The Arizona Cardinals put Kyler Murray’s contract drama to bed before the start of training camp, paying $230 million to shoo that dark cloud away from the 2022 season.
The Cardinals’ upcoming campaign is far from devoid of drama, however. Top receiver DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six games due to PED use and the defense lost two impactful leaders this offseason.
The NFC West got a little weaker with the departure of Russell Wilson, and Arizona’s NFL odds have it on the cusp of another double-digit win season and playoff appearance. We dig into how things will go down in the desert with our Arizona Cardinals 2022 betting preview.
Arizona Cardinals futures odds
|To win Super Bowl||+4,000|
|To win conference||+2,000|
|To win division||+400|
|Season Win Total O/U||9.0 (Under -145)|
|To Make Playoffs||Yes +105 / No -125|
Best futures bet: Under 9 wins (-145)
You can find this win total down to 8.5 at many mainstream books, and really, this season-long futures bet will be won and lost in the first three weeks of play. If the Cardinals can avoid a 0-3 start versus KC, Vegas, and L.A. — even going 1-2 in those first three games — the door is open for nine wins. Arizona is, of course, without DeAndre Hopkins for the opening six weeks, and we saw just how much he’s missed with the Cardinals going 8-2 SU with NUK and 3-5 SU without (yes, Kyler Murray missed time/played hurt in that span) last year.
A rough stretch of schedule to finish off the regular season may doom anyone getting involved with the Over on Arizona’s win total. The Cardinals, who are notorious for stumbling down the stretch, play three of their final four games on the road and that lone homestand is against Tom Brady and the Bucs.
Arizona Cardinals betting overview
What will win bets: Early overreaction
Arizona has one hell of an opening schedule, and it wouldn’t shock me to see this team start 0-3 considering it hosts Kansas City, visits Las Vegas, and hosts the L.A. Rams to begin 2022. A potential slow start would be a major shift in gears for a team that has started so hot the past two years, and the absence of Hopkins would also add to the opinion that the sky is falling in the desert.
Ahh, there’s no overreaction quite like September overreaction in the NFL. From there, the oddsmakers’ ratings for Arizona will shift and public perception of the Cardinals could sway some of those tighter spreads on the upcoming schedule. Arizona follows that nasty three-game stretch with winnable games at Carolina, vs. Philadelphia, at Seattle, vs. New Orleans, at Minnesota, and vs. Seattle — all of which have current spreads that range from Cardinals -7 to +2. A possible slow start could turn out cash for Cardinals backers come October. So, stay tuned…
What will lose bets: Passive Pass Rush
The loss of linebacker Chandler Jones in free agency could really hit the Cardinals hard. This defense did a number on rival passers in 2021, registering 41 sacks with a pressure rate of 25.9% behind Vance Joseph’s blitz-heavy approach (fourth highest blitz percentage at 33.6%).
There’s talk that Joseph will dial up the extra pass rushers to 11 in order to make up for the loss of Jones, as well as LB Jordan Hicks, after the team didn’t bring in any new talents to fill those gaps. Arizona is looking internally for other linebackers to step up, but the defensive line isn’t great and the Cardinals find themselves up against a number of top offensive lines in their biggest games of the year.
Arizona Cardinals game-by-game odds
The Cardinals have an interesting schedule in terms of how you peel back the onion. Standard strength of schedule (based on last year’s results) hands over the second-hardest slate in the NFL, and it is a doozy: with 10 games against teams that made the playoffs last year.
That has Arizona pegged as a favorite in just seven games, with one pick’em on the board (vs. Bolts in Week 12), putting forth a projection of 7.5 wins versus a win total as high as nine at some books. However, my QB SOS — which breaks down the schedule in terms of quarterback competition — ranks the Cardinals’ 2022 calendar at No. 17.
And while Arizona trades in a home game for a neutral-site showdown with San Francisco in Mexico City, it plays many of its toughest non-divisional foes inside State Farm Stadium (KC, PHI, NOLA, LAC, NE, TBY) and is either a short favorite or short dog in those contests. That said, this team is just 3-6-1 SU and 3-7 ATS between -3 and +3 at home since Kliff Kingsbury took over in 2019.
|1||vs. Kansas City||+3||53|
|2||@ Las Vegas||+2.5||51|
|3||vs. L.A. Rams||+2||50.5|
|7||vs. New Orleans||-3||47|
|10||@ L.A. Rams||+5.5||51|
|11||vs. San Francisco (Mexico)||+1.5||48|
|12||vs. L.A. Chargers||PK||51|
|14||vs. New England||-3||49|
|16||vs. Tampa Bay||+3||52|
|18||@ San Francisco||+3||46.5|
Arizona Cardinals pro betting insights
Hitman, professional bettor (@Hitman428)
Down on Arizona compared to market. The Murray film study talk concerns me, as does the Hopkins suspension. Arizona also has arguably the league's worst corner situation.
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Adam Chernoff, The Simple Handicap podcast (@adamchernoff)
Arizona Cardinals early season forecast
You’d be hard-pressed to find a tougher opening stretch in the NFL this season than the Cardinals’ first three games: all of which come against playoff qualifiers with top-tier quarterbacks. Mix in the absence of Hopkins and things are especially sticky in September. Week 1 brings the Chiefs to Arizona for what promises to be a fun one, with the total at 53 points. The Cardinals are catching a field goal at home in this non-conference clash.
Arizona hasn’t been a great home bet in the Kyler Murray Era, lugging a 9-14-1 SU count and 9-15 ATS record as a host since 2019. Sin City calls in Week 2, with the Cardinals on the road to play the Raiders as 2.5-point underdogs. Arizona is a solid 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in non-conference road games the past three seasons, including a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS versus host AFC teams in 2021.
The defending Super Bowl champs and division rivals, the L.A. Rams, come to Arizona in Week 3. The Cardinals are getting +2 in what is Los Angeles’ road opener for 2022. Reigning Super Bowl winners are just 13-24 ATS (20-17 SU) in their first away game of the season since 1985. However, Arizona is a mere 1-6 SU and 1-5-1 ATS versus the Rams over the past three years.
Arizona Cardinals spot bet
Week 11 vs. San Francisco in Mexico City (+1.5, 48)
The Cardinals lose a home game to the NFL’s international showcases, and if that isn’t bad enough, they scheduled this divisional dance with the Niners in Mexico City at the worst time. Arizona will be playing its second straight game away from home and third away tilt in four weeks when it shows up in the thin air of Mexico City, which sits 7,200 feet above sea level.
Before doing so, the Cards play at Minnesota in Week 8, come home to host Seattle in Week 9, travel to SoFi to play the Rams on the road in Week 10, then cross the border for this Monday Night Football shakedown with San Francisco.
Arizona Cardinals totals tip
The Cardinals closed 2021 with an 8-10 Over/Under count, including the playoff loss to the Rams. That schedule featured a dozen totals of 48 points or more, including seven games with number of 50-plus. The 2022 lookahead totals currently have 13 Arizona games of 48 points or more and six totals of 50 or higher. Five of those 48-plus numbers occur in the first six weeks when Hopkins is sidelined due to suspension.
The Cards’ offense isn’t as good as it was last season — notably for those opening six games — with the rushing attack expected to take a step back and Hollywood Brown working his way into the offense as the de facto No. 1 WR in that span. Murray may have to put this unit on his shoulders and faces a series of higher-pressure pass rushes in the first four games against the Chiefs, Raiders, Rams and Panthers. To me, the market isn’t making enough of this situation and Unders could be live to start the season for Arizona.
Star power: Kyler Murray props
|Most Passing Yards||+2,800|
|Most Passing TDs||+4,000|
|Passing TD Total||25.5 (Over -110)|
|Passing Yards Total||4,050.5 (Over -110)|
|Rushing Yards Total||525.5 (Over -115)|
|Rushing TD Total||6.5 (Over -140)|
Best prop: Over 525.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
You don’t want your $230 million investment taking any unnecessary hits, but Murray may have to perform magic with his fleet feet to keep Arizona competitive. The ground game isn’t as deep with Chase Edmonds gone and James Connor’s expiry date is always a worry, and that could make what is already a predictable Kingsbury play-call even more bland.
That means that defenses know what’s coming and puts pressure on Murray to make something happen when plays fall apart. He rushed for 423 yards on 88 attempts in 14 games last season and really had to cook when Hopkins was out in the home stretch, picking up 276 of those gains in the final six games. Murray mustered 544 yards on 93 carries in this rookie season and rolled to 819 yards on 133 rushes in 2020. I like him to land somewhere in the middle of those numbers in 2022.
Arizona Cardinals trend to know
Strong starts. Shit finishes. That’s the calling card of the Cardinals since Kingsbury and Murray showed up in 2019. Arizona is a stellar 15-7-1 SU and 16-7 ATS from Week 1 to Week 8 over those three seasons, but it loses steam faster than a defective tea kettle, with a 9-17 SU finish and 10-14-2 ATS count from Week 9 to the regular season finale. Put those late-season games in Glendale and the Cardinals are a dismal 3-10 SU and ATS from Week 9 to Week 17/18 since 2019.
Cardinals second-half home games:
- Week 9 vs. Seattle (-3)
- Week 12 vs. L.A. Chargers (PK)
- Week 14 vs. New England (-3)
- Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay (+3)
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