Jamaal Charles

Broncos double-digit favorites on Sunday night vs. winless, depleted Giants

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The Denver Broncos head into Sunday night with the largest spread they have had at home after a bye week in at least 25 years. The Broncos are 11.5-point favorites against the winless New York Giants with a 38.5-point total for the Week 6 Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Denver is 6-1 straight-up and against the spread in post-bye week games dating back to 2010. There’s a similar long-running trend of Denver being 7-2 SU and ATS in home games following a bye week since 2003. However, this is the first time since 1996 that Denver has been a double-digit favorite in that scenario.

The Giants, which are 0-5 SU and 2-3 ATS, had three wide receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., sustain season-ending injuries last week. That has left QB Eli Manning with WR Roger Lewis (15 career catches) and WR Tavarres King as his main outside targets. Slot WR Sterling Shephard (sprained ankle) could be inactive.

While team performances tend to gravitate toward the mean with time, the Giants will need to show something new – with replacement-level personnel – in order to move the ball against a Denver pass defense which allows only 6.2 yards per pass, fifth-best in the NFL.

The Broncos’ top-ranked defense, led by OLB Von Miller, is also first in run defense and has every starter healthy. While NFC teams are a combined 1-10 SU on the road against Denver since 2012, the Giants are a solid 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against the AFC.

Denver, 3-1 SU and 2-1-1 ATS, has been quietly efficient on offense. The Broncos, with QB Trevor Siemian, are in the middle of the NFL pack in yards per pass, but they are facing a Giants secondary that is minus CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (suspension) and has also had inconsistent play from CB Eli Apple.

Denver, 7-2 ATS over its last nine home games in October, has been good at opening holes for the tandem of C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles, who are each capable of making things happen in the open field if the tackling gets sloppy. New York also won’t have DT Olivier Vernon drawing double teams up front and keeping blockers off MLB Damon Harrison.

Unless the Broncos stop themselves, they should be able to grind out a workmanlike win.

The total has gone over in three of the Giants’ last four games against the Broncos, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone over in six of the Broncos’ last seven games as a favorite of 11.0 points or more.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Chiefs are underdogs against short-staffed Steelers on Sunday Night Football

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With the Kansas City Chiefs’ strong record and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ injuries, the favorites will need be focused to avoid an upset in the Sunday Night Football betting matchup.

The Steelers are listed as 4.5-point favorites at home against the Chiefs, with a total of 47 points, at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Kansas City is 5-2 both straight-up and against the spread over its last seven games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Pittsburgh, which was blown out 34-3 by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3, is 12-2 SU in its last 14 games after a loss. However, the Steelers will be minus seven starters.

Kansas City, which has lost its only road game and had its 2015 season end with a playoff defeat at New England, is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games on the road after consecutive losses on the road.

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles will reportedly play his first game since tearing an ACL on October 11, 2015, and RB Spencer Ware is also capable. Two of Pittsburgh’s key defenders against the run, ILB Ryan Shazier and SS Robert Golden, will not play.

The Chiefs, however, are 2-8 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. AFC North foes.  Pittsburgh, in response to the result against Philadelphia, will likely try to pressure Chiefs QB Alex Smith, which could limit the opportunity for long-yardage strikes to TE Travis Kelce, WR Chris Conley and WR Jeremy Maclin.

The lack of familiarity between Pittsburgh’s new starters on defense might work to the benefit of Kelce, who almost never lines up in the same place twice in a row.

The Steelers are 7-3 SU in their past 10 games, as well as 8-2 SU and 4-5-1 in their last 10 home games against AFC West teams. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will have RB Le'Veon Bell back from a three-game suspension to join him in the rushing phase. The Steelers offensive line should also be due for a bounce-back game.

Primary Steelers WR Antonio Brown could have a tough matchup against CB Marcus Peters, which could lead to Roethlisberger seeking out the likes of WR Sammie Coates, WR Markus Wheaton and TE Jesse James. Slot WR Eli Rogers will not play.

Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in its last five home games against Kansas City heading into their matchup on Sunday night. The total has gone under in four of the teams’ last five meetings. The total has also gone under in five of Kansas City’s last seven games, and six of Pittsburgh’s last seven games,