Denver Broncos -3 (-118) @ San Diego Chargers
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
October 13, 2016, 5:25PM PDT
Our primary power rankings factors make the Broncos on the road to be about five points better than the Chargers tonight. Further, two of our three sim routines give Denver at least a three point edge, while the outlier calls for a Chargers win outright. Thus, in aggregate, our primary and secondary factors overwhelmingly support a Broncos win by a field goal or more. As such, we are comfortable laying the three and siding with the road favorites.
Chargers' Passing DVOA + Broncos' Passing Defense DVOA = +4.2%
Broncos' Passing DVOA + Chargers' Passing Defense DVOA = +14.4%
(For context, the 10%+ difference between the Broncos and Chargers passing games facing each other is roughly equivalent to the difference in throwing capacity between the Chiefs and Browns each facing average opposition.)
Further, in our estimation, Denver's aerial advantage tonight is higher than the numbers imply, given that Trevor Siemian is back under Center for the Broncos (Denver's whole season passing DVOA includes the impact of Paxton Lynch's flop versus the Falcons last week, where the rookie QB recorded a passer rating of 12!).
Using a similar approach to assess prospects for Denver's and San Diego's ground games tonight leads to the conclusion that the Chargers have an edge running the football, albeit a modest one:
Chargers' Rushing DVOA + Broncos' Rushing Defense DVOA = -14.7%
Broncos' Rushing DVOA + Chargers' Rushing Defense DVOA = -18.0%
Separately, betting trends also appear aligned with the road team. In head to head action, the Broncos are 9-1 straight up in the last ten encounters with San Diego, and 6-4 versus the number (including ATS wins in each of the last five contests hosted in San Diego). Conversely, since 2014 the Chargers are 1-4 as home dogs, 5-9 after a win and 13-15 in conference play.
Bottom line: Consistent with the indications from our main ATS handicapping factors, we do not think San Diego's slight rushing advantage can overcome their relative shortcoming throwing the ball. Further, we anticipate that the return of Trevor Siemian to the Bronco's lineup will exacerbate the disparity between these teams Thursday Night. Accordingly, we are backing Denver on the road. Look for the Broncos to rebound after a terrible outing last week.