Broncos vs Panthers Week 12 Picks and Predictions: Wilson Throws Early and Often

Russell Wilson showed renewed life last week with QB coach Klint Kubiak installed as Denver's play-caller on offense. And despite completing more than 20 passes in back-to-back weeks — not to mention a nonexistent ground game — his total is set at 18.5.

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2022 12:41 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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The Denver Broncos cross the country for a non-conference clash with the Carolina Panthers in Week 12.

Denver’s postseason hopes are pretty much dust after a late collapse and overtime loss to Las Vegas last weekend, lugging a dismal 3-7 record with them into this road game. Carolina matches that mark but has been playing more competitive football in recent weeks — at least in the eyes of the oddsmakers.

The Panthers have covered the NFL betting odds in four of their last five contests and are shaking things up under center with a move to Sam Darnold at quarterback. Darnold has yet to take a regular-season snap in 2022.

I break down the point spread and Over/Under total for this 1 p.m. ET kickoff and give my best NFL picks and predictions for Broncos at Panthers on November 27.

Broncos vs Panthers best odds

Broncos vs Panthers picks and predictions

The Broncos offense did their own shakeup last week with quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak taking over playcalling duties. And while Denver produced only 16 points in the loss to the Raiders — tempered by a missed field goal and goal line fumble — the offense was more efficient with Kubiak calling the shots.

According to NFL analytics ninja Ben Baldwin, Denver saw a major uptick in efficiency in Week 11. The Broncos had languished at 28th in EPA per play through the first 10 weeks of the schedule but ranked out No. 11 in the league last week.

The passing game was the biggest beneficiary of Kubiak’s approach, with its success rate per dropback spiking from 39.2% in the first nine games to 51.4% in Week 11. Quarterback Russell Wilson finished the day completing 24 of his 31 pass attempts for 247 yards — his highest completion rate of the year (77.4%).

Wilson will have to shoulder the load on offense in Carolina this week, with the Broncos running game looking paper-thin for Week 12. Chase Edmonds joined Javonte Williams on the IR and Melvin Gordon’s ball control issues sent him packing, leaving the RBs room a little empty.

Wilson’s pass completions prop is sitting at 18.5 O/U this Sunday, which seems a little low considering he’s posted completions totals of 21 and 24 the past two games (going Over totals of 19.5) and is seeing an uptick in efficiency with Kubiak at the wheel.

Another reason to like the Over on Wilson completions is the Panthers’ pop-gun offense, which has struggled more than any team in the league on third downs. Carolina is trying to snap this funk with a move to Sam Darnold at QB, but this offense is dead last in time of possession and allows foes the second most plays per game in the league. That will give Wilson additional touches to get Over this completions bar.

There are some injury concerns at receiver for the Broncos, with Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler listed as day-to-day with ailments, which is why I am not looking at Over on Wilson’s passing yards prop. However, he was still able to have a very effective day in terms of completions without those two targets in Week 11 and will get more than 28:57 of time with the football versus Carolina.

The Panthers pass defense sits 24th in average completions allowed per game (22.9) and 24th in completion percentage at 67.2% — that clip has spiked to 72.34% the past three games. Carolina allowed Lamar Jackson to connect on 24 of his 33 pass attempts last Sunday.

My best bet: Russell Wilson pass completions Over 18.5 (-125)

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Broncos vs Panthers spread analysis

This spread opened as big as Denver -3 at some books on Sunday night. And with news that Carolina would move to Darnold at quarterback for Week 12, as well as early pro money taking the points with the Panthers, this line shortened as much as Broncos -1.5.

Overall bad play from Denver isn’t winning over any gamblers and injuries to the running backs and receivers aren’t making matters any better. While the team said it was optimistic about the status of WRs Jeudy and Hamler, both receivers missed practice Wednesday.

Carolina, on the other hand, has been a sneaky good underdog bet the past five games. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in that span with two wins and an average margin of just -1.2 points in that stretch. 

The move to Darnold isn’t going to have a huge impact on the odds, as he’s perhaps a slight upgrade at the QB position when compared to the poor play of Baker Mayfield and P.J. Walker. Darnold is an underrated scrambler and can get tough yards on crucial downs with his legs if plays break down.

Covers Consensus is showing 52% of picks taking the points with the Panthers as of Thursday.

Broncos vs Panthers Over/Under analysis

This Over/Under total opened as low as 34.5 points on Sunday, which made it the lowest total of the 2022 season and the shortest number since a 34-point closing total between Chicago and San Francisco back on November 19, 2012.

Since opening at the low mark, money has come in on the Over and driven this number to as high as 36 points on Thursday morning. That would still be the shortest O/U of the 2022 campaign so far. Going back to 2010, there have been only 20 games with a closing total of 36 points or less and those contests produced a 14-6 O/U record — 70% Overs.

Coming off an embarrassingly bad day against the Ravens last weekend, the Panthers offense warrants the short number in Week 12. Carolina managed just three points on 205 yards of offense, which is bad even for an attack that ranks 29th in EPA per play on the year.

Denver did flash great efficiency on offense in Week 11 — albeit against the Raiders’ disastrous defense. The Broncos sit 28th in DVOA on offense at Football Outsiders and have failed to crack the 21-point plateau in all but one game this season. Injuries to the skill positions add to those woes in Week 12.

Defense has been both teams' calling card in 2022. Denver has stayed competitive thanks to a stop unit ranked No. 2 in EPA allowed per play and flexing its muscle on third downs and inside the red zone. Carolina, on the other hand, is No. 14 in EPA allowed per play, despite playing the most minutes of any defense this season. 

Denver enters this non-conference clash with an NFL-best 1-9 Over/Under record while Carolina sits 3-7 O/U on the year.

Broncos vs Panthers betting trend to know

Going back to 2010, NFL games with closing totals of 36 points or less have gone 14-6 Over/Under (70% Overs). There have been only three games with numbers this low since 2015, with those contests finished 2-1 O/U. Find more NFL betting trends for Broncos vs. Panthers.

Broncos vs Panthers game info

Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Date: Sunday, November 27, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Opening odds: Panthers +2.5, 35.5 O/U

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