Thursday Night Football Betting: Which of These Struggling Teams Will Get Back on Track?

Hopefully, this Thursday night game will provide us with some better football.

TNF games have been really rough as of late, and with the myriad of injuries that the New Orleans Saints are dealing with to key starters like Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry and Marshon Lattimore, this game might not be all that different.

Both of these teams are struggling. Our nERD-based rankings have the Saints and Arizona Cardinals at 17th and 19th, respectively.

Let's see if we can unlock some interesting betting angles.

Game Preview and Key Matchups

Both quarterbacks really need to pick up their level of play, as they have struggled to start the season.

In terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, Kyler Murray has been the slightly better of the two signal-callers, as Murray has logged a clip of 0.01 Passing NEP per drop mark. That ranks him only 20th among the 32 high-volume passers this year.

It looks like we're going to get another game of Andy Dalton, per reports, although Jameis Winston doesn't have an injury designation. Dalton (0.01 Passing NEP per drop back) has been better than Winston (-0.06) in this season's small sample.

While Alvin Kamara has seen a heavy workload, he hasn't been among the league's elite efficient runners. So far, he's rocked a mark of -0.11 Rushing NEP per carry on 66 carries this season.

James Conner is expected to be a game-time call, and he's been solid this year with a clip of 0.08 Rushing NEP per carry. If Conner can't go, it'll be the Eno Benjamin show.

Defensively, both teams have some strengths. The Cardinals rank 12th overall on D, and they sport the league's best rushing defense by our numbers. Conversely, the Saints fashion the league's fifth-best pass defense.

Bets to Consider

The Cards are 2.5-point home favorites. Our algorithm sees this being a tight game as we project a narrow 23.8 to 23.6 win for Arizona. With the Saints priced at +120 on the moneyline, there's value in taking New Orleans to win. We give them a 49.3% chance to do just that, which is up from their 45.5% implied odds at that +120 price.

We also have a lean on the total as we side with the over. The total is set at 43.5 points, and we expect the over to hit 61.2% of the time.

Comparing player prop lines to our projections, one bet I love -- even though maybe our numbers aren't so sure -- is the over on Kyler Murray's rushing yards at a line of 33.5 yards (-110).

If recent history is any indication, Murray could smash this mark. In five of six games this season, the quarterback has run for 25 or more yards, and he eclipsed the century mark last week. With Marquise Brown ruled out of tonight's game, there will be a heavy lean on Murray to carry the offense. The Saints gave up 25 rushing yards to the not-nearly-as-fast Joe Burrow last week, and Marcus Mariota torched this team for 72 rushing yards in Week 2. Kyler could run wild.

Historic Betting Trends

-- The Cards have struggled to start 2022, and they have been brutal ATS at home. In their last eight home games, they are 1-7 ATS.
-- Arizona is 0-5 ATS in their last five games as a favorite.
-- Something has to give, though, because the Saints are 3-6 ATS in their last nine.