The Cardinals are trying to rebound from an embarrassing 5-11 SU season just a year ago, and this season the sportsbooks don’t have much optimism. LVH Sportsbook in Las Vegas has the Cards at 5.5 wins this season, with the ‘Over’ priced at +130, and the ‘Under’ at -150. Can they still make for winning sports picks?
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Four of Arizona’s first six games are on the road this season, and although they have to play San Francisco, Seattle and Atlanta right before their Week 9 bye, the Cards don’t have it that bad to start out this season. We have seen the defense in Arizona improved, and if they can win some of those early games like Detroit and Carolina, they could have some value with the inflated ‘Over’ price of +130.
However the Cards have the 7th ranked strength of schedule this season, and playing in the NFC West, along with facing the South divisions this year, Arizona is going to be hard pressed to be a solid team this first year under Bruce Arians. In the second half of their schedule, the games ease up a bit, but they finish the season against Seattle and San Francisco, which could put a sad cap on a potentially tough season.
How does Arizona compare to the rest of the NFC West this season?
The Cards face the Rams in St. Louis to open up the season, and the Rams are a -6 favorite at home, with a total of 40 points in the NFL odds. St. Louis and Arizona both have much better defenses than offenses, but at least in this Week 1 game, I think the sportsbooks might be giving us some room with the total.
With new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles coming in and messing around with the defense, and the possibilities of both of these offenses being undervalued, I think the ‘Over’ might be a nice play on this game. The Rams have multiple weapons, even if they are young and unproven, and if Carson Palmer can get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, that should make sure that points are scored.
The Sharp Pick
If you can’t tell, between the inflated NFL odds and the uncertainty on both sides of the ball in Arizona, I am torn in the Cardinals’ case. On one hand you have a great defense with a new coach and an offense with some upside, and on the other side you have a house being held together with duct tape.
As NFL picks go, I cannot recommend either side of this wager. There are too many variables this season for the Cards. I doubt they can get to six wins, but the price of -150 in the NFL odds makes it too much risk and too little reward. I would much rather wait for better prices on in-game odds with the Cardinals and their opponents.
My Pick: No Play
Week 1 Lean: Cardinals/Rams ‘Over’ 40 at Bet365