Broncos at Chiefs: NFL Betting Trends After Firing a Coach

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Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett looks on against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Dec 28, 2022, 10:18 AM

On Dec. 12, 2010 – six days after the dismissal of head coach Josh McDaniels – the Denver Broncos failed to cover the spread (-4) in a Week 14 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Eric Studesville’s first game as interim head coach.

Twelve years later, against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17 this season, current Broncos’ interim coach Jerry Rosburg – elevated after Nathaniel Hackett’s dismissal on Monday, Dec. 26 –  will now attempt to do what Studesville couldn’t do 12 years ago: win and/or cover in his team’s first game after a coaching change.

Nathaniel Hackett is the 35th NFL head coach since 2003 fired before the end of the season. In the previous 34 instances, the team won the first game 16 times (16-18) and covered 18 times (18-16), according to Action Network’s Bet Labs.

YearTeamFired CoachOpponentSpreadMLATS
2022ColtsFrank Reichat Raiders+4.5WW
2022PanthersMatt Rhuleat Rams+10LL
2021JaguarsUrban Meyervs. Texans-6LL
2021RaidersJon Grudenat Broncos+5WW
2020TexansBill O'Brienvs. Jaguars-6.5WW
2020FalconsDan Quinnat Vikings+3.5WW
2019PanthersRon Riveraat Falcons+3.5LL
2019RedskinsJay Grudenat Dolphins-6WL
2018PackersMike McCarthyvs. Falcons-4WW
2018BrownsHue Jacksonvs. Chiefs+7.5LL
2017GiantsBen McAdoovs. Cowboys+4LL
2016JaguarsGus Bradleyvs. Titans+4WW
2016BillsRex Ryanvs. Jets+2.5LL
2016RamsJeff Fisherat Seahawks+15LL
2015EaglesChip Kellyat Giants+4WW
2015TitansKen Whisenhuntat Saints+7.5WW
2015DolphinsJoe Philbinat Titans+2.5WW
2014RaidersDennis Allenvs. Chargers+7.5LW
2011ChiefsTodd Haleyvs. Packers+11WW
2011DolphinsTony Sparanoat Bills-1.5WW
2011JaguarsJack Del Riovs. Chargers+3LL
201049ersMike Singletaryvs. Cardinals-6WW
2010BroncosJosh McDanielsat Cardinals-4LL
2010CowboysWade Phillipsat Giants+11.5WW
2010VikingsBrad Childressat Redskins-1WW
2009BillsDick Jauronat Jaguars+9LW
200849ersMike Nolanvs. Seahawks-5LL
2008RaidersLane Kiffinat Saints+7LL
2008RamsScott Linehanat Redskins+12WW
2007FalconsBobby Petrinoat Bucs+13LL
2005LionsSteve Mariuccivs. Vikings+3LL
2004BrownsButch Davisvs. Patriots+11.5LL
2004DolphinsDave Wannstedtat Seahawks+9.5LW
2003FalconsDan Reevesat Giants+8LL

The moneyline win rate of 47% is dramatically better than the team’s season winning percentage before that game. Those teams were collectively winning approximately 27% of their games before the coaching change.

And the ATS win rate of 53% is higher than the 37% ATS win rate before the change.

Broncos vs. Chiefs Prediction

The spread for the Broncos-Chiefs game – currently 13.5 in BetMGM’s NFL odds – is the second-biggest in the last 20 years for the first game of an interim coach’s tenure. Only the Rams in 2016 – +15 at the Seattle Seahawks – under interim coach John Fassel were a bigger underdog.

Underdogs of at least 10 points are on an eight-game moneyline losing streak entering Week 17 after going 4-5 from Week 6 through Week 10. The Broncos won’t end that skid on Sunday and hand the Chiefs their first outright loss since 2020 when favored by at least 10 points.

And I don’t think they’ll become the 19th team since 2003 to cover in the first game after the dismissal of a head coach.

Chiefs 31, Broncos 13

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.