Arizona Cardinals NFL Betting Preview: A Championship Desert

Posted on: September 12, 2020, 05:20h. 

Last updated on: September 12, 2020, 06:06h.

The Cardinals haven’t won an NFL championship since they were located in Chicago in 1947. That was three moves, 21 full-time head coaches, and a whole bunch of losses ago.

With 23-year-old quarterback Kyler Murray and 41-year-old coach Klif Kingsbury, perhaps the Cardinals now have the right (young) men in place for a franchise with only eight playoff berths since losing the NFL Championship Game in 1948.

Chances are, that incredibly long title drought won’t end this season. With the Cardinals residing in perhaps the best division in the NFL and going just 8-23-1 the past two seasons, they are a long shot to win this year’s Super Bowl. But with the potential of Murray, the sky’s the limit. Thus, there is a wide gulf in their championship odds, which range from +3,500 at BetMGM to +6,000 at Westgate SuperBook.

Over/Under: 7.0 Wins

Most sportsbooks have at least a rough consensus on a team’s potential for the upcoming season. Not so for Arizona.

BetMGM’s numbers drive home that point. Out of several sportsbooks surveyed, it has the shortest championship odds for the Cardinals, but also the lowest over/under win total among the NFC West teams at 6.5 (-164 over; +135 under).

PointsBet, on the other, has the over/under win total at 7.5 (-120 over; +110 under).

The Cardinals’ prospects are tied to being in a good division,” said Andrew Mannino, the senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, to “The NFC West could go in a lot of different directions. But a lot of chips have to fall just right for the Cardinals to be able to pull it off this season. For a lot of bettors, they think the Cardinals still have a ways to go before they’re developed enough to compete with the Niners, Seahawks, and Rams.”

The 49ers are the favorite to win the NFC West and the Seahawks should be on their heels. Arizona has the longest odds to win the division at +700 at DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill, and +800 at SuperBook.

Murray’s the Man

The No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, Murray threw for 3,722 yards, rushed for 544 yards, and accounted for 24 total touchdowns en route to winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He enters this season in the MVP conversation.

“I don’t really pay any mind to it,” Murray told reporters this week. “They’ve got to put somebody in the talk. I’ve got to go out and play well, and if I play well, I can put myself in that conversation.”

Murray’s MVP odds are as short as +2,000 at William Hill, where he is tied for seventh on the board. His over/unders at FanDuel are 3,799.5 passing yards and 449.5 rushing yards.

Murray’s not a one-man show. In a blockbuster trade with Houston, the Cardinals acquired elite receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He joins ageless Larry Fitzgerald and third-year player Christian Kirk as the top receivers, abetted by big-play running back Kenyan Drake.

Defensively, there are three established stars, with defensive end Chandler Jones, cornerback Patrick Peterson, and safety Budda Baker, and perhaps another on the way. Still, it’s been a terrible unit, having finished 28th in points allowed in 2019 and 26th in 2018.

Jones finished second in the NFL with 19 sacks last year. With 50 sacks in four seasons in Arizona, he is +2,000 to win Defensive Player of the Year at most sportsbooks.

Rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons, a do-it-all standout at Clemson, is the consensus No. 2 choice to win Defensive Rookie of the Year behind Washington’s Chase Young. He is +500 at PointsBet and DraftKings.

Kingsbury is as low as +1,800 to win Coach of the Year at DraftKings.

Editor’s Note: This is the 32nd and last of 32 NFL team previews and the fourth of four on the NFC West.