Peyton Manning went out as an NFL champion, retiring after winning the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in February of 2016. The Broncos have been looking for a quarterback ever since, cycling through names like Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. After reading that list, you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that the franchise hasn't made it back to the postseason since their Super Bowl triumph.
The franchise hopes that the quarterback search and resulting playoff drought is a thing of the past after they acquired Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks this past offseason. Denver paid a heavy price for their new franchise quarterback, but they've learned the hard way how important it is to have stability at arguably the most important position in sports. The Broncos have locked up Wilson to a massive five-year extension to ensure that quarterback is no longer an issue for many years to come.
For the last few years, the Broncos have felt like a team that's a quarterback away. They have some nice weapons on offense and some good players on defense. By acquiring Wilson, Denver looks to follow in the foot steps of Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Rams, the two most recent Super Bowl winners who won it all in their first season after acquiring Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford, respectively.
Can Denver reach those heights in 2022? That might be asking for a lot, but the hype is certainly there for the Broncos and Russell Wilson. Yahoo's Frank Schwab has the Broncos ranked 11th in his preseason power rankings. The betting market has a similar feeling about Denver prior to the start of the season.
Broncos face stiff challenge in AFC West
It's hard to compare this year's Denver Broncos to last year's team. The addition of an elite quarterback changes a franchise in a massive way. With that being said, Denver is coming off a seven-win season. Their win total for the upcoming season is set at over/under 10.5 wins. The 3.5 win expected improvement is tied for the largest in the league.
Denver hasn't reached double-digits in wins since they won the Super Bowl in the 2015 season. Even with the addition of Wilson, the action is pretty split on the Broncos' win total. Currently at BetMGM, 66% of bets are on the over, but 55% of the money is on Denver to go under 10.5 wins.
The Broncos are -140 favorites to make the playoffs this season and snap their six-year playoff drought. Those odds suggest Denver makes the playoffs just over 58% of the time. Once again, the action is pretty split, but 61% of bets are backing Denver to make the playoffs.
Denver is +260 to win the AFC West this upcoming season. Those are the third best odds in the division behind the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos are -140 to finish in a top-two spot in the division, but oddsmakers wouldn't be particularly shocked to see them finish anywhere. Denver is +220 to finish third and +350 to finish fourth.
The Broncos won the division five straight times from 2011 through 2015, but they haven't won it since. Denver is currently the most popular bet to win the division at BetMGM. If the Broncos fail to win the AFC West, you can bet them to make the playoffs as a wildcard team at +195.
Denver is currently 16-to-1 to lead the league in wins this regular season. Those odds are tied for seventh best with the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys. The Broncos are 14-to-1 to lead the league in points scored, tied for the 8th best odds with the Packers and Eagles.
Broncos are a popular Super Bowl bet
Denver enters the 2022 season with 16-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. Those are tied for the seventh best odds with the San Francisco 49ers. The Broncos are just behind the Chargers and just ahead of the Cowboys on the odds leaderboard. Denver is currently the second most popular Super Bowl bet at BetMGM behind only the Buffalo Bills.
The Broncos are +850 to win the AFC and represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Those are the fourth best odds behind only the Bills, Chiefs and Chargers. Denver is the second most popular bet to win the conference behind the Bills.
Denver is +750 to enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed and earn a first round bye. Those odds are tied for third best with the Baltimore Ravens. Only the Chiefs and Bills have better odds.
Broncos' player props and awards
What does the betting market think of some of the key players on Denver's roster?
Russell Wilson is 14-to-1 to win NFL MVP in his first season with Denver. Those odds are tied for seventh best with Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford, just behind Joe Burrow. Wilson is currently the most popular bet to win MVP at BetMGM and poses the biggest liability for the sportsbook. His odds opened at 30-to-1, but have come crashing down due to the volume of betting action.
Wilson is 20-to-1 to lead the league in passing yards. Those odds are tied for ninth best with Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins. Russ is 16-to-1 to lead the league in passing touchdowns. Those odds are also tied for ninth best with Rodgers.
Wilson's over/under for passing yards this upcoming season is set at 4099.5 yards. He went under last season thanks in large part due to injury, but he has gone over this number in three of the five years before that. His over/under for passing touchdowns is set at 31.5, a number he has eclipsed four times in 10 seasons. His over/under for interceptions thrown is 10.5. He has gone over this number just three times in his career.
Javonte Williams is a popular name in the fantasy landscape and it's no surprise that has carried over to the betting market. Williams is currently the eighth most popular bet to lead the league in rushing and the seventh most popular bet to lead the league in rushing touchdowns. Javonte is 20-to-1 to lead the league in rushing yards and 25-to-1 to lead in touchdowns.
Williams' over/under for rushing yards is set at 899.5 yards. He had 903 in his rookie season. His over/under for rushing touchdowns is set at 7.5 scores after he scored just four touchdowns last year. Javonte's over/under for combined rushing and receiving yards is set at 1199.5 yards. He had 1213 all purpose yards last season.
Jerry Jeudy was highly touted coming out of Alabama, but a combination of poor play himself, poor quarterback play and injuries has gotten his career off to a bit of a bumpy start. However, with Wilson now throwing him the ball, a lot of people are expecting a breakout season for Jeudy. He's 30-to-1 to lead the league in receiving yards, 40-to-1 to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns and 66-to-1 to lead the league in receptions.
Jeudy's props for the upcoming season are set at over/under 73.5 receptions, 949.5 receiving yards and 6.5 touchdowns. In his first two seasons, Jeudy has averaged 45 receptions, 661 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per season. Injuries explain some of that, but nonetheless, oddsmakers are expecting Jeudy to take a massive leap.
Other Broncos' players
Bradley Chubb is 66-to-1 to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Chubb is 50-to-1 to lead the league in sacks this upcoming season despite the fact he has just 8.5 sacks over the last three years combined after dealing with some injuries. Despite the lack of recent success, Chubb is the eighth most popular bet to lead the league in sacks.
Courtland Sutton is currently the ninth most popular bet to lead the NFL in receiving at 50-to-1 odds. He's also the fifth most popular bet to lead the league in receiving touchdowns at the same odds. Sutton's props for the upcoming season are set at over/under 62.5 receptions, 925.5 receiving yards and 5.5 touchdowns. Last season, he caught 58 balls for 776 yards and 2 scores.
Randy Gregory is 50-to-1 to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year in his first season with Denver.
Patrick Surtain II is currently the ninth most popular bet to win Defensive Player of the Year at 50-to-1 odds. His over/under for interceptions is set at 3.5 after he had four in his rookie season.
The over/under for Justin Simmons' interceptions is set at 3.5 picks. He's had at least four in three straight seasons.
Nathaniel Hackett is 16-to-1 to win NFL Coach of the Year in his first season with Denver. The former Packers' offensive coordinator is the second most popular bet to win the award behind only Dan Campbell.
Bettors love the Broncos in Russ' return
The "Monday Night Football" schedule kicks off in Week 1 with Russell Wilson making his return to Seattle. Wilson's first ever game not in a Bronco uniform will be against Seattle. Wilson's new team is a 6.5-point road favorite over his old team as expectations are very low in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently, 92% of bets and 95% of the money is backing Denver to cover the 6.5-points as a favorite. If you want to lay less than a touchdown with the Broncos in this game, it's probably best to get this bet in soon as it will likely reach 7 by kickoff.