The Arizona Cardinals just lost their starting quarterback – again. But the sharps still believe that Arizona is a solid NFL pick this week versus the Detroit Lions, even if the betting public may think otherwise.
Jason’s record after Week 10: 28-39 ATS, 11-16-1 Totals
Profit: minus-37.63 units
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but losing Carson Palmer isn’t necessarily a death sentence for the Arizona Cardinals. It does feels kind of funny saying that, though. One of the reasons the Cardinals were able to crush the NFL odds last year at 11-5 ATS is because people didn’t take Palmer seriously enough as Arizona’s new starting quarterback. But his ability to play at slightly better than replacement level proved to be a significant upgrade for the Cardinals.
Now Palmer’s on the shelf with a torn-up knee. Which brings us back to a certain Mr. Drew Stanton. You might recall how we backed the Cardinals in Week 5 when they faced the Denver Broncos as 8-point road dogs with Stanton taking over for Palmer after his previous shoulder injury. That one didn’t quite work out: Denver won 41-20 after Stanton had to leave the game with a concussion. But he’s back now, and Arizona is getting plenty of sharp love as a pick ’em at home against the Detroit Lions on the Week 11 NFL odds board.
Big Money Goes Around the World
Our consensus numbers tell the tale: After a very early and limited opening at –3, the Cardinals were a pick ’em at most books last Sunday night, and at the time, the betting public was split 50/50. That’s where we find ourselves again as we go to press, although the Lions have had a slight majority of bettors on their side in the interim.
Don’t let that balance fool you, though. In terms or raw dollars, Arizona has been pulling in some big-time action: 74.37 percent of the pie, according to our expanded consensus reports. The average bet size on the Cardinals at press time is $111, compared to a measly $38 for the Lions. We’ve also had four $1,000-plus bets come in on Arizona to just one for Detroit. As they say, big money is usually sharp money.
And it mostly has to do with Stanton. The loss to Denver was Arizona’s only loss of the season; the Cards are on top of the entire NFL at 8-1 SU (7-2 ATS), and Stanton is one of the reasons why. His DVOA numbers for passing (plus-14.9 percent) are actually better than Palmer’s (plus-3.8 percent) thus far. In fact, they’re even better than Drew Brees’ (plus-12.8 percent). That should keep the Cardinals on the winning track – as long as Stanton can avoid another concussion.
What the Market Will Bear
Meanwhile, what if we told you that a lot of intelligent people want to bet on the Chicago Bears (3-6 SU and ATS) this week? It’s true: Our consensus reports show about 57 percent support for the Bears as 2.5-point home faves versus the Minnesota Vikings, but looking again at those dollar dollar bills, we see Chicago at 73.43 percent, with the largest bet size of anyone on the Week 11 odds board at $122. The Vikings? $59, which isn’t a small bet by any means.
Obviously things have gone pear-shaped in the Windy City, but no matter how incredulous Bears fans or the mainstream media gets, it’s not that bad. Jay Cutler (92.8 passer rating, a career-high) does more good than bad for Chicago. He’s certainly doing better, at least for now, than Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (74.9 passer rating).
Don’t believe us? How about some advanced stats, then? Cutler has a minus-0.8 passing DVOA, which he makes up for at least a little with his scrambling (plus-39.1 percent rushing DVOA). Bridgewater has a minus-32.2 passer rating, which is better than only two QBs in the league: Blake Bortles (minus-32.5 percent) and Josh McCown (minus-52.2 percent). And no, Bridgewater’s minus-3.2 percent rushing DVOA doesn’t help, either. So are you ready to add the Bears to your NFL picks this week? It’s the sharp thing to do.