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Chargers vs Broncos Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Two AFC West squads in flux face off in this late-season battle that sees only one, the Broncos, still holding hope of a postseason appearance.

Despite the fact Denver still has a mathematical chance at a playoff berth, head coach Sean Payton made the decision to bench Russell Wilson in favor of Jarrett Stidham ahead of this key game.

Meanwhile, the Chargers, which make for a potentially dangerous opponent given they have nothing to lose at 5-10 and are playing under an interim coach, maybe even more short-handed than usual on offense with both Keenan Allen (heel) and Joshua Palmer (concussion) trending downward for the contest.

With the stage set, let’s take a look at how best to attack this divisional clash from a betting perspective based on NFL Week 17 odds.

Chargers vs Broncos Odds

NFL odds used for this Los Angeles vs Denver preview were found at DraftKings Sportsbook unless otherwise noted and are current as of Dec. 29 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

  • Moneyline: Broncos (-185) • Chargers (+154)
  • Spread: Broncos -3.5 (-110) • Chargers +3.5 (-110)
  • Total Points: Over 37 (-115) • Under 37 (-105)
  • Implied Score: Broncos 20.25, Chargers 16.75

Chargers vs Broncos Predictions

Score Pick: Broncos 23, Chargers 17

Stidham’s return to a starting role in Week 17 will surely evoke memories of the same scenario playing out last season for the one-time fourth-round pick, who took over for Derek Carr in Las Vegas for the final two games of the 2022 campaign.

Stidham put together a memorable 365-yard, three-touchdown effort against what had been a stalwart 49ers defense in the first of those two starts, offering a glimpse of what he’s capable of. While those were naturally different circumstances and a different offense, there’s been some talk around Broncos circles this week that Stidham could potentially run Payton’s offense more efficiently than the inconsistent Wilson.

There’s a chance Stidham is down what would presumably be his top target in Courtland Sutton, However, Sutton went into Friday having failed to practice in the first two days of prep due to the concussion he suffered in Week 16.

Nevertheless, Jerry Jeudy, the speedy Marvin Mims (hamstring), Brandon Johnson, and a receiver very well-versed in Payton’s offense in Lil’Jordan Humphrey are among the pass-catching options Stidham will still have at his disposal against a Chargers defense allowing 260.6 passing yards per game on the road and 12.1 yards per completion in the last three contests overall.

Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine are two other excellent targets for Stidham, given their pass-catching prowess, and Los Angeles checks in having allowed the third-most receptions to running backs (90).

Naturally, the Chargers could find some success on the ground with Austin Ekeler, who returned to a lead-back role in the first game under interim head coach Giff Smith. The versatile veteran faces a Broncos defense allowing an AFC-high 141.1 rushing yards per game and 85 receptions, along with six receiving TDs to running backs.

Yet, if the inexperienced Easton Stick is robbed of his top two targets in Allen and Palmer, he’ll have that much more of a difficult time against a Broncos defense that’s surrendered just 205.9 passing yards per home contest and has accumulated 11 interceptions along with 38 sacks.

Given the factors cited, I see the more motivated Broncos pulling out a close home win.

Chargers vs Broncos Best Bets & Props

Broncos (-180)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

As outlined above, the Broncos project to have the healthier all-around offense in this matchup, and that could well be the deciding factor in a key home win for Denver. The insertion of Stidham under center should also be a positive for a team that’s struggled to really take off offensively under Wilson.

With the Chargers certainly having less incentive overall than their opponent, there should be an opportunity for the Broncos to eventually pull away late while taking advantage of the Bolts’ significant personnel shortages, making this my NFL bet of the day.

Broncos -3.5 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

Building on the belief the Broncos will win outright, I’m also in the camp of that victory coming by nearly a touchdown, as outlined in the game prediction above. Stidham has already proven capable of putting together competent performances in a starting role, and he’s had a chance to absorb the offense throughout the season.

Even if Sutton sits out, Stidham should be able to cobble together enough targets when factoring in his talented running backs to help Denver pull away before game’s end.

Over 37 (-112)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

While each team certainly appears set to operate with less firepower than usual, there are still enough talented skill players on either side to help this game eclipse the modest total.

On the Chargers’ end, I expect the speedy remaining healthy receivers, Gerald Everett and, most of all, Ekeler, to help Stick put together a serviceable performance and move the ball on at least a handful of drives.

On the other side, the Chargers have enough all-around defensive deficiencies to allow Stidham and his healthy pieces to have their fair share of success and put up enough to help send this game over the total.

Chargers vs Broncos Same Game Parlay

Chargers vs Broncos SGP (+186)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

  • Broncos (-185)
  • Over 37 (-115)

The parlay simply combines my primary bet and my belief in the Over into a straightforward two-leg wager that should have a good chance of cashing.

Denver’s incentive for a victory and the fact it’s once again at home should give the Broncos a solid advantage, while the two defenses have enough weaknesses to fuel my belief that a total of at least 40 points will be scored, as I outlined earlier.

Author

Juan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports since 1997 and actively writing about the fantasy sports and sports betting industries since 2015 for multiple websites. He has covered a wide variety of professional sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, CFL, Arena Football League, Alliance of American Football, XFL, NPB and KBO. He was the recipient of the FSWA's 2016 Newcomer of the Year award for his work with RotoWire.

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