Positive COVID-19 Test Has Little Impact On Denver Broncos-Los Angeles Chargers Line


An announcement from the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday regarding a positive COVID-19 test by a Chargers player only triggered slight line movements for a Week 8 AFC West divisional matchup against the Denver Broncos.

The line moved a half-point in the Broncos’ favor on Thursday morning following a report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on the positive test. After receiving notice of the positive test late Wednesday night, the Chargers immediately notified the player, who then entered self-quarantine, the team said in a statement. At 11:28 a.m. ET, the line dropped a half-point to Chargers -2.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook. Roughly one minute later, the line at DraftKings also fell by a half-point to Chargers -3 (-110).

By 2:09 p.m. ET, the line at FanDuel returned to Chargers -3. In between, multiple reports surfaced that the player who tested positive is offensive guard Ryan Groy. In four games in 2020, Groy has three starts in replacement of right guard Trai Turner. Despite the reports, the line at DraftKings remained unchanged. The Chargers later placed Groy on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday afternoon.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the sports betting industry over the first half of the NFL season, forcing sportsbook operators to adjust lines on the fly when prominent players such as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton record a positive test.

Rebounding from lopsided defeat

The Broncos shocked many with an 18-12 upset victory at New England in Week 6. Any momentum from the win, however, stalled last Sunday following an embarrassing 43-16 defeat to the division-rival Chiefs. The Broncos surrendered two touchdowns on a kickoff return and an interception return in the double-digit loss.

The loss drops Denver (2-4) to a three-way tie for 10th in the AFC standings with the Chargers and the Patriots. The Broncos and Chargers are scheduled to face each other again on Dec. 27 in Los Angeles. The Broncos can ill afford to drop an AFC West matchup in consecutive weeks, with playoff tiebreakers on the line.

Broncos-Chargers lines, as of Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET

FanDuel+3 (-110)-3 (-110)44.5 (-114)44.5 (-106)
DraftKings+3.5 (-125)-3.5 (+102)44.5 (-107)44.5 (-114)
BetMGM+3 (+100)-3 (-120)44.5 (-110)44.5 (-110)
Circa Sports+3 (-115)-3 (-105)44.5 (-110)44.5 (-110)
William Hill+3 (+100)-3 (-120)44.5 (-110)44.5 (-110)

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock went 24-of-40 for 254 yards in the loss to the Chiefs. Sidelined for two games with a shoulder injury, Lock has just one touchdown along with four interceptions on the season. With Lock in the lineup, the Broncos have yet to score more than 21 points in a game this year. At FanDuel, a wager on the Broncos’ total points of over 20.5 points will pay -116, while the under has odds of -106.

Challenges in containing Herbert

The Broncos will get their first look at Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, the current favorite at FanDuel to capture NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Through five games, Herbert has thrown for 1,542 yards with a completion percentage of 67.4%. Herbert, a first-round pick from Oregon, has also passed for 12 touchdowns, with only three interceptions.

FanDuel lists Herbert as the overwhelming favorite to win the award, with odds of -175. Herbert is followed by Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (+220), Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (+1200) and Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (+2000).

Now trailing the Chiefs by 3.5 games, the Broncos remain a longshot to win the AFC West. The Broncos have odds of 100/1 to win the division at BetMGM, behind the Chiefs (-2000), Raiders (+1100), and Chargers (+4000).


Matt is a veteran writer with a specific focus on the emerging sports gambling market. During Matt's two decade career in journalism, he has written for the New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, Reuters and CBSSports.com among others. In his spare time, Matt is an avid reader, a weekend tennis player and a frequent embarrassment to the sport of running.

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