Betting News & Analysis

NFL Betting 2022: Bet Cardinals at 20/1 to lead NFL in scoring

Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) and head coach Kliff Kingsbury look on against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

• A $20 bet on the Cardinals to score the most points in the league could return $420.

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Most bettors place wagers in multiple markets — spreads, totals, teasers, props, etc. — where they generally get oriented by following a bottom-up approach: “Which spreads do I like?” “Which totals stand out this week?”

But the goal in this space is to articulate our process for bets by following a top-down approach. We will consider how a specific thesis on a team, player, or trend is best applied and capitalized on in the proper market. Some bets will track traditional markets, but more often we will look to maximize our upside in the multitude of different markets offered by sportsbooks — it all depends on finding the right market for the thesis. Let’s dive in.


With Cardinals QB Kyler Murray still improving, and a wide-receiver corps that has sneaky upside in an offense that already has shown flashes of brilliance, the Cardinals could lead the NFL in scoring.

Bet: Cardinals to score most points in NFL, 20/1 AT CAESARS

BOTTOM LINE

When betting a tail outcome — such as the Cardinals to have the league’s best offense — a bettor's mindset shifts from asking “what’s most likely to happen?” to “can this realistically happen?” And the Cardinals being the league's highest-scoring offense wouldn’t be so unforeseen. Before Kyler Murray’s injury midway through last season, they were the league's most efficient offense — leading the league in EPA — and were the second-highest-scoring offense. Should Murray finally stay healthy all year, there is certainly a chance that the Cardinals' late season woes of 2020 and 2021 were just noise, and they could put it together for a full season.

But aside from just looking at past performance, there are further reasons to be bullish on Arizona this season. To this point, Murray's growth as a quarterback has been linear — and there is a legitimate possibility that this growth trend continues as he takes the next step in Year 4. 

Murray's receiving options might be his best yet this season. Rondale Moore is seemingly gearing up to take over the Christian Kirk role in the Cardinals offense, and Moore showed dynamite potential last year, ranking 99th percentile in PFF separation, and 96th in receptions after the catch. Expanding his role to running routes past the line of scrimmage, and Moore could be in for a big year. Marquise Brown played college ball with Murray and ranked top 10 in Timo Riske’s Route running metric, and once DeAndre Hopkins returns from his performance-enhancing drug suspension in Week 7 vs. the Saints, Arizona could have one of the best receiving units in the league. 

Why the points market instead of Super Bowl, division title or win total?

• We're building in some serious regression from the Cardinals defense. While they finished 6th last season in Defensive EPA, that was largely on the back of turnovers, forcing nearly 8 points a game worth of turnovers (3rd in NFL). Turnovers generally regress, and we envision Arizona playing more like the team that was 17th in PFF defensive grade and 12th in yards/play, rather than the production of the NFL's sixth-best defense. 

• Now, defensive regression means two things for us: 1) it worsens the overall outlook of the team in terms of how many games it can win, making futures bets based on wins and losses less appealing; 2) A worse defense means more opportunity for points to be scored because of closer games and fewer instances of taking the foot off the gas pedal because of big leads. 

Read the previous piece in Judah's top-down betting series, Seattle Seahawks to score league's fewest points, here.

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