It is rare that NFL inter-conference rivals meet more often in the regular season than the preseason, but that’s exactly the case with the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos. It’s Denver’s first visit to Washington for an exhibition game since playing back-to-back tilts there in 1972-73, when the Redskins were just coming off their first Super Bowl appearance and Denver’s star player was running back Floyd Little. There have been some serious gaps in this series. This is the first game since 2004, and second since 1985.
Denver and Washington have only met six times in the preseason, as opposed to 13 regular-season meetings in which the Broncos hold a 7-6 advantage. But Washington has won two of the three games and three of the last five clashes. Washington is also 3-1 in the last four regular-season games on their home field. The Redskins are 4-2 at home against Denver in the regular season, but even more importantly from a wagering standpoint, Washington is 5-2 against the spread in the last seven games against Denver.
Low Scoring – Preseason games between the Broncos and Redskins certainly have never worn out any of the bulbs on the scoreboard. There was that 1972 exhibition tilt at RFK Stadium in Washington where the Redskins blew out the Broncos 41-0, but that was the exception, not the rule. The last meeting in the 2004 Hall of Fame game was an absolute slugfest, Washington winning 20-17 in the first game other than that 1972 rout to show a total over 30 points. Even factoring the 41-0 game, the average total in six games is 30.
High Scoring – A completely different pattern tends to hold forth when the Broncos and Redskins meet in games that count in the standings. The total has gone over in five of the last seven Broncos-Redskins regular-season games. Last season’s 27-11 Washington win was just off the mark, the total on that game set at 39. But the average total in the three previous Broncos-Redskins regular-season games was 46.6 points per game. The Broncos have averaged 35.5 points in their last four wins over Washington.
Super Rematch – This is one of three games on the NFL’s Week Three preseason slate that is a rematch of a previous Super Bowl. The Redskins crushed the Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII in 1987, setting a Super Bowl record with 35 points scored in the second quarter after spotting Denver at 10-0 lead. There were 12 Super Bowl records set or tied during this game. But what about Super Bowl LIII? Do the Redskins or Broncos stand any chance of getting there?
It would appear not. Bovada lists the Broncos as their 17th betting choice in their Super Bowl LIII future book at +4000. The Redskins are significantly lower down the list, situated at +8500 and Bovada’s 25th betting option to win the Super Bowl. The Broncos are +1500 to win the AFC Championship, while the Redskins are +3500 to capture the NFC title. And over at MyBookie, you can get odds of +55000 on Super Bowl LIII being a Redskins-Broncos showdown.
Chubb’s The Chalk – MyBookie places Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb, the fifth player chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, as the +140 betting favorite to win the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year award this season. At North Carolina State, Chubb finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in sacks and tackles for losses. As for the Redskins’ first-round pick, defensive tackle Daron Payne from NCAA champion Alabama, you can place a wager on him as well, but at odds of +2800 he’s one of the longest shots on the board.
Now Under Center – Both teams are going into the 2018 season with new quarterbacks at their helm. Alex Smith departed from Denver’s AFC West rival in Kansas City and replaced Kirk Cousins in Washington when Cousins opted to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. That pushed Case Keenum out in Minnesota, and he signed up with the Broncos. Both Smith and Keenum led their old teams to postseason berths during the 2017 NFL campaign, but that hasn’t impacted the odds on them doing spectacular things with new teams this season.
Bovada rates both Smith and Keenum at odds of +6000 to win the honors as MVP of the NFL this season. Smith (+3300) is given slightly better odds than Keenum (+4000) of leading the NFL in passing yardage in 2018. BetOnline pegs the total on Smith’s passing yardage at 4149.5. Play the over at +100 or go under at odds of -130. Smith’s TD pass total is set at 24 and you’ll be given odds of -115 whether you play the over or the under. And his interceptions are fixed at 9.5. Those odds are -120 on the over and -110 on the under.
Paper Or Plastic? – Betway is offering a future book wager on who will lead the NFL in quarterback sacks during the 2018 season and one of the top contenders is Broncos linebacker Von Miller. Miller, who was 18th in the league with 10 sacks last season, is the co-fourth betting choice at +1100. He finished among the top 10 in the league in sacks in each of the previous three seasons. In 2016, Miller finished second in the NFL with 13.5 sacks.
Surprisingly, you can get extremely long odds on Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan to finish as the NFL sacks leader in 2018. Kerrigan, who tied for fourth in the league last season with 13 sacks, is posted with odds of +2500 to earn the title this season. None of the three players who finished ahead of him last season are listed with odds higher than +1400. Washington linebacker Preston Smith, who recorded eight sacks last season, is placed on the list at odds of +12500.
You can also get odds on Miller being named the MVP of the NFL at BetOnline, though at +10000 he’s not exactly one of the favorites. Just two defensive players have been named NFL MVP – New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986 and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971. Miller was named the Super Bowl 50 MVP.