Broncos Look To Flex Their Muscles As Underdog Against Rival Raiders

Written By Ian St. Clair on 11/10/2020 - Last Updated on February 10, 2021

When it comes to rivalries and the Denver Broncos, there is only one that really matters.

Yes, opinions may sway depending on the age of the fan.

But if you stick with the philosophy of longtime owner Pat Bowlen, the one true rival of the Broncos is the Las Vegas Raiders. To wit: Bowlen had a to-do list for his franchise.

One of the items on his list was beat the Raiders.

Now for the first time in this historic rivalry that dates back to 1960, those who partake in betting on the Broncos can wager on it in Colorado.

Though given the current state of Denver’s franchise, the Colorado sports betting market may decide to pass on any and all bets at this time.

Broncos at Raiders odds

Sunday is also the first time this rivalry will take place in Las Vegas.

The Colorado top betting apps don’t like Denver’s chances to leave Sin City with a win.

The Broncos (3-5) have opened as big underdogs to the Raiders (5-3).

If you look at Denver’s schedule after this Sunday, that’s unlikely to change.

One statistic to keep in mind is that Denver is 5-3 against the spread this season. While its NFL playoffs chances are slim to none at this point, that’s one way for NFL betting fans to wager on the Broncos going forward.

More Broncos betting trends

There’s also the over-under.

If you look at the last two weeks in particular, the Broncos have gone over the point spread.

Given the penchant for Drew Lock and Denver’s offense to make fourth-quarter comebacks, that’s likely to continue.

One thing bettors look for is trends. Well, this possible one in point spread betting is another one to keep an eye on.

How the Broncos can win

The other way the “over” trend will continue is if the Broncos get off to faster starts.

That also ties in with the key to how Denver can upset the Raiders.

As Andrew Mason pointed out on Twitter, the Broncos have trailed by double digits after one half of play in five of eight games this season, including five of their last seven.

Mase adds that only the New York Jets and the Washington Football Team have trailed by 10+ at halftime more often (six times apiece in 2020).

Needless to say, if Denver wants a shot on Sunday, it needs to flip that script.

Whatever Lock and the Broncos do in the fourth quarter, whether it’s simplify the offense or go uptempo, they need to do that from the jump.

That’s the main task for Denver offensive coordinator Pat Shumur and his staff this week.

Yes, the Broncos are young on offense.

But clearly what Denver is doing offensively in the first half is not working.

So take what Lock and the Broncos are doing in these fourth-quarter comeback attempts and give it a whirl on their first possessions this Sunday.

It sounds simple, but is it really that difficult?

Give the defense a break

If Denver can get out to a faster start, it will help the defense in a major way.

Given the ongoing injuries and players who are out, the unit could use the help.

The offense not going three-and-out is the first step.

Put some sustained drives together that end with touchdowns.

As for the players who could return on defense, there’s a possibility that defensive lineman Shelby Harris might return, but he tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and is now out for Sunday.

Cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan both could return this week. If even one is able to get back on the field, that’s an improvement over last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Throw out the records

There’s a cliche that when bitter rivals meet, the records don’t matter.

Since the Broncos will come up short on two of the items on Mr. B’s list — be No. 1 at everything and win Super Bowls — this is their chance to make good on one of them.

Beat the Raiders.

Photo by AP / Brynn Anderson
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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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