It was Brock Osweiler’s decision to leave Denver. He was neither pushed out nor traded, but he was benched during the Broncos’ run to the Super Bowl last season, and he surely wants to prove a point.
Osweiler was paid well — probably overpaid, if $72 million seems like too much for a mediocre quarterback — to ditch Denver for a richer free-agent deal with the Houston Texans. His exit was abrupt and surprising, and his homecoming Monday night is not going to be celebrated.
Revenge might not be the appropriate theme. Still, when Osweiler faces his former team, each side will be highly motivated to punish the other. The Broncos are 8½-point favorites over the Texans, and the total is 40½.
“Sharp money was on the Broncos at 6½ and 7,” Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay said.
Las Vegas bookmakers are seeing a flood of money on the favorite, with a majority of bettors anticipating the Denver defense will convincingly win the grudge match.
“We’re rooting for the Texans big time,” Mirage sports book manager Jeff Stoneback said.
The Broncos, 4-2 straight up and against the spread, are motivated to stop a two-game losing skid. Denver’s offense has sputtered behind young quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, but its Von Miller-led defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL against the pass and leads the league with 21 sacks.
“Defense carried Denver to the Super Bowl title,” Las Vegas handicapper Mark Franco said, “and I look for the Broncos to be in Osweiler’s face most of the night.”
Franco (FrancoSports.com) is betting against the Texans, who are 0-2 on the road, losing at Minnesota and New England by a combined 45 points.
Osweiler has struggled in his first six starts for the Texans, passing for eight touchdowns with eight interceptions. The Houston defense, meanwhile, misses the pressure that injured J.J. Watt used to put on quarterbacks.
The pressure is now on Osweiler, who hopes his homecoming turns out better than Sam Bradford’s return to Philadelphia in Week 7.
Pick: Broncos (-8½)
Contact sports betting reporter Matt Youmans at email@example.com or 702-387-2907. Follow on Twitter: @mattyoumans247
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