Gary Kubiak's Denver Broncos are already 3-0 SU and ATS this preseason, and the football odds are in their favor for Thursday's finale against the Arizona Cardinals.
Gary Kubiak still has that preseason mojo working. In Kubiak's eight seasons at the helm of the Houston Texans, they went 19-11-2 ATS in exhibition play. Now that Kubiak is the head coach of the Denver Broncos, the song remains the same: Denver is 3-0 SU and ATS this year. I've got my spine, I've got my Orange Crush.
Denver can make it 4-0 this Thursday night (9:00 p.m. ET) at the expense of the visiting Arizona Cardinals, who seem to have misplaced Bruce Arians' mojo. He was 5-2-1 ATS going into the new season, but Arizona has dropped two of three SU and ATS. At press time, our NFL odds board has the Broncos laying six points at Mile High, with nearly unanimous support according to our consensus numbers.
Brock Rockin' Beats
Three games is a small sample size, but it's been interesting to see Kubiak continue his preseason success with the Broncos. Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts tended to do poorly in these games, and his first three years in Denver saw the Broncos go 7-5 SU and 6-6 ATS. It's not Manning's fault; he's just so good and so durable, for the most part, that his teams have been able to treat the preseason a bit more like a company picnic.
Peyton Manning hasn't been very busy this preseason, either. But back-up QB Brock Osweiler has done quite well this year, and the Broncos have also seen some good play from rookie third-stringer Trevor Siemian. They'll play about one half apiece as Manning sits out Thursday's matchup. Kubiak has been insistent on developing Osweiler and making sure the new offense is up to speed. Good thing, given Manning's age and the young offensive line in front of him. By the way, that line added two-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis last week. Don't sleep on this.
While Denver's backup QBs have gotten the job done, the Cardinals looked very shaky in their first two preseason games after Carson Palmer got his reps. Of course, this being football, everything changed in Week 3 when Palmer threw a couple of picks against the Oakland Raiders (–1.5 at home), then watched as Drew Stanton and Phillip Sims bailed him out in a 30-23 victory. Curses, foiled again.
Arians has already told reporters that he'll be sitting his starters on Thursday; it'll be Sims getting the nod at quarterback, with Thomas expected to play the second half. However, there are a couple of key Cardinals who will make the trip to Denver: LB Sean Weatherspoon and RB Chris Johnson, who are recovering from hamstring injuries and need to get some work in. Weatherspoon could prove problematic for Osweiler, but we're going to ride the Broncos anyway. They've got enough depth at running back that Montee Ball (4.2 yards per carry lifetime) will be getting lots of touches, too. Ball don't lie.