Can QB’s Return Unlock An Upset For The Broncos?

Written By Ian St. Clair on 10/14/2020 - Last Updated on February 10, 2021

You knew we were in for a wild ride when it comes to the Denver Broncos.

Not that you needed another reminder that it is, in fact, the year 2020. Just four games into the Broncos season and it already feels like we are on game 16.

There are injuries that seem to build with each day.

Broncos at Patriots finally ready to happen?

Now Denver has felt the impact of COVID-19 via the New England Patriots. Both quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the coronavirus that led to the NFL postponing the Broncos at Patriots Week 5 game.

For the second time.

Now the game is scheduled for 11 a.m. MST this Sunday in Foxborough.

The previous Week 5 is now considered Denver’s bye week.

That was originally set for Week 8, which is now when the Broncos will play the Los Angeles Chargers.

That was originally scheduled for Week 11, which is now when Denver will play the Miami Dolphins, who were set to play in Denver this Sunday.

Are you confused yet?

It’s certainly been a wild ride for Colorado betting sites and Broncos Country, to say the least.

For now, the Broncos are finally on the verge of returning to the field after what will be over two weeks since they beat the New York Jets.

Broncos at Patriots odds

To the surprise of no one, the sports betting odds have Denver as a huge underdog to the Patriots.

The delay will likely allow Newton and Gilmore to get back on the field. Thus, the various sportsbooks have responded in a not-so-kind fashion.

Will Drew Lock play?

However, the Broncos could also get quarterback Drew Lock back.

As he told the media on Wednesday:

“I’m really excited to be back. It feels good to be doing what I love and doing what I was put here to do. It was great to be back with the guys, calling plays in the huddle and feeling the camaraderie of the team. It’s pretty lonely when you’re back there with a headset and walking through things in your head.”

While that may not help Denver win on Sunday, it should help them cover and make the game closer.

An interesting point for those betting on the Broncos: they’re 3-1 against the spread this season.

So there’s that to keep in mind if you do point spread betting.

What do the sportsbooks make of the postponements?

As for the postponements, how are the betting apps in Colorado handling this?

The coaches, players and teams have all had to adjust, but so do the books.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Scott Cooley, the odds consultant, told PlayColorado:

“The biggest challenge has been the NFL and its incompetence. The lack of proactiveness and guidance we’ve seen from the commissioner on down is perplexing. We all knew these situations were going to arise … it had months to prepare and somehow the league still screwed it up.”

Johnny Avello is more along the lines of this being a typical NFL season.

The director of operations at DraftKings told PlayColorado that you could see that in the trends developing — like the over on the total.

Avello also said the handle on the overall season “has been outstanding.”

“It hasn’t been a big challenge as far as bookmaking is concerned because moving or postponing games is pretty straightforward. But it has been a challenge for our contests, which are set at the beginning of every week.”

Oddsmakers forced to do some juggling

At the very least, the oddsmakers have been kept on their toes.

More so than usual because of the various postponements.

The Tennessee Titans have encountered positive COVID-19 tests over the last few weeks as well. The Titans game with the Buffalo Bills finally happened on Tuesday.

As Cooley said:

“It’s been interesting, to say the least. From an oddsmaking perspective, the juggling of the schedule has forced us to think a bit more about certain situations when it comes to travel, byes, opponents, etc.”

Since we’re in the prediction business, what does the rest of the 2020 NFL season have in store? For those betting on the NFL, fans and the league?

According to Cooley:

“I’m concerned. We are all praying that we make it through this 2020 season safe and healthy, and ultimately complete it, but it’s certainly not a guarantee. We know the bubble works, and I know it’s a lot to ask these organizations to stay in a bubble for months, but hopefully they can figure out a way to re-create that concept in some capacity.”

As for the Broncos, Avello is a bit more positive. A little.

“The Broncos will get healthier as the season progresses, so I see at least three to four more wins in their schedule.”

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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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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