Denver will play starting quarterback Russell Wilson in Friday night’s preseason opener at Arizona, a break from the norm for the veteran. Let’s look at Broncos vs. Cardinals odds, props, and predictions for this now-intriguing game.
There’s a new sheriff in Denver and coach Sean Payton said Wilson and other veterans will play against the host Cardinals. Wilson hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2019.
Broncos vs. Cardinals Odds: NFL Preseason Week 1
The Broncos are a solid 5.5-point favorite across the top-rated sports betting apps as of Tuesday evening. The shortest odds are at PointsBet NJ, where the Broncos are only -2.5.
The Over/Under total is 37.5 at most books (both teams -110).
NFL · Fri (8/11) @ 10:00 pm ET
|State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ|
Broncos vs. Cardinals: Who Will Play?
Payton said his coaching philosophy is to have veterans play in the preseason — at least in the opener.
“Yeah, I haven’t shelled it out yet, but they’re going to play. We’ll figure out how many snaps,” Payton told the media.
“That would include [quarterback Russell Wilson] — he’s a player.”
This is a huge change in philosophy for Denver. Last season, Wilson and the Broncos starters didn’t play until the regular-season opener under previous coach Nathaniel Hackett.
Payton is an old-school coach. In his regime, he wants to see his players on the field.
“We typically break a game into three phases — first, second, third phase — and then special teams, we might just do two phases, but we’ll have a plan,” Payton said.
“I’ve got a few notes written down. I don’t have a pitch count. I don’t have an exclusion list if someone’s got a light injury that we back — but we can expect our guys play a little bit.”
For the Cardinals, quarterback Kyler Murray will not play. He is recovering from an ACL tear he suffered on Dec. 12 against the Patriots. He is hoping to be ready for the regular-season opener.
Backup quarterback Colt McCoy is not expected to play either.
There is an enormous quarterback advantage for Denver with Wilson, even if he only plays one series or one quarter. Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci are the Broncos’ backups and will see plenty of action Friday night.
Arizona’s backup quarterbacks Clayton Tune and David Blough are expected to get the snaps if McCoy doesn’t play.
Broncos vs. Cardinals Props
Winning Margin (FanDuel)
Denver Broncos by 1-13 (+140)
Denver Broncos by 14+ (+210)
Arizona Cardinals by 1-13 (+250)
Arizona Cardinals by 14+ (+850)
Halftime/End of Fourth Quarter (DraftKings)
Broncos vs. Cardinals Prediction
Both teams have new coaches. Former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon takes over for the Cardinals after Philadelphia’s Super Bowl season. Gannon got his first NFL job with the Falcons in 2007 as a defensive quality control coach.
Arizona is his first head-coaching job.
Payton worked in television last season after resigning from the New Orleans Saints after the 2021 season. He coached the Saints for 15 seasons and won the Super Bowl in 2009.
Payton’s experience should be an edge in this game, especially with the Broncos’ starters playing some and trying to impress the new boss. If you’re interested in betting on this game, here’s where you can place that bet.
Prediction: Broncos 23, Cardinals 10.
Broncos Look For Relevance; Cardinals Begin Rebuild
Payton has a long history of NFL success. In addition to the Super Bowl victory, the Saints made the playoffs 10 times in his 15 seasons.
He has work to do. The Broncos were 5-12, tying a franchise record for losses in a season. Denver was 0-8 on the road. The NFL average for wins on the road was .432.
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired after one season and replaced with Payton.
Since winning the 2015 Super Bowl, Denver hasn’t made the playoffs, a seven-year drought, their longest since the 1970s.
Arizona was 4-13 last season, the final one for coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Cardinals’ fortunes likely depend on Murray, who has shown league MVP skills when healthy. But even before his injury, Murray wasn’t having his best season. Arizona averaged an NFL-worst 6.0 yards per attempt.
The Cardinals might be in for a long season with a new coach, new coordinators, plus a franchise quarterback who is coming back from a serious knee injury. Safety Budda Baker, the team’s leader, made noise in the offseason about wanting a trade. He’s back in Arizona, trying to fortify a defense that allowed 26.4 points per game, 31st in the league.
Super Bowl odds are long for both teams. For the Broncos, the range is +4000 to +5000. For Cardinals, the range is +18000 to +20000.
How to Watch Broncos vs. Cardinals
Friday, Aug. 11: Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals, 10 p.m. EDT
Site: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
On the Air: NFL Network