Denver Broncos (0-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)
Earlier in the week I was thinking I was going to bet on the Broncos as 6-point underdogs this week in Los Angeles against the Chargers, but then the news broke that the Broncos will be without edge defender Bradley Chubb for the rest of the season with a torn ACL that he apparently played with at the end of last week’s loss to the Jaguars. Chubb wasn’t off to the best of starts this season, but the Broncos are very thin at the edge defender position after losing Shaq Barrett in free agency this off-season, so losing Chubb is a big blow.
That being said, we’re still getting line value with the Broncos this week. Even with the Broncos missing Chubb, the Chargers are in a worse injury situation. With top offensive lineman Russell Okung and stud safety Derwin James still out indefinitely, the Chargers will also be without tight end Hunter Henry and possibly edge defender Melvin Ingram, who barely practiced this week with a hamstring injury. Because of all of the injuries, the Chargers are not nearly the team that went 12-4 last season, but the general public doesn’t seem to realize it yet.
They are off to a 2-2 start, with their two wins coming in overtime against the Colts in a game they would have lost if the Colts had made makeable field goals and against the Dolphins, who are the worst team in the league. The Broncos, meanwhile, are expected to get talented defensive back Kareem Jackson back from a 1-game absence and could also get starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James back from a 3-game absence as well. They are 0-4, but could easily be 2-2 right now, twice losing on last second field goals.
The Chargers also have next to no fans or homefield advantage in Los Angeles and, even with the Broncos being 0-4, based on history, this crowd could be primarily Broncos fans. The Chargers are just 6-10-1 ATS at home (as opposed to 13-5-2 ATS on the road) since moving to Los Angeles. I have this line calculated at Broncos +4 and, depending on what happens with the injury report and any line movement Sunday morning, I may decide to place a bet on them. If Ingram doesn’t play and James does and the line doesn’t move, the Broncos should be a smart bet.
Los Angeles Chargers 24 Denver Broncos 20
Pick against the spread: Denver +6