The Spread and Total
Denver Broncos (+3.5, O/U 40.5) at Washington, courtesy of Bovada. (Sunday, Dec. 24, 1:00 PM ET)
The spread opened at 4.5 but has tightened a little bit since then.
Denver Broncos: 5-9 SU (4-9-1 ATS), 4th in the AFC West
Washington: 6-8 SU (6-8 ATS), 3rd in the NFC East
Corey Nelson (elbow), out; Billy Turner (hand), out; Billy Winn (knee), out; Carlos Henderson (thumb), out; Jared Crick (back), out; Jake Butt (knee), out; Menelik Watson (foot), out; Chad “Swag” Kelly (wrist), out; Derek Wolfe (neck), out; Ronald Leary (back), out; Justin Simmons (ankle), out; Trevor Siemian (shoulder), out; Shane Ray (wrist), out; Isaiah McKenzie (ankle), questionable; Emmanuel Sanders (ankle), questionable; Paxton Lynch (ankle), questionable
Montae Nicholson (concussion), out; Ty Nsekhe (abdomen), out; Keith Marshall (knee), out; Trent Murphy (knee), out; Su’a Cravens (concussion), out; Phil Taylor (quadriceps), out; Spencer Long (quadriceps), out; Mason Foster (shoulder), out; Dustin Hopkins (hip), out; Arthur Jones (shoulder), out; Rob Kelley (knee), out; Will Compton (foot), out; TJ Clemmings (ankle), out; Terrelle Pryor (ankle), out; Chris Thompson (leg), out; Shawn Lauvao (neck), out; Jordan Reed (hamstring), out; Byron Marshall (hamstring), out; Maurice Harris (concussion), questionable; Brian Quick (concussion), questionable; DJ Swearinger (hamstring), questionable; Jonathan Allen (foot), questionable; Brandon Scherff (knee), questionable; Bashaud Breeland (knee), questionable; Terrell McClain (toe), questionable; Morgan Moses (ankle), questionable; Zach Brown (foot), questionable; Josh Norman (knee), questionable; Trent Williams (knee), questionable
- Oct 27, 2013 (Mile High Stadium, Denver): Denver 45, Washington 21
- No other games in the last five seasons.
Significant Betting Trends
- The total has gone UNDER six times in the last nine games on Washington’s garbage field, which only gets worse as the season goes on.
- Denver is 2-8 against the spread in its last 10 games.
- Washington is 3-6 against the spread in its last nine games.
Both Denver and Washington are struggling, and you’d be forgiven for not trusting either team with your hard-earned money. Winning will achieve nothing; neither team can make the playoffs and losing the last two games of the season to get a better draft pick is in the best interest of both squads.
Boy, is Denver a bad football team. The offense is garbage, so bad that Brock Osweiler is the best choice to command it, and the numbers confirm the eyeball test. Denver is 30th in offensive DVOA, ahead of only Indianapolis and Cleveland. They’re 30th in passing efficiency, and 25th in rushing efficiency. When you weight the more recent games more heavily, they’re dead-last in the NFL.
Denver has been bad offensively since Peyton Manning’s wife stopped getting shipments of HGH. We know that. What’s new, however, is how average the defense has been in 2017, a defense that, for all intents and purposes, won the Super Bowl on its own just two years ago. We all watched Von Miller and company drag Peyton’s lifeless corpse to a second Lombardi Trophy and into the annals of history. That won’t be happening this year. Denver is just eighth in defensive efficiency, strong against the run but more or less replacement level against the pass. That’s how you get torched by the Patriots 41-16; that’s how Carson Wentz throws four touchdowns against the (erstwhile) “No Fly Zone.”
Kirk Cousins is not Tom Brady, and Carson Wentz is dead for all we know. Washington is good, not great, passing the ball — registering just above average in passing efficiency (13th) — and horrendous at running it (29th). Cousins should get some kind of award for keeping this team out of the absolute bottom of the league, or at least a contract guaranteeing an unimaginable sum of money. The only good part of this game will be Cousins vs. the Denver defense, which once again has the services of Aqib Talib (34 career INTs; two career chain-snatches).
This is the lowest over/under mark I’ve been faced with in these previews, and it is entirely warranted. Both teams are pretty hapless on offense and good to great on defense. The field itself is visibly bad, and there’s likely going to be some wind and maybe even rain, so factor that in. But mostly: both of these teams suck at scoring points.
Denver is too bad to bet your money on, especially on the road. Losing this game means maybe getting a highly-touted quarterback out of this draft, whereas they’re currently stuck in that middle ground where you can get the best safety anybody’s ever seen but not much else. More generally, I advise you not to watch this game.
Pick: Washington (-3.5) and UNDER (40.5)