Broncos vs. Panthers Odds, Spread, Preview: NFL Week 12 Predictions

Broncos vs. Panthers Week 12 matchup preview and current betting lines

The Denver Broncos (3-7) and Carolina Panthers (3-8) are set to meet in a game that could make some history. With the NFL Week 12 odds setting the total at 36 points, this could be the lowest total of any NFL game in the last 10 seasons that takes place prior to Week 16.

The Panthers are turning back to Sam Darnold, their 2021 starter, for his first start of 2022. That obviously hasn’t triggered much faith in this offense as it takes on a great defense from Denver that allows 17.1 points per game.

But the Broncos stunningly average a league-low 14.7 points per game behind Russell Wilson. While Wilson missed one game, the fact is the Broncos have failed to score 17 points in eight of their first 10 games. Here are the last 10 teams and their primary quarterback who failed to score 17 points in at least eight of their first 10 games since 2002:

  • 2002 Cowboys: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Quincy Carter)
  • 2004 Redskins: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Mark Brunell)
  • 2005 Ravens: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Anthony Wright)
  • 2007 49ers: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Alex Smith)
  • 2008 Rams: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Marc Bulger)
  • 2009 Raiders: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB JaMarcus Russell)
  • 2010 Panthers: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Jimmy Clausen)
  • 2011 Jaguars: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Blaine Gabbert)
  • 2011 Rams: 9-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Sam Bradford)
  • 2022 Broncos: 8-of-10 games under 17 points (QB Russell Wilson)

Never would have imagined Wilson would wind up on a list with JaMarcus Russell, Jimmy Clausen, and Blaine Gabbert, but here we are, Broncos Country.

The NFL Week 12 odds have the Broncos as a 2.5-point road favorite with a total of 36 points. Can Wilson at least get a road win over Darnold?

Players to watch in the Broncos vs. Panthers game

Denver Broncos

Latavius Murray: The Broncos keep losing running backs to injury or cutting them in Melvin Gordon’s case. Gordon fumbled way too often in big spots, so it looks like the lead job could go to Murray, who has had some solid stops in his career over the years. But he is likely the lesser back in this game compared to D’Onta Foreman on the other side.

Carolina Panthers

D.J. Moore: Can we see Moore get back to producing numbers like a No. 1 wide receiver again? He never seemed to warm up to the idea of Baker Mayfield as the starter, and the coaching staff never seemed content with letting P.J. Walker throw. So, we’ll see if Darnold can rekindle some of the instant chemistry he had with Moore last season.
Broncos vs. Panthers prediction

Our Best NFL Bets for the Broncos vs. Panthers game

We have two NFL Week 12 predictions for this expectedly low-scoring affair.

Broncos vs. Panthers Point Spread Pick: Broncos -1 (-120)

The Broncos vs. Panthers spread opened with the Broncos as a 3.5-point road favorite before moving significantly to Broncos -1 at some sportsbooks like Caesars. So, if you are on Denver’s side, that is a great spot to play it as many are still showing Denver -2.5 as we go into the weekend.

Why like Denver after the team has disappointed so much? Well, the Panthers just scored a field goal in Baltimore last week. Darnold against a top-tier defense doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence either.

But the real reason to pick Denver is that you know the game will be close in the fourth quarter as all 10 Denver games have been this season. But with the Panthers and Darnold, this is the case where the Broncos should absolutely have the edge in the fourth quarter with Wilson.

It’s not like you’d be surprised in 2019-21 to hear that a Ryan Tannehill (Titans) or Derek Carr (Raiders) got the best of a Wilson-led team in a close game. That easily could have happened and did happen in Tennessee’s case in overtime in 2021.

But Darnold and the Panthers? They can bench Mayfield and fire Matt Rhule, but the fact is Carolina is 0-6 at game-winning drive opportunities this season. They were 0-16 under Rhule in his tenure.

Darnold is 4-13 (.235) in his career at game-winning drive opportunities. Wilson is only 3-6 with Denver this year, but at least he is 39-49-1 (.444) in his career. Darnold is also 2-25 when he leads his team to fewer than 19 points in a start.

The Raiders are the only team to break 20 points (twice) on the Broncos this year. We’ll trust the defense and Wilson just enough to get over the hump and beat Darnold in his debut here for your NFL bet of the week.

You can visit our NFL picks page for more betting tips.

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Total: Under 36.5 Points (-112)

We will have to see where the total line closes in this game, but 36 at many sportsbooks is quite the sight in 2022. This just doesn’t happen anymore unless it’s the end of the season and deep backups are playing.

There was a 2019 game between the Steelers and Ravens with a total of 35 points with the Ravens resting starters for the playoffs. The last game with a total this low excluding any playoff rest scenario also involved Russell Wilson, but it was his 2014 Seahawks taking on awful backup quarterback Ryan Lindley and the Arizona Cardinals. The total for that game was 36 and the Seahawks won 35-6.

Remember when Wilson could score that much? It’s not going to happen this week, but I do think these teams will flirt with a number right on the line. Maybe it’s a 17-16 finish or even on the line at 20-16.

Of course, that would require one of these teams to score 20 points. The Broncos have at least done it twice on the road this year. Darnold has led his team to more than 17 points in almost half of his career starts (24-of-49).

Darnold was held to these point totals in his last five starts with Carolina: 3, 19, 6, 10, and 17.

Yeah, let’s just stick with the absurdly low under to hit in this one. If you want to hedge it, play the over and a defensive touchdown because that’s probably the only way it’s going to happen.

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Frequently asked questions about the Broncos vs. Panthers game in Week 12

The game is being played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Including the playoffs, Wilson is 7-2 against Carolina and has not played there since the 2019 season. Wilson has scored at least 30 points in his last three starts against Carolina (all wins), but expect something closer to his first three Carolina starts where he was 3-0 despite only scoring 12-to-16 points with Seattle.

You can find more at our player prop picks and daily NFL predictions.