The San Diego Chargers kept alive one playoff betting trend and a bizarre Super Bowl trend last weekend when they upset the Cincinnati Bengals.
The win pushed San Diego's playoff road record to 4-1 against the spread in recent years and kept them alive in the playoffs, where the weirdest pattern of all time remains in play.
The past four seasons, the team that played in Philadelphia's home opener inexplicably went on to win the Super Bowl. The Chargers are looking to repeat Baltimore's path to last year's championship by pulling off consecutive road upsets, but San Diego faces yet another big favorite in the AFC Divisional round Sunday.
The Denver Broncos are 7-2 SU and ATS over their last nine games, but one of those two losses came against the Chargers. The Broncos were sitting as a 10-point favorite in early betting at most sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
[ Broncos vs Chargers Computer Prediction: 37-29 Denver ]
Since October 15 of 2012, the Denver Broncos are 24-4 SU and 19-10 ATS, making them one of the NFL's most consistent and dominant teams. Peyton Manning reached new heights this season, setting NFL records with 5,477 passing yards and 55 passing touchdowns while leading the team to an incredible 37.9 points per game.
With Wes Welker returning from injury this week, the Broncos offense becomes that much more dangerous moving forward. After losing 38-35 as a nine-point home favorite to Baltimore in the postseason last year, Denver will be focused on not letting history repeat itself this Sunday.
The San Diego Chargers have suddenly emerged as a legitimate contender. With a 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS record over their last five games including last week's outright upset on the road against Cincinnati and an outright road upset of Denver in Week 15, San Diego has established that it can compete with anyone.
The Chargers forced four turnovers against the Bengals while not turning the ball over at all on their end, winning the second half 20-0 to walk away with a 27-10 victory.
Going into the Week 15 matchup between these two AFC West rivals, the Denver Broncos were 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four games against San Diego. However, the Chargers won the regular season matchup in Denver 27-20, holding Denver to its lowest offensive tally of the season.
Both meetings between these two teams went UNDER this year despite the total going OVER in 11 of Denver's other 14 games.
Denver's defense has struggled all season, allowing 24.9 points per game. This has hardly mattered thanks to a record-setting offense. The recipe for success in this game has already been played out by San Diego this year; disrupt the Denver offense and take advantage of the weak defense.
With that said, containing Peyton Manning and this offense is much easier said than done, and the Broncos have undoubtedly been using their week off to prepare for this potential matchup.
Broncos vs Chargers betting trends: (from Odds Shark NFL odds database)
Chargers are 6-1-1 ATS past eight visits to Denver.
Chargers are 4-1 ATS past five playoff road games.
Chargers are 6-2-1 ATS past nine games as underdog of nine or more points.
OVER is 10-2-1 past 13 Denver home games.
Broncos are 2-6 ATS past eight playoff games.
OVER is 6-1 past seven Denver playoff games.
UNDER is 7-2 past nine San Diego playoff games.
Chargers are 6-1 ATS past seven on road vs divisional foes.
Broncos are 14-2 SU, 11-5 ATS past 16 games vs divisional foes.