What is wrong with Russell Wilson?

Breaking Down Russell Wilson’s Mile-High Trainwreck

This year, letting Russ cook has produced some unsavory flavors.

When the Denver Broncos landed franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, nobody could’ve predicted career lows across the board. Through 12 weeks, the 34-year-old still doesn’t look comfortable — his 58.9 percent completion rate is the worst of his career, as is his 82.3 quarterback rating. 

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Wilson’s struggles have been contagious, too, as the rest of the offense has stagnated. No team has scored fewer points than the Broncos (157). Denver currently averages just 14.3 points per game, which ranks dead last in the NFL and represents the lowest PPG average since the 2000 Cleveland Browns. Yuck.

But it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. This offseason, Denver fans were ecstatic when their club reeled in what was supposed to be their first franchise QB since Peyton Manning. Instead, the Broncos got an overpaid, underperforming locker-room distraction who has led them to a 3-8 record. 

We’ll break down the whole Russell Wilson saga, including our master plan on how to profit off his failures, in just a moment. First, though, be sure to check out our other NFL sites, like the NFL MVP odds or our popular analyses on the top weekly fantasy football players and NFL snap counts.

Additionally, if you’re unsure how to wager on football, check out our How to Bet on the NFL page. 

The Beginning Of The End

The Russell Wilson Trade

Back in March, the Broncos landed their man, but, boy, the cost stung. 

Broncos get:
•    QB Russell Wilson
•    2022 fourth-round draft pick (became DT Eyioma Uwazurike)

Seahawks get:
•    QB Drew Lock
•    TE Noah Fant
•    DL Shelby Harris
•    No. 9 pick in 2022 draft (became OT Charles Cross)
•    First-round pick in 2023
•    No. 40 pick in 2022 draft (became DE Boye Mafe)
•    Second-round pick in 2023

Even if Wilson returned to peak form, this was still an overpay. Obviously, he didn’t, meaning the Broncos blew up their offense and mortgaged their future to play worse in 2022-23. 

Don’t worry, though, Wilson has — *checks notes* — an average cap hit of $28.5 million through 2024. Of course, that dead money increases as he gets older. Wilson’s cap hit exceeds the $50-million mark in 2025 and continues at that rate until 2028. Well played, Denver. You guys nailed it. Just dandy stuff. 

Wilson’s Early MVP Odds

At the start, everyone was fooled. Wilson was a dark horse on everyone’s MVP list. He’d never won an MVP before, but the move to Denver was bound to spark something. 

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When he was traded from Seattle to Denver, Wilson’s MVP odds moved from +3000 to +1500. By September 8, he was around +1400. Now, in Week 13, he’s not even listed on oddsboards.

Nathaniel Hackett, the Broncos’ ingenious new head coach, was +1600 to win Coach of the Year. Like Wilson, Hackett is no longer listed on oddsboards.

What Happened To Russell Wilson?

The Antics

While his on-field struggles mounted, Wilson did himself no favors off the field. He kicked off his tenure in Denver with some bizarre Subway ads. He told reporters that his “wolverine blood” would help him recover from his injuries. When the Broncos flew to London, he reportedly did high-knee drills in the aisles of the plane. 

The antics have worn his teammates down. Veteran defensive lineman Mike Purcell snapped at Wilson on the sidelines a week ago. It’s at the point where opponents are now mocking Wilson’s zen-like pre-game rituals. Just a disaster all around.

The Rise Of Geno Smith

Naturally, Wilson’s misery was juxtaposed with the rise of Geno Smith, who assumed the QB job in Seattle. While Russ’ Broncos stumbled, Smith’s Seahawks soared. Seattle is now 6-5 through 12 weeks and Smith (19) has thrown for over twice as many touchdowns as Wilson (8). 

How To Profit Off Russell Wilson

Crush Broncos UNDERs, Fade Them At Home

Denver is the most reliable UNDER team in football, with the Broncos’ points total going UNDER in 10 of 11 games (the one OVER came in Week 4 vs Las Vegas). Even as sportsbooks caught on to the Broncos’ complete lack of scoring ability by bumping the O/U thresholds down a touch, Wilson’s crew has still delivered on the UNDER. Denver is also 3-0 on the UNDER in prime-time games

The second leg of fading Denver centers on their struggles ATS. On the season, the Broncos are 3-8 ATS. They fail more frequently at home, however, going 1-4 ATS. Whether it’s the thin air or the pressure of a displeased fan base, the Broncos have scored just four touchdowns in five games at Empower Field. 

Russell Wilson Prop Bets

Fading Russ on touchdowns has been the most consistent prop pick. Wilson’s passing touchdown line regularly closes at O/U 1.5. This season, his passing TDs have gone UNDER in nine of his 10 games. He’s thrown for less than two TDs in five straight, and there’s no evidence to suggest he’ll suddenly start hitting OVERs.

The TDs are the most consistent prop trend for Wilson, but there’s also some value in the O/U passing attempts market. Russ has hit the OVER on attempts in three consecutive weeks and is 5-4 on the OVER this season. Since the running game is drained — Javonte Williams is out with an injury and Melvin Gordon was released — Wilson is airing it out more, hitting the 30 passing attempts milestone in four straight. 

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