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Over/Under and Money Line Picks for Broncos at Jaguars

Denver Broncos(7-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars(2-9)

  • Where: Everbank Field. Jacksonville, Florida
  • When: December 4, 2016 1:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Broncos -3.5 (-115) vs. Jaguars +3.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Broncos -180 vs. Jaguars +160
  • Over / Under: Over 40 (-110) vs. Under 40 (-110)

**INJURY UPDATE Dec. 2, 2016: Broncos QB Trevor Siemian is out for this game. Rookie QB Paxton Lynch will be starting in his absence. As a result the spread has moved about 2 points in the Jaguars favor (opened Denver -5.5), and the ML has moved from Denver -220 to -180. The article below was written before this injury was reported.

Looking to bounce back from a tough loss, the Denver Broncos attempt to stay in the thick of the playoff race as they travel to Florida to face the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Broncos dropped two games behind the Oakland Raiders for the AFC West lead and a game behind the Chiefs – following their 30-27 overtime loss at home to Kansas City last Sunday night. Denver had taken a 27-24 lead in overtime on a 44-yard field goal by Brandon McManus, but it could not stop Kansas City from tying the game on the ensuing possession, eventually losing after Cairo Santos’ 34-yard boot deflected off the upright and through for the winning points.

The loss, combined with tiebreakers, dropped the Broncos to seventh in the AFC behind the Miami Dolphins for the final wild-card spot. Right now, the Broncos, Dolphins and Chiefs are the frontrunners for the two wild-card slots, but Buffalo and Pittsburgh also lurk one game behind the trio of teams.

Trevor Siemian is coming off a career game, throwing for 368 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. The rookie quarterback has thrown for 909 yards and seven TDs in his last three contests, but the Broncos once-stingy defense has yielded 83 points in those games.

Jacksonville enters this game looking to play the role of spoiler and has dropped six in a row following last Sunday’s 28-21 loss at Buffalo. Blake Bortles threw for 126 yards and two touchdowns and added 81 rushing yards, but he failed in two fourth-quarter opportunities to march the Jaguars for a potential game-tying score.

The Jaguars have lost their last four by a combined 22 points, and last weekend’s loss was especially frustrating since it was the first time they didn’t commit a turnover since beating the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4. Jacksonville’s 22 turnovers are tied with the New York Jets for second-most in the league, trailing only San Diego (23).

Broncos ‘D’ – A Chance to Regroup

One of the reasons the Broncos have struggled defensively of late is their inability to force turnovers consistently. In their losses to Oakland and Kansas City, they failed to force any, and while New Orleans did score 23 points, Denver forced the Saints into four miscues in pulling out a win. The Broncos are third in the NFL with 20 takeaways, and with a mistake-prone team such as the Jaguars (Bortles leads the league with 13 interceptions) this could be an ideal opportunity to restore some swagger to Denver’s defense.

The Jaguars Need to Disrupt Siemian’s Rhythm to Pull the Upset

In addition to being turnover-prone, Jacksonville has lacked an ability to force turnovers all season. The Jags have an NFL-low seven takeaways and scored a league-worst 13 points off them. They have just three interceptions, the last by Yannick Ngakoue in Week 4 versus Indianapolis. In the seven games since, Jacksonville has allowed 1,512 passing yards and seven TDs.

While the pass rush has gotten home of late with eight sacks in the last two contests, the secondary has to carry its share and get some interceptions to give Bortles opportunities on a short field for easy points.

BRONCOS on the Money Line – UNDER 41 Points

This game comes at the perfect time for the reigning Super Bowl champions, who will need wins this week and next week at Tennessee to stay in playoff contention before a challenging final three weeks (New England, Kansas City and Oakland). Denver’s defense should give Bortles fits, and Siemian has played well of late. He should find gaps in coverage to exploit given Jacksonville’s inability to force turnovers.

Additionally, the Jaguars are 0-3 against teams from the West this season, losing by a combined 90-44 margin, and have lost 11 straight to the division since a 38-31 win over the Raiders on Dec. 12, 201o. Eight of those losses have been by double digits, and Jacksonville has scored more than 20 points in just two of those contests.

And lastly, with the AFC South a cumulative 2-10 against the West this season, the recommendation is to take the Broncos on the money line and the UNDER of 41 points at the Bovada Sportsbook.

*Updated pick based on Siemian injury: I expect Denver will cover the -3.5 point spread, but I definitely prefer the Broncos -180 money line in case this comes down to a late field goal. If Lynch doesn’t show improvement in this game it could become a 4th quarter nail-biter.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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