NFL

NFL Win Total Betting: Can the Denver Broncos Avoid Collapse in 2024?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
NFL Win Total Betting: Can the Denver Broncos Avoid Collapse in 2024?

Things haven't really gone according to plan for the Denver Broncos lately. Since winning Super Bowl 50 back in 2015, they've missed the playoffs every year, and they haven't even finished above .500 since the 2016 season.

It's been quite a Super Bowl hangover.

The team's bold attempt to recapture relevancy by acquiring Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson infamously backfired. Between that trade and the move that got them head coach Sean Payton from the New Orleans Saints, they've been pretty strapped for new talent via the draft.

But will Year 2 of the Sean Payton era be the year this franchise turns things around? Or was last year's 8-9 campaign just a glimmer of false hope amidst a downwards trajectory?

Let's take a look at the team's Win Total Betting Odds on FanDuel Sportsbook and see how the market feels about the Broncos' outlook this season.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Denver Broncos 2024 Win Total Odds

Broncos Over/Under 5.5 Wins

  • Over: -110
  • Under: -110

Odds to Make the Playoffs: +520
Odds to Win the AFC West: +2000 (4th)
Odds to Win the AFC Championship: +7000 (15th)
Super Bowl Odds: +15000 (30th)

Why Denver Could Win Over 5.5 Games

  • There's a New Quarterback in Town
  • 5.5 Wins Is Not a Lot
  • The Defense Could Be Good

The biggest source of hope for the Broncos this year stems from the new quarterback in town -- the team landed former Oregon Ducks passer Bo Nix with the 12th pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Nix was incredibly productive in his time at Oregon, racking up 8,101 passing yards, 74 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions while completing 74.9% of his passes across just two seasons of play.

The Broncos have been searching unsuccessfully for a franchise quarterback since Peyton Manning's final year with the team. If Nix can be the guy for them, there's a chance this team could start looking good in a hurry.

Nix's +2000 odds are just the sixth-shortest to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, tying him with New England Patriots rookie Drake Maye -- who isn't expected to start this year -- for the longest odds among this year's first round quarterbacks. Between his low odds in that competition and the Broncos' 5.5-win total here, it's possible bettors are sleeping on Denver this year.

Frankly, 5.5 wins is not that many wins. The Broncos managed eight wins in 2023 despite very visible struggles with then-quarterback Russell Wilson and still play in a division with serious question marks apart from the Super Bowl favorite Kansas City Chiefs.

The Las Vegas Raiders are in a full-on bridge year and will be starting either Gardner Minshew or Aidan O'Connell at quarterback, while the Los Angeles Chargers are entering a soft-rebuild phase under new head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Our perception of the Broncos might be drawing too much influence from their Week 3 loss to the Dolphins from last season. They all but quit on the field in that loss, which saw them fall to an 0-3 start, surrendering 70 points and over 700 yards of offense to Miami.

Focusing on that loss would obscure that the Broncos tightened things up after that wake-up call. They split their series with the Chiefs while allowing Patrick Mahomes and company to score just 28 combined points across those two contests. The beat the Buffalo Bills by holding Josh Allen's offense to just 22 points. They lost a close one to Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud and his playoff-bound Houston Texans and scraped out a 19-17 win over a playoff-bound Green Bay Packers team as well.

Their defense wasn't great in 2023, but it wasn't as bad as their Week 3 loss implied. Sadly, that 70-point, 700-yard loss was bad enough that it acted like an anchor for their 17-game season stats -- despite their second-half bounce back, the Broncos still finished the year sixth-worst in points allowed, fourth-worst in yards allowed, and third-worst in yards per play.

From Week 6 onwards, the Broncos allowed just 19.3 points per game. That would have been ninth-best in the NFL if that had been their actual 17-game average. Their defense wasn't nearly as bad as their Week 3 collapse implied and could be better than it seems like we're expecting in 2024.

Why Denver Could Win Under 5.5 Games

  • Sean Payton Is Not "Him"
  • Bo Nix Isn't NFL-Ready
  • The AFC Is Brutal

The Broncos sought out Payton's services because they believed he was the coach that could take them back to the Super Bowl. But are we actually sure he's that guy and not just a guy who like to run trick plays and got to coach Drew Brees, a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest quarterbacks in modern NFL history?

We've seen plenty of instances of "genius" coaches falling apart once a generational quarterback isn't their signal caller -- Josh McDaniels sans Tom Brady, Adam Gase post-Manning, any former Chiefs play-caller without Mahomes, etc.

Can we confidently say Payton's success is his own and independent from having Brees as his quarterback for literally 15 years? I'm not so sure, especially considering how poorly his offenses have fared in the only seasons we've seen him without Brees.

And if Payton isn't really an offensive mastermind, that means Nix needs to play at a better-than-Russell-Wilson level as a rookie. Wilson's last two seasons were pretty tough to watch, but we have previously seen him play at very high levels in a different offensive environment.

I am personally optimistic about Nix becoming an NFL starter, but there are flaws in his profile. He did not look a future NFL starter in his three seasons as Auburn's quarterback, where he threw just 39 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. He played five full seasons at the college level before declaring for the pros.

When he did break out at Oregon, it's fair to characterize a lot of his production as "manufactured." Among this year's top prospects, Nix attempted the second-most play action passes (172), the most screens (111), and the most passes behind the line of scrimmage (131 attempts, 28.1% of his total attempts).

It's certainly fair to question whether his skills will translate to the next level -- especially in a conference like the AFC. While the Raiders and Chargers may not be fielding hyper-competitive rosters this year, the rest of the conference is.

According to Sharp Football's strength of schedule models, the Broncos are slated to face the eighth-most difficult schedule in the NFL this year.

Last year's Broncos scraped out eight wins while playing against a number of teams -- like the Easton Stick Chargers and the Aidan O'Connell Raiders -- that had already thrown in the towel. Can we confidently say they've gotten better this offseason?

If they haven't gotten better, they could truly struggle to reach six wins against such a tough schedule.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.