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  • While the Cardinals have shown signs of life the past few weeks, the Broncos’ season has gone into a tailspin.
By Scott Gramling
October 16, 2018

Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals (+2)

Thu. 10/18, 8:20 p.m. ET

Four things you need to know before betting on Broncos-Cardinals:

1. The Broncos take their four-game losing streak on the road after covering for the first time all season (they're now 1-4-1 against the spread) in Week 6. Denver slipped through the backdoor at home against a Rams team that was favored by seven and led 20-3 with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter, then 23-13 before the Broncos scored a touchdown with 82 seconds remaining in the fourth. Now 2-4, Denver hasn’t won a game outright since a one-point home victory over Oakland in Week 2, which followed a three-point home win over Seattle in the season opener. The Broncos are one of seven NFL teams that has scored an average of 20 points or fewer in 2018, and they’re one of six squads that’s allowing an average of more than 400 total yards per game. The Cardinals are 6-2 straight up and 5-3 against the spread since the start of the 2016 when facing an opponent that’s allowing an average of at least 375 total yards per game.

2. After starting the season with blowout losses of 24-6 to the Redskins and 34-0 to the Rams, Arizona rattled off three consecutive ATS victories before this past Sunday’s push in a 27-17 loss as a 10-point underdog in Minnesota. (There were several Vegas sportsbooks that moved the line to 9.5 less than an hour prior to kickoff.) One of the primary factors in the Cardinals being far more competitive in recent weeks—Arizona’s point differential is minus-5 over its past four games—has been turnovers. After a minus-3 turnover margin that included seven giveaways over the season’s first three weeks, the Cardinals are plus-4 in the turnover department over their past three contests. The team’s quarterback play has also improved. Rookie Josh Rosen, who replaced Sam Bradford late in Arizona’s 16-14 Week 3 home loss to Chicago, is coming off a game in which he completed 68% of his pass attempts in the loss to Minnesota.

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3. While Denver’s quarterback play has been better with Case Keenum under center this season than it had been with the likes of Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler the past couple of years, the fact that the Broncos come into this game with a 3-13 mark (both straight up and against the spread) over their past 16 road games is hard to ignore. The one and only instance in those 13 losses that Denver surpassed 20 points was in the team’s 51-23 loss at Philadelphia last November, a game the Broncos trailed 44-9 with less than 10 minutes remaining. The past six times Denver has played on the road when coming off a loss, the Broncos are 0-6 while being outscored by an average of 18 points per game.

4. The Cardinals come into this one with the NFL’s least productive rushing offense (64 rushing yards per game on 3.2 yards per carry), but Denver is 0-6 against the spread against teams that rush for an average of 90 or fewer yards per game since Vance Joseph took over as the team’s head coach prior to last season. (The Broncos have been outscored by an average of more than 14 points per game over those six contents.) Arizona is 4-1 against the spread over its past five home games while holding opponents to an average of 13.4 points per game over the five contests.

Pick: Arizona +2

Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)

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