The Chargers’ 2023 season of abject misery is almost over, the sweet mercy of the offseason is therefore inching closer to give this team a well needed reset. Before the future can be set, there are two football games to be played and boy will this Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos be an interesting one. In case you have been living under a rock, Sean Payton and the Broncos decided to bench a healthy Russell Wilson to maintain his value ahead of next season. They acquired the former star quarterback less than two seasons ago and it has been a disastrous maneuver which, it seems, they are willing to take a huge dead cap hit to get out of.
Not only does this mean that we will be witnessing Easton Stick vs. Jarrett Stidham, but all of Keenan Allen, Cortland Sutton and Joshua Palmer have been ruled out leaving both teams very short on offense. Whilst I think it is safe to say a national audience will not be tuning into this one, I also see this as a brilliant opportunity to use our roster knowledge to beat the bookies. DraftKings Sportsbook has some generous odds on many markets but here are a few of my preferred prop bets.
Over 60 Receiving Yards, Gerald Everett (+230)
The Chargers’ tight end, Gerald Everett, has quickly become a favorite target of Easton Stick since he took over as starter, seeing eight targets per game for an average of 40 yards. Last week I chose an ambitious market to expose at higher odds however my prediction that he would have success against a poor tackling linebacker did come true and I like him to repeat that tonight. His matchup this time, Alex Singleton, leads the league in missed tackles with 27 and he struggles in pass coverage with the worst grade for any linebacker with significant coverage snaps.
The Bolts are down their first three receiving options and this means the Broncos’ lockdown corner, Patrick Surtain II, will be attempting to shut down the rookie Quinten Johnston who has been prematurely pushed into being the number one receiver despite his inexperience. So when you add this additional context to this prop bet, it seems too good to pass up on.
Anytime Touchdown Scorer, Lil’Jordan Humphrey (+330)
The Chargers’ got exposed by a big, strong wide receiver last week when Gabe Davis tore off 130 yards and a score (congratulations if you chose to follow my advice on the +950 prop bet that cashed in with plenty to spare) and I am thinking there is no reason to think the Broncos won’t look for similar success. Lil’Jordan is a huge target for Jarett Stidham to find standing at 6’4, 225 pounds so I think he can match the most of his outside matchups in Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis, both of whom have proven they struggle to compete at the catch point.
Humphrey saw a season high four targets and a touchdown in his last game against the Detroit Lions and with Denver missing their top receiving threat in Cortland Sutton, I expect his redzone target share to only go up even higher. Sutton has a league leading eight redzone touchdowns and his production needs to be replaced somehow, maybe it should be the guy the exact same size as him.
Most Rushing Yards, Isaiah Spiller (+2500)
Now for a proper gamble! The Chargers’ 2023 season is well and truly over, and with it goes Austin Ekeler’s time in LA. The contract negotiations that took place back in August seem a distant memory now and it has been pretty clear for a long time that he will not be back unless the new regime sees something the rest of us do not. Joshua Kelley’s contract is up too and he hasn’t shown enough to be welcomed back either. Therefore the last man standing is Isaiah Spiller, the man I have wanted to get more of a look in since he was drafted in 2022. He has shown some real nice footwork in preseason games but he has failed to take away touches from Austin Ekeler only surpassing seven carries once, in the blowout loss to the Raiders and that is why this is a long shot as the odds on offer prove. However the Chargers absolutely need to test out what he has to offer with a higher touch volume and this could be the game to finally see it happen.
I am also backing this because of the lack of rushing success the Broncos had against the Chargers last time, they may have managed 106 yards but 46 of those yards came on the fourth quarter touchdown drive with the game already won. Also, Sean Payton’s men will be seeing more stacked boxes against a static backup quarterback than they did with Russell Wilson moving around.
What bets are you placing, Bolts From the Blue?