Broncos vs Chargers Monday Night Football Picks and Predictions: L.A. Begins Charging Up

The Chargers have gotten off to an underwhelming start, but get a home contest for Week 6 against a team with even more questions and fewer answers in the Broncos. With L.A. starting to find health, see why we're fading Denver at SoFi with our NFL picks.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
Oct 17, 2022 • 17:31 ET • 4 min read

Monday Night Football features the AFC West for the second straight week, with the Denver Broncos visiting the Los Angeles Chargers in  NFL Week 6's finale.

Denver continues to insult preseason expectations with a rocky 2-3 straight-up start to 2022, coming off back-to-back losses but enjoying a mini-bye after falling to Indianapolis in last Thursday night's stinker. With a laundry list of injuries on both sides of the ball, including an ailing quarterback in Russell Wilson, the Broncos were in dire need of a break.

Los Angeles, plagued with injuries early in the year, is starting to get healthy and could be the closest to full strength we’ve seen this squad since Week 1. The Bolts are riding a two-game win streak and are back home for the first time since Week 3.

I break down the point spread and Over/Under total for Monday Night Football and give my best NFL picks and predictions for Broncos at Chargers on October 17.

Broncos vs Chargers best odds

Broncos vs Chargers picks and predictions

I’ll admit, I was on the Russell Wilson train headed up the mountain this offseason, believing the Broncos could be something special in 2022. I even bet accordingly, taking Denver to cover in each game between Week 2 and Week 4 — expecting the team to get over the growing pains of a new coach and new QB.

But the more we watch Denver fall flat on its face, the more those issues seem deep-rooted and not superficial, as once thought. The biggest bugaboo is this offense, which sits 31st in yards per point and 27th in DVOA at Football Outsiders.

As Denver enters Week 6 and a crucial divisional game on the road, the offensive depth chart is teeming with injuries. What’s worse and perhaps very telling with the severity of those ailments, is that the Broncos have been off since last Thursday, giving them added time to rest and recover. Yet things are as bad as they are.

Wilson is playing with a noodle arm, the rushing corps is limping around practice, and the offensive line is very nicked-up with key cogs out and starters missing prep reps this week. Defensively, things aren’t much better — there’s a lot of red ink on the depth chart for the stop unit.

The Chargers can absolutely sympathize, having their roster bitten repeatedly by the injury bug over the past month and a half. However, the Bolts are starting to get bodies back and players who have been plagued with injuries are getting closer to 100%. 

The Chargers have underperformed to open 2022, as many pegged L.A. as the team to beat in the AFC West. Los Angeles has its faults for sure, but much of the blame can be put on not having a healthy team, most notably the home loss to Jacksonville in Week 3. I feel the betting markets are undervaluing an L.A. squad that feels ready to erupt in the second third of the season.

The Bolts showed fortitude battling through back-to-back road games to take wins away from home while also covering as road chalk and started gaining traction on offense with scores of 34 and 30 points the past two outings — ranking No. 2 in EPA per play the last two weeks.

Justin Herbert is the best QB this Denver secondary has faced this year and could potentially have his full stable of targets ready to go on Monday. The Broncos will bring blitz to try and disrupt Herbert (boasting the fourth-highest blitz rate), but the Bolts' young QB has been steady against extra rushers, completing 60% of those throws for an average of 7.8 yards per attempt according to PFF.

Also counteracting the Denver blitz is an L.A. rushing attack coming into its own, with RBs Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley providing a potent one-two punch — on the ground and through the air.

That duo combined for 222 rushing yards and 59 receiving yards, along with three touchdowns in the win over Cleveland last Sunday. A strong effort on the ground powers Joe Lombardi’s play-action-heavy schemes and keeps the Denver secondary guessing.

If that scoring attack can get loose against Denver, which is a step up in defensive competition, it’s hard to see the Broncos offense being able to catch up. It also makes things easier for the Chargers defense in terms of forcing Denver to throw more. 

The L.A. defense has been bad against the run through five games, but a quick lead and a banged-up Broncos rushing corps could patch those gaps versus the ground. The Chargers have a passing defense that could stymie Wilson at his best, ranked No. 4 in Pass Defense DVOA at Football Outsiders and allowing the fifth-lowest success rate per dropback in the land.

Given the lookahead line for this game was set at Chargers -3 back in the summer, and we’re only seeing a 1.5-point hike despite the Broncos’ bad start and damaged depth chart, I’m laying the points with a home team that is poised for positive results going forward.

My best bet: L.A. Chargers -4.5 (-110 at bet365)

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Broncos vs Chargers spread analysis

The look-ahead line for this AFC West war was set at Chargers -3 in the summer, but after a slow start from the Wilson-led Broncos and L.A. picking up wins in its last two showings, the official Week 6 opening line pegged the Bolts as 6-point home chalk. 

However, with the statuses of Bolts WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams up in the air, and positive injury updates regarding Wilson’s torn lat, this spread started to shrink down as low as Los Angeles -4.5. As of Thursday, it sounds like Williams (illness) should be OK for Monday night, but Allen is still questionable. The market is all over the board, with L.A. sitting between -4.5 and -5.5 at some respected online books.

According to WynnBET books, almost 60% of ticket count is on Los Angeles while 54% of the handle is siding with Denver. Our Covers Consensus shows 68% of picks on the Chargers, as the betting public has been soured on the Broncos' weak showings so far in 2022.

Broncos vs Chargers Over/Under analysis

The lookahead total set in the offseason promised potential fireworks for this primetime game, sitting as high as 48.5 points. But with the Chargers potentially missing some key downfield threats and the Broncos' offense looking listless after five weeks, the official Week 6 Over/Under opened at 46.5 points Sunday night.

From there, the total has trimmed as much as 45.5 O/U. WynnBET is reporting overwhelming support of the Under at their books, with 59% of bets and 74% of the money betting on a low-scoring finish Monday night.

Denver not only enters Week 6 with a banged-up QB, but this Broncos offense is thin at running back as well. They’ve lost RB Javonte Williams to injury, and RBs Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone are listed as questionable after being limited in practice Thursday.

Denver is 1-4 O/U on the season thanks to a flat offense, ranked 26th in EPA per play and running the 24th-fastest pace, and solid defense that sits No. 3 on the other side of that advanced metric. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is 3-2 O/U heading into Week 6, sitting No. 8 in EPA per play, while the defense remains sound against the pass but gives up the fourth-highest EPA per handoff to opposing ground games.

Broncos vs Chargers betting trend to know

Since 2016, the Broncos are a dreadful 2-17 SU and 4-15 ATS (21%) in divisional road games. Find more NFL betting trends for Broncos vs. Chargers.

Broncos vs Chargers game info

Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Date: Monday, October 17, 2022
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET

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