Never mind Patrick Mahomes, it’s the Arizona Cardinals who have the edge on Sunday’s Week 1 NFL odds board.
Those models are very interested in what the Arizona Cardinals have to offer this Sunday when they host Kansas City as 4.5-point home dogs at Heritage (visit our Heritage Sports Review).
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium
It makes sense. Kansas City are the public team in this matchup, a recent Super Bowl winner led by a recent league MVP in quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Arizona have a much smaller fanbase; they’re largely overlooked playing in the Mountain Time Zone.
It’s also good to know that Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today projects Kansas City to win this contest by 3.4 points. We’re still waiting for FiveThirtyEight to chime in as we go to press, but having Sagarin back up our proprietary models just adds to our confidence for this pick.
With that in mind, let’s dig deep, peel back the layers, and see what makes the Cardinals the right side for Sunday’s matchup.
Point Spread or Moneyline?
Before we get to that, a quick look at the betting patterns for this game. Kansas City opened as 3-point favorites way back in mid-May, and stayed that way until last week, when they started picking up steam. The BMR consensus reports at press time show 56 percent support for the former champs.
Maybe they were the sharp choice at -3, but now that the Cardinals are getting 4.5 points, they’re the right NFL pick, and according to the models we’re using, that spread carries more betting value than taking Arizona at +175 on the moneyline at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review). As it should.
According to the top-rated sportsbooks, a point spread of +4.5 is equivalent to a “fair” moneyline (no hold percentage) of +191. And that’s +4.5 with no vigorish attached, by the way. Make sure to compare the NFL odds like this for every game rather than blindly betting the spread.
By the way, there should be some betting value on Over 53.5 as well, but not as much as there is for the Cardinals at +4.5.
Quarterbacks' Mano a Mano
We’ve got two talented quarterbacks ready to do battle in Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray, and while it won’t be officially decided until game day whether the roof will be open or closed, there isn’t anything in the weather report to give the Under a boost.
There are other factors at work here besides Mahomes and Murray, though. And for the most part, those factors are lining up in Arizona’s favor.
Will Kansas City Have Good Juju or Bad Juju?
The burning question in Kansas City is who will step up to replace WR Tyreek Hill, who was shipped off to the Miami Dolphins in March for a package of picks. Wideouts may not be as important as the betting public thinks, but Hill is one of the league’s best.
Apparently the plan in K.C. is to replace Hill by committee. Incoming WR JuJu Smith-Schuster will play a role in that; he’ll take care of the underneath routes, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling (formerly with Green Bay) goes deep. Mecole Hardman returns as Kansas City’s No. 3 wideout.
All well and good, but this still allows opposing defenses to focus more on gifted TE Travis Kelce, who was second behind Hill in targets last year for Kansas City.
Mahomes might have a bit less time to find his targets while RT Lucas Niang recovers from the torn patellar tendon he suffered in Week 17; Niang isn’t expected back until sometime in October.
Kyler Murray Goes Hollywood
As for Murray, he was No. 7 on last year’s passing DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) charts at Football Outsiders, three spots down from Mahomes.
But he might do even better this year after being reunited with WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who came over from the Baltimore Ravens on Draft Day.
Murray and Brown were teammates in college at Oklahoma. They’ll get a chance this Sunday to light up Kansas City’s defense, which has been completely torn apart and rebuilt for 2022 after slipping to No. 22 overall (No. 23 pass, No. 20 rush) on the DVOA charts.
On the other side of the ball, Arizona’s No. 6-ranked defense (No. 5 pass, No. 6) rush will put Mahomes and his new array of targets to the test. We’ll buy that for a dollar.
NFL Pick: Cardinals +4.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.