The ‘over’ has been on a roll on Thursday night football, going 4-1 over the last 5 weeks. That trend could be put to the test tonight however when Denver’s “championship caliber” defense (on paper at least) travels to Arizona where the Cardinals are 0-3 this season. Although the NFL week 7 TNF free pick has the makings of what could be a low scoring game, the total has moved from 39.5 up to 42.5. Are oddsmakers banking on Josh Rosen getting things going in his 4th career start and David Johnson having a breakout game in what is actually a very poor Broncos defense?
What Has Happened to the Denver Defense?
There were some experts that believed the Broncos could’ve been a Super Bowl contender this year after they picked up a seasoned QB to go with their strong defense. Not only has the quarterback play of Case Keenum been uninspiring, it turns out the Denver defense is actually a liability this season. Denver has given up 23+ points in 5 of 6 games this year and is ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (161.3 ypg). Todd Gurley and the Rams ran for 270 yards last week vs. Denver and Isaiah Crowell and the Jets had a whopping 323 rushing yards the week before. The real conundrum on betting the over/under vs. this Denver defense is that the Arizona offense is 32nd in rushing – among other categories.
To say that Keenum has been uninspiring isn’t actually fair. The Broncos offense is 12th in the NFL in total yards per game including 16th in passing (263.5 ypg). Denver also has a top 10 rushing attack led by rookies Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay but the team still only puts up 20 ppg. Emmanuel Sanders has 16 catches for 187 yards in the last 2 weeks so the potential from an ‘over’ in the NFL week 7 TNF free pick from the versatile Denver offense definitely exists.
Can Arizona’s Horrible Offense Push This Game Over?
There’s hope for the Cardinals offense tonight. The Broncos have given up nearly 600 yards rushing the last two weeks (593) which is the most in 2 games in NFL history. By all accounts Arizona RB David Johnson is having a down year. That being said he has ran for 54+ yards in each of the last three games and does have 4 TD’s over that span. Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t broken 40 yards receiving in any of the last 5 games but rookie Christian Kirk has gone for 75+ in three of the last four. Rosen threw for a career high 240 last week vs. the Vikings defense so maybe there is some potential for scoring from Arizona in the NFL week 7 TNF free pick. Then again the Cardinals have been held to 17 points or less in 5 of 6 games this season and rank either 31st or 32nd in the NFL in total yards, rushing yards, passing yards, and points scored.
With the ineptitude of the Cardinals offense, you have to forgive their defense a bit as they’re on the field a majority of the game. Despite that the Arizona defensive unit hasn’t been atrocious. They rank 13th in points allowed and are 12th in the NFL vs. the pass. Arizona is giving up just 20ppg in three home games this season and will be back in the desert Thursday night for the 1st time in 3 weeks.
NFL Week 7 TNF Free Pick Betting
The Broncos are heading back to a more base defense which should close up some of the Swiss cheese holes that were present when the team switched to a nickel set 3 weeks ago. Arizona is slowly expanding their playbook for Rosen, but for the most part it’s still very vanilla which is easier to game plan for on a short week. The Denver offense should have an edge tonight which will bring the game close to an ‘over’ play, but ultimately the Broncos D shuts down the Arizona offense and keeps the final score ‘under.’
NFL Thursday Free Pick: Denver Broncos / Arizona Cardinals *Under* 42.5