Denver Broncos Odds: Will Sean Payton Help Exceed 2023 Outlook?
After going 5-12 in Russell Wilson’s first season in the Mile High City, Denver Broncos odds represent one of the most-bet NFL win totals at BetMGM Sportsbook. In particular, 98% of the handle and 93% of the tickets are on over victories. Much of that optimism has to do with the arrival of former Saints head coach Sean Payton, who is tied with the Bears’ Matt Eberflus for the second-shortest odds (+1100) to win 2023 NFL Coach of the Year. Let’s examine what to expect from the Broncos and whether thier AFC West odds are worth betting.
Broncos odds: assessing 2022 Woes
To put it mildly, Wilson floundered in his lone season with then-Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett, who has since reunited with Aaron Rodgers via the New York Jets. On the surface, he finished with the seventh-worst dropback EPA among qualified quarterbacks. Only Mac Jones, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz, Davis Mills, and Baker Mayfield finished behind him.
Digging a bit deeper, Wilson took the second-highest percentage of sacks across the NFL (10.2%). Keep in mind, he’s tallied just three seasons above 8.5% in his 11-year career. Although the Broncos’ offensive line ranked below average in pass-blocking efficiency, he was the league’s second-worst quarterback at converting pressure into sacks. That twisted the perception of his line’s overall showing.
Even with Payton replacing the at-times delusional Hackett, the soon-to-be 35-year-old may have lost his playmaking prowess outside of the pocket — arguably his best attribute amid his Seahawks’ tenure.
Reasons For Optimism
Denver’s defense was the anthesis of its poor performance on the other side of the ball — and then some. The unit not only yielded the sixth-fewest YPP but also accrued ninth-lowest EPA allowed. Randy Gregory’s presence (albeit limited) on the edge, along with the development of defensive end Zach Allen, played a big role. Nevertheless, Patrick Surtain II represents the linchpin, evolving into an elite coverage corner.
Additionally, the Broncos dealt with the worst injury luck in the NFL. Third-year tailback Javonte Williams was among their most notable absences. He is now participating in training camp, after suffering a torn ACL in Week 4. Gregory was another casualty of a significant knee injury, forcing him to miss nine games.
Injuries are generally unpredictable, yet it’s reasonable to anticipate some positive variance. In turn, Denver should improve upon its 4-9 record in one-score games (0-3 in overtime). Payton’s reputable game planning will help in that regard as well.
Broncos Odds conclusion
While there are signs pointing to Denver undergoing a bounce-back campaign, bettors should still be apprehensive. Despite facing the Raiders, Commanders, and Bears in three of their first four games, their schedule is largely more arduous than last year. Among opponent win totals, it ranks No. 10.
More importantly, the notion that Payton will make up for Hackett’s blunders is already woven into the market. As previously stated, the Broncos’ win total is already three ticks higher than their number of victories last season.
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