The Denver Broncos will visit the Cleveland Browns in the Week 7 edition of Thursday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.
The Browns were expected to take a leap and emerge as one of the NFL’s elite this season. However, while they’ve flashed potential at times, they are not there yet.
For the Broncos, they got off to a terrific 3-0 start but have descended back down to Earth since. In that undefeated run, they beat up on both New York teams and the Jaguars. The regression was expected (or should have been if you were seeing through unbiased eyes).
In a game featuring two run-centric teams — the Browns more so than the Broncos — and a pair of above-average defenses, we should be in store for a slow-paced, low-scoring matchup on Thursday Night Football.
For in-depth analysis and extended betting tips for TNF Week 7, read on for the latest installment in the TNF football predictions series.
Thursday Night Football Prediction Week 7
Thursday Night Football’s matchup features a battle of the beaten… ups. Both the Broncos and Browns enter the game full of injuries, more so, the latter.
While Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (foot) is questionable, but expected to play through a foot injury, stud tight end Noah Fant, also dealing with an injured foot, is good to go.
For the Browns, their injury concerns are much more dire. Arguably their top three offensive assets, quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder), and running backs Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf) were all ruled out ahead of the game with their respective injuries.
And it doesn’t stop there. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) and right tackle Jack Conklin (knee) are true game-time calls and may be on the wrong side of active designations.
The Browns do have some good news on the injury front, however. There’s a good chance that both wide receiver Jarvis Landry (knee) and left tackle Jedrick Wills (ankle) are active.
Case Keenum will start at quarterback for the Browns in lieu of Mayfield.
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The Browns and Broncos are two teams with a lot in common. At full health, they would have matched up well. Although the Browns are the “sexier” team so to speak, the Broncos are tough and gritty, taking on the identity of their head coach, Vic Fangio.
Head-to-head, the offensive advantage typically would go to Cleveland. The Browns are one of the top teams in points, total yards, and total rushing, but with all of the injuries and Keenum under center on a short week, it’s hard to know what the Cleveland offense will look like.
Meanwhile, the Broncos can hold their own when it comes to running the ball, ranking among the top 12. However, they are also a back-half team across the board in the other primary offensive statistical categories. Denver relies on its strong defense and positive turnover differential to grind out wins.
While both teams deploy top-end units in total yards allowed, the Broncos are surrendering nearly a touchdown less per game than the Browns. Denver’s defense is smothering, and could really take advantage of Keenum in this spot.
Look for the Broncos to win an ugly, hard-fought battle on Thursday night.
TNF Week 7 Pick: Denver Broncos 20, Cleveland Browns 17
Thursday Night Football Betting Trends for 2021
- The Over is 2-4, with the Under hitting in four straight.
- The Underdog is 3-3 Against the Spread.
- The Favorite is 6-0 on the Moneyline.
- The Home Team is 3-3.
*Anthony Cervino is 17-4 on his NFL Best Bets for 2021 for The Game Day.
Thursday Night Football Best Bets Week 7
*NFL gameday odds and lines are current as of Thursday, October 21 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
TNF Best Bet: Broncos +1.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.75 Units
This game could very well be decided by a point, which is why I like Denver getting 1.5. You’re playing it safe in a matchup with so much uncertainty due to injuries.
I’d still take the Broncos if the line moves in either direction. They should win outright.
TNF Best Bet: Under 41 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1.5 Units
The total has dropped to 41 points, and although it is one of the lowest totals on the Week 7 slate, I still like the Under. This game features two of the best defenses in the NFL, and while the Browns deploy one of the best rushing attacks in the league when healthy, Denver’s defense is stout enough to counteract and contain it. What’s more, Cleveland’s offensive injury issues are monster setbacks.
The total will be close. If you see my projected score for this game — I like the Broncos to win 20-17 — you’ll see that I believe 37 points will be scored, leaving enough room for a few extra points.
If the total moves anywhere below 40, I’d pick it to the Over to be safe.
- Read our full Broncos vs Browns Prop Bets.
TNF Best Bet: Broncos Moneyline (+100) at Caesers
Wager: 1 Unit
I have shifted my pick to the Broncos as a result of all the Browns’ injuries. The Browns are a run-centric offense and are down their top two rushers, their quarterback and perhaps their top wideout. Not to mention an injury to their bookend right tackle.
You can still get the Broncos at plus odds, likely because they are on the road. I will back the road dogs in Week 7.