Broncos vs Cardinals Odds, Pick, Prediction: NFL Preseason Preview
Broncos vs. Cardinals Preseason Odds
Let’s dive into how the Broncos and Cardinals stack up against each other in this Week 1 NFL preseason game, and then make a betting pick.
The Broncos are coming off a massively disappointing season that saw them go 5-12, missing the over on their win total of 8.5 by four games.
Legendary head coach Sean Payton replaces Nathaniel Hackett, and Payton is already setting the tone as he announced that the Broncos will play their starters in this first preseason game against the Cardinals. Payton stated that the starters will play approximately 15-18 snaps on Friday, so expect to see them on the field for about two series.
We have no substantive edge in terms of Sean Payton’s preseason track record as his teams are 27-27-1 ATS. However, with all of the starters in for a few series, the Broncos should certainly have an edge early in this one. The Broncos have the sixth-most expensive offense heading into the 2023 NFL season as they added right tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Ben Powers to the offensive line. I would expect the starting O-line to dominate as the Cardinals are completely devoid of talent after letting defensive end Zach Allen walk to the Broncos in free agency and losing J.J. Watt to retirement.
Expect Russell Wilson to get 1-2 series at quarterback before a combination of Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci finish the game. Stidham actually started the last two games for the Raiders last year. Against the 49ers in Week 17, he threw for 365 yards and rushed for 34 in a 37-34 overtime loss. He regressed against the Chiefs the following week, but those are two solid defenses, and he should enter this season with confidence from those starts.
DiNucci has a bit less experience as he has only started two games back in 2020 for the Cowboys. Ultimately, the combination of Russ and Stidham should give this Broncos offense a solid floor as these two should be expected to play for at least half the game.
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The Cardinals also failed to meet expectation last year as they won just four games despite having a win total of 8.5.
They enter this season with a bottom-five win total and are widely perceived to be the worst team in the NFL. They brought in new head coach Jonathan Gannon and new general manager Monti Ossenfort, who proceeded to shed bad contracts and stray away from committing any major money to veterans who could improve the roster this season. This is likely a rebuilding year for the Cardinals, but let’s examine how they stack up in this preseason matchup.
We have no data on how Jonathan Gannon historically performs in the preseason nor an idea of how he will approach this game in terms of snap counts for starters and playing time. He has stated that backup quarterback Colt McCoy will pay, but he has refused to commit to an exact snap/quarter count. I would expect Colt McCoy to get a two-series max before a combination of rookie QB Clayton Tune and journeyman David Blough.
I’m excited to watch Clayton Tune as he was an electric player in college at Houston and put up explosive combine numbers with a 4.64 40-yard dash. Tune ran for 600 yards his senior year and is certainly capable of making plays with his legs, which will be key behind a questionable Cardinals offensive line. Jeff Driskel has been a respectable NFL backup and started two games last season with the Texans. The Cardinals definitely have a less talented QB room than the Broncos with Kyler Murray (knee) out, but it will be exciting to see Clayton Tune get some reps.
Broncos vs. Cardinals
Betting Picks & Predictions
The Broncos have committed to playing their starters for about 25% of the game, and Russ should lead this offense to a score in the first quarter. However, that is already being factored into this line, and without knowing Jonathan Gannon’s plan for his starters, it is difficult to fire away on a 5.5-point favorite in a preseason game.
The value here may be on the over as the Broncos have two respectable QBs backing up Russ in Stidham and DiNucci. This Cardinals' first string defensive line will likely get dominated while the Broncos' starters are in, and Payton has enough offensive genius to manufacture points out of Stidham and DiNucci.
On the other side of the ball, expect McCoy/Tune to put up some points to get us over 37.