NFL odds: Why backing a dismantled Cardinals team is the best bet for Week 2

The Arizona Cardinals' season win total was 4.5. The Cardinals may have lost their Week 1 opener against Washington, but it was a competitive contest. Arizona showed fight despite having an almost entirely brand-new team. Best bet record: 1-0.

The matchup

New York Giants -4 at Arizona Cardinals (+170)

OV/UN 39.5

The bet: Cardinals +4

Entering Week 1, Arizona looked nothing like its 2022 counterpart. The Cardinals were without quarterback Kyler Murray, receivers DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green, along with its top two defensive ends from a year ago in J.J. Watt (retired) and Zach Allen (Broncos). Not to mention Arizona kicked off the 2023 season with a new head coach, new offensive coordinator and new defensive coordinator.

Yet, the Cardinals were competitive and feisty in a Week 1 road loss.

The matchup to watch: Cardinals pass rush against Giants quarterback Daniel Jones

Despite so many changes, Arizona was competitive because of its defense. The Cardinals produced six sacks on Washington quarterback Sam Howell. Linebacker Dennis Gardeck leads the league after one week in sack yards, with 32 yards lost. That’s a monster data point.

If the Cardinals pass rush proves to be a strength, then it could do some damage to Jones as he was sacked seven times in Week 1 against the Cowboys. The Giants offensive line allowed a league-high 65% pressure rate. Along with that, Jones produced zero touchdown passes and threw two interceptions.

Why the Giants could continue to decline

Arizona facing a first-time, opening day starting quarterback last week certainly could have been a factor. Plus, I’m a big believer that no team is as good or as bad as the week before. However, the Giants offensive line could continue being an issue the rest of the season. Projected to be 28th according to Pro Football Focus' preseason rankings, New York’s O-line allowed pressure in 2.5 seconds or less last year — the fifth-highest rate.

Evan Neal had a poor 2022 rookie season, allowing seven sacks (tied for the seventh-most by an offensive tackle). He allowed another sack in the season opener and finished Week 1 ranked 59th out of 60 tackles in pass block win rate. Changes need to be made and quick.

Caution the betting line

You are losing some points of value. The original line opened with Cardinals +5.5 and currently sits at +4. When grabbing points with an underdog, or just any bet in general, you want the best value possible.

With the line now at +4, I still recommend this play. It’s tough not seeing this as a three-point contest or with the Cardinals winning the game outright.