How to Bet Every Denver Broncos Game in 2020
The NFL season is around the corner -- even if that corner is a little farther down the block than it may normally be. Despite that, FanDuel Sportsbook has given us tons and tons and tons (did I mention tons?) of offerings to wager on for the 2020 season.
One of them includes game-by-game spreads and moneylines for a few teams, including the Denver Broncos.
Which Broncos games offer value?
So, we don't know the week-by-week schedule for the NFL, but we do know home and road opponents for the year. Thus, we know every matchup and can adjust for home/road context.
Using win totals and betting lines attached to them, we can approximate point differential for a team. If you're a numberFire regular, you'll know our nERD metric well. It indicates expected point differential against an average opponent on a neutral field. Regressing win totals and betting odds on those totals allowed me to approximate nERD for 2020.
From there, we can simulate a team's schedule a few thousand times to see where value is available.
The Schedule and Results
The table here lists the Broncos' home/road status and their opponent. Next, it's the actual spread and moneyline listed on FanDuel Sportsbook.
After that, it's the average point differential for the Broncos in the simulated games. This also reflects the expected nERD differential between the teams going into the matchup. Over 10,000 simulations, things average out to around the same number. I also listed the percentage of games in which the Broncos covered the spread.
The final two columns indicate moneyline and outright win information: the percentage of simulated games won and the value on the moneyline (compared to their listed moneyline odds).
|New York Jets||A||+1.0||-102||-0.28||50.5%||47.6%||-2.9%|
An immediate takeaway here is that the Broncos seem lacking in single-game value. The main reason for it is that they face the fourth-toughest schedule in the NFL according to preseason win odds.
Not only do they face the Kansas City Chiefs (whose win total is 11.5) twice and the New Orleans Saints (10.5), but they also play teams with a lot of preseason optimism: the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers (twice), and Chiefs (again, twice).
What that does in this scenario is boost their opponents' expected point differential. While I'd love to boost the Broncos, all I want to do here is rely on the math and betting odds to do the work.
Still, Denver themselves are a solid team with a win total set at 7.5 with equal odds on the over and under. After a stellar draft and with the arrow up on Drew Lock, there are reasons to be bullish on them for 2020.
The Best Value Spots
The Broncos covered their road matchup with the Chiefs 51.2% of the time and won outright 22.7% of the time, actually giving us positive value on a +390 moneyline. A low-unit wager can pay off big in that one. Plus, depending on the status of crowds during the 2020 season, the Chiefs' home-field advantage could be nullified a bit. That's a very intriguing game to target.
Denver also rated out well against a tough Saints team at home. The spread is much lighter, but their win odds do outperform the +140 moneyline on them. There'll be some Emmanuel Sanders revenge game takes that week, but the sims like Denver on the moneyline.
Their road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers looks good here, too. Pittsburgh is projected to be a 9-win team (-110 on the over), but the gap isn't big enough to make Denver a bad bet on the moneyline. It's a pretty common trend with Denver's simulations: they're a little undervalued against the better teams and possibly overvalued against the weaker teams -- when accounting for the odds.
The game against the Patriots probably deserves more love than what the simulations suggest. New England is -120 to hit the over on 9 wins, meaning the perception is that they're a 10-win team or better. Based on their draft and quarterback situation, it's easy to be a little hesitant there. The Broncos' moneyline is definitely in play there, too.
Denver is in play to cover on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. The Broncos are +2.5 in that game, yet the win totals anticipate closer to a 1.5-point gap between Denver and Atlanta. Plus, watching KJ Hamler on turf is going to be a lot of fun.