from key players recently.
What has been a constant for the Chargers is their core four stars on offense. Quarterback Justin Herbert sits fourth in the league in passing yards after a 382-yard performance in Week 11. Once again, the Chargers moved the ball downfield through receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, leading to four red zone touchdowns for running back Austin Ekeler.
Meanwhile, the Broncos took their Week 11 bye to think about their future. After a 3-0 start to the year, Denver dropped four straight and then traded franchise icon Von Miller to the Rams. The front office brass may not think Teddy Bridgewater is the right quarterback to take them to the Super Bowl.
Two players the front office does believe in are wideouts Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, as both were inked to contract extensions this week. With Jerry Jeudy headlining the receiver group, Javonte Williams looking like the team’s running back of the future, and Noah Fant continuing to provide athleticism as a receiving tight end, Denver has a very bright future at the skill positions.
If only the Broncos had a more exciting quarterback. Remember the offseason Aaron Rodgers to Denver rumors? That could still be an option or perhaps the Broncos will improve their draft position to look at a quarterback next year, as I think the Chargers take this game.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds and lines are current as of 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, November 23.
Chargers vs Broncos Prediction
Opening as -2.5 road favorites, the Chargers look to separate themselves from the pack in the crowded AFC playoff picture.
After a 3-1 start to the season, Los Angeles has dropped three of its last five games. Playing in Denver won’t be a piece of cake, despite the sentiment surrounding the Broncos after the Miller trade.
Justin Herbert is 1-1 against Denver so far in his young career. He held his own in the altitude last season, losing his first game against the Broncos by a single point.
The forecast in Denver shows no signs of problematic winter weather, so expect another week of the Chargers leaning on the aerial attack to move the ball down the field.
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Denver’s defense will have extra help to slow down the Chargers as key pass rusher Bradley Chubb has been designated for return from the IR. Chubb was injured in Week 1 and hasn’t played since. His return to the lineup will be a welcome boost to a defense that gave up 30 points to the Eagles prior to the bye.
Where the Broncos are gaining strength, the Chargers are falling apart. Los Angeles has had multiple defensive players test positive for COVID-19 this week, including star defensive tackle Linval Joseph.
This could present an opportunity for the Broncos to steal the game as underdogs and stay in the playoff hunt. Denver’s rushing game has been a pleasant surprise this year, as Javonte Williams’ emergence along with the resurgence of Melvin Gordon has carried them to an average of 111.5 yards per game on the ground.
Despite the injuries to the Chargers, they still have more talent on both sides of the ball. In a close game, Los Angeles will come away with the road win and continue to put pressure on the division-leading Chiefs.
Prediction: Chargers 24, Broncos 20
Chargers vs Broncos Best Bets
Best Bet: Chargers -3 (+105) at Betfred
Wager: 1 Unit
The Chargers and Broncos are both 5-5 against the spread this season, so good luck finding an edge there. Los Angeles ranks 11th in plays per game and points per game, while Denver is 23rd in both metrics. At least both teams are consistent!
While the Broncos have been a defense-first organization for the past few years, their team defense DVOA rates in the bottom third of the NFL. The Chargers rank in the middle of the pack, so I give the Chargers the edge here based on their stronger quarterback play.
Justin Herbert has the third-highest positional grade among quarterbacks this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Still just 23 years old, Herbert will be competing for MVP awards in very short order.
In a game with a middling pace of play, Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley will be looking to get his team into the end zone. Mid-season acquisition Dustin Hopkins has yet to miss a kick for the Chargers this year, but none of his makes were from longer than 48 yards.
Even in the altitude at Mile High, I could see Staley pushing for touchdowns and building on a lead rather than settling for three. Make the Chargers your NFL pick of the day.
Los Angeles Chargers -3 (LAC @ DEN, NFL Week 12)
LAC @ DEN | 11/28, 4:05 PM ET
Bet $20, Payout $41
Best Bet: Under 47 Total Points (-105) at Betfred
Wager: 1 Unit
While Teddy Bridgewater has been very successful throwing the deep ball this year, the Broncos tend to chew clock with the best of them. Only one Denver game this year has topped 47 total points.
Broncos’ games have gone under the total in 80 percent of their games this year. On the contrary, Chargers’ contests have hit the under at a 40-percent rate, even despite some insanely high game totals.
Both teams feature a below-average rushing rate. However, the frequency at which both teams snap the ball deep into the play clock stills bodes well for the under. Both the Chargers and Broncos are also near the bottom of the league in no-huddle rates.
I’d be comfortable betting the under here down to 46 points as this line is already very efficient.
Total Points Under 47 (LAC @ DEN, NFL Week 12)
LAC @ DEN | 11/28, 4:05 PM ET
Bet $20, Payout $39
Dane Galloway’s Betting Record: -10.42 Units