Why The Broncos-Jaguars Game Has The Largest Point-Spread In NFL History

Chad Henne and Peyton Manning

In what may be the most lopsided game in the Super Bowl era of the NFL, the Broncos will play the Jaguars this weekend in a game that opened with Denver as a 28-point favourite.

There are a number of reasons, both on and off the field, as to why the sportsbooks gave this game the largest point-spread in the NFL since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

The goal of a point spread is to try and balance the amount of money being bet on both sides and not necessarily to predict the final margin of victory. According to Chad Millman of ESPN.com, the point spread in this particular game is so high because not only are gamblers betting a lot on the Broncos this season, they are also betting heavily against the Jaguars. So if the sportsbooks want people betting on the Jags and against the Broncos, they had to set the bar absurdly high.

So far it is working. According to Pregame.com, only 51% of the bets so far have been on the Broncos.

Still, even though the sportsbooks set the bar so unusually high, there are still plenty of reasons on the field to think the Broncos will win by more than four touchdowns and why half of the gamblers still think the Denver can cover the spread.

Here is a tale of the tape that shows why the Broncos are such overwhelming favourites (rank in parentheses; Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempts is Yards per Attempt adjusted for interceptions, giving a better representation of how good the passing game really is)…

Denver Broncos vs Jacksonvill Jaguars

Data via Pro-Football-Reference.com