Are Oddsmakers Buying The Hype Over The Denver Broncos?

Posted on June 19, 2020

Drew Lock has brought the excitement quotient back to the Denver Broncos.

For the first time since Peyton Manning retired, fans will want to watch the Broncos. They cannot wait to see what this team could do in the 2020 regular season.

The media has taken notice. It seems you can’t get on social media or turn on the TV without witnessing hype of Denver in some form or fashion:

On top of that, there’s also the sports betting partnerships this week with both FanDuel and Betfred.

Denver’s multi-year agreement with FanDuel is the first for an NFL franchise since the league allowed them in May. The multiple-year deal with Betfred includes the first-ever on-site betting lounge for the NFL.

It seems Denver is everywhere in the news.

The question now is: Will Lock and the Broncos live up to this hype?

Broncos schedule

Before we get into the odds, let’s take a look at Denver’s schedule.

That’s what will ultimately determine all of this.

For Lock and Denver to make a return trip to the playoffs for the first time since the Super Bowl 50 win, they will have to overcome a tight schedule. The Broncos’ slate is among the 12 toughest in terms of strength of schedule.

The other factor that could pose a problem for Denver is travel to the East Coast after prime-time games.

Not to mention what now feels like an annual December trip to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

WeekDateOpponentTime (MST)TV
19/14/2020vs. Tennessee Titans (MNF)8:10 PMESPN
29/20/2020at Pittsburgh Steelers11:00 AMCBS
39/27/2020vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers2:25 PMFOX
410/1/2020at New York Jets (TNF)6:20 PMFOX
510/11/2020at New England Patriots11:00 AMCBS
610/18/2020vs. Miami Dolphins2:05 PMCBS
710/25/2020vs. Kansas City Chiefs2:25 PMCBS
811/1/2020BYE
911/8/2020at Atlanta Falcons11:00 AMCBS
1011/15/2020at Las Vegas Raiders2:25 PMCBS
1111/22/2020vs. Los Angeles Chargers2:05 PMCBS
1211/29/2020vs. New Orleans Saints2:05 PMCBS
1312/6/2020at Kansas City Chiefs (SNF)6:20 PMNBC
1412/13/2020at Carolina Panthers11:00 AMCBS
15
12/19-20/2020
vs. Buffalo BillsTBD
16
12/26-27/2020
at Los Angeles ChargersTBD
171/3/2021vs. Las Vegas Raiders2:25 PMCBS

Oddsmakers aren’t sold on the Broncos

At least when it comes to the oddsmakers, they don’t think the current hype will translate to the field.

You would think FanDuel announcing its new partnership with the franchise would sway them a little.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel have Denver at 7.5 wins. They also have the over at -110 and under at -110.

AFC West win totals DraftKings FanDuel
Kansas City Chiefs 11.5 — over (-110), under (-110)11.5 — over (-125), under (+105)
Los Angeles Chargers 7.5 — over (-143), under (+118)8 — over (-110), under (-110)
Denver Broncos 7.5 — over (-110), under (+110)7.5 — over (-110), under (-110)
Las Vegas Raiders 7 — over (-110), under (-110)7.5 — over (-105), under (-115)

Broncos playoff odds

Oddsmakers also don’t see the Broncos in the playoffs. And that’s with one extra team set to qualify this season. The 2020 postseason is the first where seven teams will make it, as opposed to six.

This is an instance where Broncos Country could turn that excitement into a (mini) payday.

If you think Lock and Denver will get more than seven wins and make the playoffs, that’s a great way to replenish your bank account after Christmas.

Broncos odds/game linesDraftKings FanDuel
Broncos make the playoffs+200+180
Broncos don't make the playoffs-250-225
Week One vs the Tennessee Titans -1.5-1.5
Week Two at the Pittsburgh Steelers +5.5+5.5

Broncos game lines

For the second-straight season, Denver opens with the late Monday Night Football game.

The Broncos opened the 2019 regular season at the then-Oakland Raiders.

This season Denver does so at home versus the Tennessee Titans.

The Broncos open as a slight favorite on both DraftKings and FanDuel at -1.5.

As for the Week Two game at the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s no surprise that Denver is the underdog at +5.5 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

What remains an unanswered question is whether games are played in front of fans.

If the NFL follows suit with the NBA and NHL, fans will not be in attendance. If that happens, how does it change the lines? One of the factors in determining favorites in the NFL is the home-field advantage.

How will no fans impact odds?

If fans are no longer there, how does that impact the odds?

Crowd noise is huge, especially in places like KC. Without that, it’s like games are played at a neutral site.

However, the mile-high advantage is still there for the Broncos. The altitude challenge isn’t going away, even if fans might.

Once it’s clear whether fans will attend games, look to see if game lines change.

AFC West odds

In terms of the AFC West, there’s no surprise the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are the huge favorite.

Despite the excitement, there’s still a large gap between the Broncos and Kansas City. It’s not realistic to think Denver will overtake the Chiefs in the division. Though, stranger things have happened.

DraftKingsFanDuel
Kansas City Chiefs -455Kansas City Chiefs -390
Denver Broncos +900Los Angeles Chargers +700
Los Angeles Chargers +900Denver Broncos +1100
Las Vegas Raiders +1100Las Vegas Raiders +1200

Super Bowl odds

As a bettor, this where you can have some fun.

Again, it’s no surprise Kansas City is the favorite to repeat, followed by the Baltimore Ravens.

But if you think Lock and the Broncos can win the fourth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, you could make some serious bank.

Denver remains huge underdogs to make that happen, though it remains in better shape post-NFL Draft.

The Broncos are at +5,000 on DraftKings and +6,000 on FanDuel to win the Super Bowl.

One fan took those odds and bet that Denver will win it all this season. In fact, it was the first bet at the opening of the first retail sportsbook at the Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk on Wednesday.

In terms of winning the AFC, again, the Chiefs are the favorite, followed again by Baltimore.

Denver is at +2,200 on DraftKings and +3,000 on FanDuel to win the conference.

Broncos player odds

The odds don’t improve much when it comes to individual player/coaches awards.

Chew on this: Free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, who isn’t currently on a roster, has better odds on DraftKings to win NFL MVP at +6,000 than Lock at +7,000.

The two quarterbacks have the same odds to win the MVP on FanDuel (+6,500).

To go even deeper, FanDuel has the Broncos hat +500 to sign Newton. The Washington Redskins are the favorite at +300.

Here’s some more to chew on: New Broncos running back Melvin Gordon has better odds on DraftKings at +7,000 to win NFL Offensive Player of the Year than Lock at +10,000. Denver receiver Courtland Sutton has the same odds as Lock.

On FanDuel, Gordon and Lock have the same odds to win offensive player of the year (+8,500).

Denver rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy has pretty good odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. On DraftKings, Jeudy is at +1,500 on FanDuel and +1,600 on DraftKings.

Broncos defense

While there is excitement for the offense, the Broncos defense is probably a safer bet — at least until we see Lock and his allotment of toys on the field.

Edge rusher Von Miller sits at +1,800 on FanDuel to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year and +2,000 on DraftKings.

Bradley Chubb, the edge rusher coming off an ACL injury, is at +4,000 to win the award on DraftKings and +4,200 on FanDuel.

Broncos long shots

If you want some real long shots to wager on, Miller is at +25,000 odds on DraftKings and +30,000 on FanDuel to win MVP.

If you want an even bigger long shot: Jeudy is at +50,000 on DraftKings to win NFL MVP.

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio has the same odds from both DraftKings and FanDuel to win NFL Coach of the Year at +2,500.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is the favorite from both sportsbooks.

The rest of America seems to realize what most in Broncos Country do: That Lock and the Broncos have some serious potential.

At least for now, oddsmakers aren’t buying into the hype.

Ian St. Clair Avatar
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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 segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

View all posts by Ian St. Clair