Denver is a dismal 1-4 against the spread over its last five games, playing below expectations. Arizona, meanwhile, isn’t doing any better in the win column but at least it’s making money, going 3-0-1 ATS its last four times out. Who’s the better bet for Thursday’s Broncos-Cardinals battle?
NFL point spread: The Broncos opened as two-point favorites; the total was 40.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 23.1-20.4 Broncos (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Broncos can cover the spread
Denver started 2-0 this season but now seeks to stop a four-game losing skid after falling at home last week to the 6-0 Rams 23-20. The Broncos trailed Los Angeles at the half 13-3 and 20-3 in the third quarter, twice pulled to within one score but could not complete the comeback.
However, Denver did cover the spread as a seven-point home dog.
On the day, the Broncos got beat on the stat sheet, but what really hurt was a taunting penalty in the first quarter that probably cost Denver four points, two other penalties that took the Broncos out of field-goal range and an interception in Rams territory that cost them another shot at points.
So Denver has played two of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl this season, the Rams and Chiefs, and lost to them by a total of seven points.
Why the Cardinals can cover the spread
Arizona is looking to bounce back this week from a 27-17 loss at Minnesota last week. The Cardinals actually drew first blood with an early field goal, and only trailed 13-10 at halftime. They then gave up the first 14 points out of the locker room to fall out of contention but scored on a David Johnson touchdown with seven minutes left and ended up pushing the spread as 10-point dogs.
On the day, Arizona also got beat on the stat sheet but what really hurt was an early fumble that led to a Vikings field goal, two plays that came up empty from the Minnesota 1-yard line and two later drives that ended inside Vikings territory without points.
Then again, Minnesota can be a tough place to play, especially for a rookie quarterback.
Two weeks ago the Cardinals and their rookie QB picked up their first win of this season, 28-18 over San Francisco. Just before that Arizona lost to Seattle 20-17 but covered getting 3.5 points. And just before that the Cardinals lost to Chicago 16-14 but covered at plus-5.5. So Arizona has been keeping games close as of late.
Smart betting pick
Despite recent its performance, Denver is still the better team here, playing on the road against a short spread. So the Broncos are the better bet.
NFL betting trends
The Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs the Cardinals.
The total has gone over in the Broncos’ last seven games vs the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games at home after covering in their most recent home game.
All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagramor head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.