Denver Broncos Season Win Total: Over 11.5

Denver Broncos

Bet365 NFL betting line: Over 11.5 -115/Under 11.5 -115 (odds subject to change)
Last season: 13-3
Our pick: Over 11.5

Wes Welker could become Peyton Manning's new favourite target.
Wes Welker could become Peyton Manning’s new favourite target.

The Broncos were the NFL’s hottest team down the stretch last season, winning their final 11 games (eight of those in spread-covering fashion) to overcome a 2-3 start and earn homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Of course, Denver was promptly upset in its first postseason contest, collapsing defensively late in the fourth quarter against Baltimore and falling 38-35 in double overtime as 9.5-point favourites.

Perhaps the only reason to doubt the Broncos this year might be any possible hangover from that stunning loss to the Ravens (remember that Flacco Hail Mary in the final minute?). Everything else seems to be in Denver’s favour entering the 2013 campaign. The Broncos have significantly upgraded their offence with the signing of a pair of stud free agents, receiver Wes Welker and guard Louis Vasquez. They also drafted promising running back Montee Ball out of Wisconsin.

As if Peyton Manning needed more weapons. Some had concern about Manning last year as a 36-year-old returning from neck surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2011 campaign, but Peyton didn’t skip a beat, throwing 37 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. Keeping Manning healthy is obviously crucial to any Denver success, but he is protected by one of the better offensive lines in the league — provided a couple of injured starters don’t miss much of the season.

Manning and the offence got a lot of attention last season, but Denver’s defence was quietly the second-ranked unit in the league. Von Miller had 18.5 sacks in his sophomore year, and former Charger Shaun Phillips is capable of filling much of the hole left by the departure of Elvis Dumervil. Pressuring the quarterback, as the Broncos did so well last year, is key as there are some question marks on the rest of the Denver defence. Legendary corner Champ Bailey was burned repeatedly in the playoff loss to Baltimore, as was Rahim Moore, and the safeties aren’t stellar in pass coverage. Denver also appears to have concerns at middle linebacker, where the Broncos hope 2011 third-rounder Nate Irving can do the job.

Denver has several things going its way when it comes to the schedule. First of all, the Broncos play in the AFC West, which is unquestionably the weakest division in football. Denver ran the table in divisional play last year, and a 6-0 mark this season is hardly an unrealistic expectation. Outside the division, Denver can fatten up with home games against Philadelphia, Jacksonville and Tennessee, while the Broncos will also be solid favourites when they host Baltimore and Washington. Don’t forget, the altitude and unpredictable weather at Mile High Stadium gives Denver one of the biggest home-field advantages in football. The Broncos’ road slate is a bit tougher, with stops at the Giants, Cowboys, Colts, Patriots and Texans.

You won’t get rich taking teams over 11.5 when it comes to betting on NFL season wins. But with the assembled talent on Denver’s offence, the team’s dominance at home and an awful division to exploit, the Broncos should at least match their 13-win total from a year ago, if not exceed it. We recommend the over, and just hope to hell that Peyton Manning stays upright.

Denver Broncos 2013 schedule

1 Thu, Sep 5
  • vs Baltimore
8:30 PM NBC
2 Sun, Sep 15
  • @ NY Giants
4:25 PM CBS
3 Mon, Sep 23
  • vs Oakland
8:30 PM ESPN
4 Sun, Sep 29
  • vs Philadelphia
4:25 PM FOX
5 Sun, Oct 6
  • @ Dallas
4:25 PM CBS
6 Sun, Oct 13
  • vs Jacksonville
4:05 PM CBS
7 Sun, Oct 20
  • @ Indianapolis
8:30 PM NBC
8 Sun, Oct 27
  • vs Washington
4:25 PM FOX
10 Sun, Nov 10
  • @ San Diego
4:25 PM CBS
11 Sun, Nov 17
  • vs Kansas City
4:05 PM CBS
12 Sun, Nov 24
  • @ New England
8:30 PM NBC
13 Sun, Dec 1
  • @ Kansas City
1:00 PM CBS
14 Sun, Dec 8
  • vs Tennessee
4:05 PM CBS
15 Thu, Dec 12
  • vs San Diego
8:25 PM NFL
16 Sun, Dec 22
  • @ Houston
1:00 PM CBS
17 Sun, Dec 29
  • @ Oakland
4:25 PM CBS