The NFL betting calendar turns to Week 7 with the Cardinals hosting the Broncos in a Thursday night matchup between desperate teams. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the sports betting odds and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if they don’t respond well in warm-ups.
Week 7 Thursday Night Football Betting
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals NJ Odds
By now Denver’s road struggles should be common knowledge. The Broncos have lost four straight road games and 13 of their last 16 road games. They’ve also failed to cover the spread in 13 of their last 16 on the road and are 1-4-1 against the spread this season.
The once-proud Broncos defense has been eviscerated on the ground, allowing an NFL record 593 rushing yards over a two-game span to the Jets and Rams. Denver ranks 29th in DVOA rush defense and is allowing a league-high 5.6 YPC this season.
Yet the Cardinals may not be able to exploit that weakness. Arizona ranks 32nd in DVOA rush offense. David Johnson is managing only 3.2 YPC this season. Since Josh Rosen took over at QB, however, the Cardinals’ offense has been more effective, and Johnson has earned 20-plus touches in every game. “DJ” is the best option to consider from this game for NFL DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Offensive line health will be an issue for both teams. Cardinals starting RG Justin Pugh broke his hand last week and will either play with a cast or be inactive. Cardinals LG Mike Iupati (back) left the game last Sunday and may be closing in on retirement. Arizona’s tackles are not particularly skilled and should struggle to contain the elite pass-rushing duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
On the Broncos’ side of the ball, RT Jared Veldheer (knee) seems in danger of missing a third straight game. Denver lost arguably its best lineman in LG Ronald Leary (Achilles) for the season, and LT Garett Bolles has been beaten frequently on the outside.
Chandler Jones and company will be able to generate pressure at home. With Jones leading the charge, the Cardinals’ defense has been surging lately. The Cardinals have held opposing QBs to a collective 68.6 passer rating with 13 sacks over their last four games.
Broncos QB Case Keenum has thrown at least one INT in every start this season and taken 13 sacks over his last four starts. Overall, Arizona has allowed 6 passing TDs with 5 INT on the season.
The Broncos (-1.5) have only scored 20-plus points in one of their last 16 road games. Those banking on Denver to cover the spread will hope for a bounce-back effort from a maligned defense that was publicly called out by John Elway this week.
Keenum might struggle to find time, and Demaryius Thomas is likely to be erased by Patrick Peterson. That leaves Emmanuel Sanders as the most viable DFS play in a Broncos uniform since Arizona has been most vulnerable against opposing slot receivers.
Denver will likely look to establish the run by featuring strong-nosed rookie Royce Freeman. While Freeman managed just 22 yards on nine carries last week, he led the Broncos’ backfield committee in playing time (38% of offensive snaps). Philip Lindsay saw more touches (10) and is the better bet for production as a dual threat out of the backfield. He’s averaging 8.1 yards per reception, yet the Broncos often puzzlingly use Devontae Booker as a receiving back.
The Cardinals are allowing a decent 4.4 YPC, but due to the discrepancy in plays run (Arizona’s opponents have run 435 plays to the Cardinals’ 302), they’ve allowed the second-most rushing YPG (151.2) and most rushing TDs (10) this season.
Denver plays at the 10th-fastest pace in the NFL, and Arizona is 25th in neutral situations. While both teams have implemented pass-heavy approaches after frequently falling behind, this profiles as a quick-moving game with a lot of rushes.
Josh Rosen has been an upgrade over an immobile Sam Bradford, but Arizona still ranks 32nd in the drive success rate this year. The Cardinals have tried to add a vertical element in rookie Christian Kirk. Chad Williams is also stepping up while Larry Fitzgerald finally starts to slow down.
The Broncos still have one of the best slot CBs in the game in Chris Harris. But RCB Bradley Roby has struggled, allowing the fourth-most yards (358) of any defensive back this season. Kirk is a decent DFS tournament play and could help Arizona snare the momentum at home with a big play. As the Broncos rank 28th in DVOA pass defense against opposing TEs, Ricky Seals-Jones could also have a productive day.
The matchups seem to favor Arizona (+1.5), and it’s still up in the air how the Broncos will respond after getting crushed last week. The Cardinals are trending upward after opening as the clear-cut worst team in the NFC, and the Broncos are a bit dysfunctional, putting HC Vance Joseph (career 7-14 record) firmly on the hot seat.
It’s surprising to note that over 65 percent of bets and money is coming in on Denver. Taking the Over (42) at such a low point total is tempting but quite risky given the struggles of both offenses. Arizona punter Andy Lee also ranks fifth in the NFL in yards per punt.
Yet the trend on Thursday night is unpredictable special teams plays and defensive turnovers, which could spark each offense by gifting good field positioning. That’s quite possible with good pass rushers on both sides of the ball. With Denver’s road struggles, back to back road games, and the short week, we like Arizona and the points. We’ll give a lean to the Over as well. And as with any 1.5, 2, and 2.5 spread, you could start your week out by teasing this one through the two key numbers.