Drew Lock Set To Start Broncos First Preseason Game

Written By Ian St. Clair on 08/10/2021 - Last Updated on August 11, 2021
Broncos at Vikings 2021 preseason betting odds

Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock?

Through two weeks of training camp, the Denver Broncos will get their first look at both quarterbacks against an actual opponent. And not just in Saturday’s first preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. The two teams also have joint practices this week starting on Wednesday.

As the 2021 season inches closer, the hope is that either Bridgewater or Lock create some separation for the starting job. By all accounts, that’s yet to happen.

The longer the competition draws out, the longer the two will split reps, and, with it, fewer chances to work with the starting offense. Not exactly ideal for an offense that has been garbage for five seasons.

Broncos at Vikings odds

 

For fans betting on the Broncos, this may also serve as the first chance to wager on the NFL since the Super Bowl or the end of last season.

Denver is a slight favorite (either -2 or -2.5) against the Vikings on Saturday.

For those who may place a bet on the game, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio announced on Tuesday that Lock will start on Saturday and Bridgewater will start the second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 21.

This is where the QB competition begins.

How good is the Broncos running game?

It’s not just the quarterbacks that will garner attention on Saturday. This is the first opportunity to see the team in game action. And while most of the questions won’t get answered, it’s the first indication of what Denver could look like this season.

Since the start of training camp, there has been talk that the Broncos running game has the potential to set the pace for this team.

There was the hope that rookie running back Javonte Williams could team up with Melvin Gordon to give Denver a dynamic one-two punch in the running game. If that happens, whomever starts at quarterback will benefit in a serious way. Though that seems to lean in Bridewater’s favor since he carries the “game manager” mantra and is more experienced.

In terms of player award markets, at DraftKings online sportsbook in Colorado, Williams is +1,800 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Given how strong the Vikings are on defense under head coach Mike Zimmer, this serves as a good first test for Denver’s running game and the offensive line.

Of course, there’s the return of receiver Courtland Sutton. After tearing his ACL in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’s slowly but surely rounded back into form over the course of camp. And as you plan your fantasy football drafts, Sutton could become a great pick.

First glimpse at a healthy Von Miller

But the NFL betting excitement for this team is all on defense. And it starts with the return of Von Miller.

While we may not see him much on Saturday, hopefully he gets a few plays to get back into game action. After all, it’s been well over a year since Miller last played in a game. By all reports, he was primed for a great season a year ago before he suffered a freak ankle injury. Now he’s ready to go in 2021.

Then there’s Pat Surtain II, the rookie cornerback from Alabama. At this point, he’s surpassed the hype.

For NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Surtain is +1,400 at DraftKings.

As Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan told the Denver media recently about PS2:

“He kind of looks like he’s been in the league for a couple of years already. Real calm. He’s got a lot going for him. Probably one of the quickest I’ve seen a rookie acclimate to a defense and pick up multiple spots. It’s pretty impressive.”

Now Broncos Country gets its first taste of Surtain in his first NFL game. Is Surtain the next great cornerback to play for the Broncos?

While the first preseason game may not answer the big question remaining for Denver, Bridgewater or Lock, it’s the first glimpse at what the season could hold.

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a weekly Broncos segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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