The Denver Broncos were favored to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by 28 points when opening lines were posted by the Las Vegas Hotel Sunday.
According to The Gold Sheet, that ties the record for a line set by the Baltimore Colts over the Atlanta Falcons in 1966. The Falcons covered the point spread. The Gold Sheet is a betting publication that has been tracking spreads since the 1950s.
The Broncos-Jaguars line is the highest since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The teams meet this Sunday in Denver.
"The Jaguars are just so awful and the interest in betting on the Broncos has been pretty consistent," Jay Kornegay, who runs the sports book at the Las Vegas Hotel, told ESPN the Magazine Sunday night. "There's a group of us here who put together the lines for each week and it took us 10-15 minutes to debate what this number would be. Some folks didn't feel that good about making history with this."
The Jaguars have a minus-112-point differential, tied for second-worst in NFL history though five games. The 1971 Philadelphia Eagles were 11 points worse.
Jacksonville lost to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season by 28 points. Seattle was favored by nearly 20 points.
No spread has come close to the Broncos-Jaguars' 28 points since the second half of the 2007 season when the New England Patriots were favored by more than 20 points three times. In each case, the underdog covered the spread. New England was favored by 24 points over the Philadelphia Eagles, 20 1/2 over the New York Jets and 22 against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season and reached the Super Bowl, but were 2-8 against the spread.
"The Pats were a nightmare for us in every way," Kornegay said. "At first we couldn't stop losing because everyone was on them and they covered. Then once they didn't cover all the money kept coming in against them. There was nothing we could do."