Broncos get respect from Vegas linemakers

May 23, 2006 12:46 AM

The Denver Broncos are proof that past Super Bowl winners don’t lose their popularity at the gaming window.

The Broncos appear 12 times in the 17-week, 2006 NFL regular season Games of the Year, listed annually at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook.

The GOY concept, which now extends to college football as well, was the brainchild of Jay Kornegay, former boss at the Imperial Palace sports book and now head honcho at LVH’s huge betting venue.

"There are a lot of people that work tireless hours to choose the top betting games and lines," Kornegay said recently. "I’m thankful to have such a great staff and grateful to our loyal customer base that can’t get enough football. It’s by far our biggest moneymaker in the book."

Across the Las Vegas Strip at Caesars Palace, head man Chuck Esposito and staff lists the Broncos at 6-1 to win the 2007 Super Bowl, to be played Feb. 4 in Miami. Those odds are down from an original 8-1. Denver is a 3-1 choice to win the AFC Championship, also down from an opening 4-1.

The Broncos came within a game of the Super Bowl last year, losing 34-17 to eventual champion Pittsburgh in the AFC title game. Denver finished 14-4 overall and a splendid 12-5 against the number. A major reason was its +20 turnover ratio. The Broncos played five straight ”˜over’ games as a road favorite and were a perfect 3-0 ATS a road dog.

Coach Mike Shanahan’s squad figures to again be among the NFL’s best with QB Jake Plummer off his best-ever season, the team drafting a solid backup in Vandy’s Jay Cutler and then signing former Green Bay wideout Javon Walker.

Denver is certainly worthy of GOY stature, favored in nine of those 12 games including dates with Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New England, Seattle, Cincinnati along home and home matchups with Oakland, KC and San Diego.

Early betting glance: The Broncos would seem a go-against in Weeks 3 and 9. Playing at New England the week after facing KC and visiting Pittsburgh the week after hosting Indianapolis are rough assignments. Denver is just a +3 dog in both, a good line for the favorites. Denver is also a heavy -9 favorite, hosting the hated Oakland Raiders in Week 6. That seems too many points to give.