Football is officially back, as the first week of the NFL preseason schedule is slated to kick off. The New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns got things started in the Hall of Fame Game last week, while the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals will cap off Friday night’s preseason action.
The Broncos have a new head coach in Sean Payton, hoping to turn things around for veteran quarterback Russell Wilson following a dismal 5-12 campaign in 2022 under Nathaniel Hackett. Meanwhile, the Cardinals also have a new coach in Jonathan Gannon after the team went 4-13 a season ago.
Neither Wilson nor quarterback Kyler Murray are expected to play much in Friday’s exhibition game, especially with Murray recovering from a season-ending knee ailment.
Broncos vs Cardinals Odds
NFL odds used for this Denver vs Arizona preview were found at DraftKings Sportsbook and are current as of August 7 at 9 a.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Broncos (-225) • Cardinals (+185)
- Spread: Broncos -5.5 (-110) • Cardinals +5.5 (-110)
- Total Points: Over 37.5 (-110) • Under 36.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Broncos 21.5, Cardinals 16
Broncos vs Cardinals Predictions
Score Pick: Broncos 24, Cardinals 17
Once again, neither team will likely play their starters much in the preseason opener on Friday night. Payton announced that Wilson would start the preseason opener, and Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci will split the snaps under center for the Broncos once Wilson exits.
On the other side, the Cardinals could very well give rookie Clayton Tune and David Blough all of the snaps in Friday’s matchup despite Colt McCoy being the listed backup. There’s a chance McCoy will be needed in Week 1 if Murray cannot play, so the veteran could be rested until the regular season.
Even though Payton is 29-31 in the preseason during his coaching career, he has a bit more to prove with a team that has higher expectations than the Cardinals in 2023. While the outcome of the preseason games doesn’t matter, the Broncos have the better overall team on both sides of the ball.
Broncos vs Cardinals Best Bets & Props
Over 37.5 Points (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit
Wagering on points in the preseason can sometimes be ill-advised. That said, the Broncos will have three quarterbacks with starting experience in the NFL taking snaps in Friday’s preseason opener.
The Broncos averaged 18.3 points per game in the preseason in 2022 under Hackett, and that number should increase with Payton at the helm. Meanwhile, the Cardinals produced 25.3 points per game in the preseason in 2022, making this our NFL bet of the day.
Broncos -5.5 (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit
The spread was much closer before the Broncos announced that Wilson would start the first preseason contest. Vegas reacted accordingly to the news, and even if Wilson gets severely limited playing time on Friday, Stidham and DiNucci are capable preseason quarterbacks.
While Payton isn’t going to show too much of his offense during the preseason, he’ll still want to see progress being made ahead of the regular season.
Broncos to win by 7-12 points (+370)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.5 units
The Broncos are the far superior team, and the Cardinals aren’t going to have Murray available in any capacity for Friday’s preseason opener. There’s also a chance McCoy doesn’t see the field for Arizona, as the team could want to get better looks at Tune and Blough.
Many believe the Cardinals are in a prime position to pick No. 1 overall in the 2024 NFL draft, which indicates that they’ll struggle to keep games close, even in an exhibition setting.
Broncos vs Cardinals Same Game Parlay
No Same Game Parlays are available for this game, but this section will be updated if they become available.