Underdog Cardinals vs. Vikings for Strong NFL Preseason Pick

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:02 PM GMT

Even though they made more money for NFL bettors than any other team in 2013, the Cardinals are being undervalued in the NFL odds. This week they are +3 underdogs in Minnesota, with the total of 38 ½. 

Ten Wins Again?
The Cards were the best team in the NFL that had to watch the playoffs from their couches, and with the NFC West looking less imposing by every passing day it seems, the Cardinals might be a legitimate value out West. It’s still pretty farfetched, but their NFL Future odds might be worth a look.

For this game specifically, it seems to be the same tune. Last week the Cards blanked the Texans, and all reports out of Arizona are solid on both sides of the ball. Carson Palmer has seemingly found a home, and even though he and the Cardinals’ starters won’t play long in this one, they’ll get enough time to score once or twice. The Vikings’ defense is still a work in progress under Mike Zimmer, and after Minnesota’s performance against Oakland in Week 1, the Vikes’ chances of scoring a bunch in this game are low.

 

Not So Rooseveltian
Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been flying out of the gates like some analysts projected in the offseason. After being taken right at the end of the first round, Bridgewater has had a rough start to his NFL career. Last week against the Raiders’ second stringers, Bridgewater was only 6/13 for 49 yards and no touchdowns. He was also sacked twice.

People are starting to feel really bad about questioning Matt Cassel’s contract this offseason after the Vikings drafted Bridgewater. Cassel looked much better in Week 1, however neither QB is going to have success against the Cardinals this week. The Cardinals will prevent any sort of air game the Vikings have, and assuming the Vikings have no interest in giving Adrian Peterson preseason carries, Minnesota might not have much of a run game. Last week against the Raiders’ defense, the Vikings only averaged 3.7 yards per carry, and it won’t get easier against Arizona.

 

The Sharp Pick
Not only do the Cardinals have Palmer likely lined up for a quarter’s worth of snaps, but their 4th round pick, Logan Thomas will surely get some time in the second half, and if he can duplicate his play from last week, the Cards can have optimism long term. Thomas went 11/12 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and had a QBR of 133.7. With this kind of firepower behind Palmer, the Cards have tremendous value as an underdog here.


Barring Bridgewater shaking off his Week 1 performance and lighting up the Cards for a back door cover, Arizona is the play here at +3. With the total of 38 ½, if the score stays low it will ultimately benefit the Cards again. However much like they did last week, I think Arizona can land another knockout punch, just like they did to Houston.

My Free NFL Pick: Cardinals +3 at 5Dimes Sportbook

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