With only two weeks left in the NFL season, the playoff picture is starting to round into shape. One team still battling for a spot is the Chargers, who enter this week with an 8-7 record.
The Broncos are right behind them at 7-8, although their chances of making the playoffs seem more farfetched.
Let’s break down this matchup and discuss which sides of the money line and total to consider in our NFL pick of the day series.
All NFL gameday odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and current as of 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 30.
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Broncos vs Chargers Prediction
The Chargers’ playoff hopes suffered what could be a crushing blow when they lost to the Texans last week. The Texans, who have one of the worst offenses in the league, scored 41 points in the victory. Running back Rex Burkhead led the charge, turning 22 carries into 149 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chargers were without Austin Ekeler (COVID-19) for the game, but Justin Jackson did a great job filling in for him, posting 162 total yards and two touchdowns. Ekeler was activated from the the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, so he should return for Week 17.
The Broncos’ faint playoff hopes were also hurt last week when they suffered a four-point loss to the Raiders. Their offense struggled again, scoring only 13 points in the loss.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, the Broncos only scored 13 points on their way to a 15-point defeat. With Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) likely out again, it’s difficult to envision the Chargers letting this game slip away.
Prediction: Chargers 28, Broncos 24
Broncos vs Chargers Best Bets
Best Bet: Chargers Moneyline (-280) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
As ugly as the Chargers’ loss was last week, they have a massive advantage at quarterback for this matchup. Justin Herbert has followed up his stellar rookie campaign with 4,394 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns. When these two teams met in Week 12, he threw for 303 yards and two scores.
Still, the Chargers’ loss to the Texans is cause for concern for them covering the spread. Also, five of their eight wins this season have come by six or fewer points. With that in mind, rolling with them on the money line might be the safer play.
Best Bet: Over 46 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
Drew Lock looked awful filling in for Bridgewater against the Raiders, throwing for just 153 yards and no scores. The only bright spot was that he didn’t throw an interception.
If there is a glimmer of hope for the Broncos offense in this matchup, it’s that the Chargers have been terrible defending the run. The have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game in the league, and the third-most rushing touchdowns. The Broncos do have two good running backs in Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams.
The Chargers offense would be the main driving force for this game to reach the Over, even if the Broncos do have a good performance on the ground. With Herbert at the helm, the Chargers have scored at least 28 points in five of their last six games. During that same stretch, they’ve scored at least 37 points three times.
Mike Barner’s season record: 17-27-1 (-12.43 units)