Breaking down the best Week 1 NFL bet

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray playing against the Seattle Seahawks
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Andrew Ortenberg

NFL· 1 year ago

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

While the start of the 2020 NFL season may still feel like a long ways away, at least we finally have the schedule released. Oddsmakers have since posted their opening Week 1 lines, and there are plenty of opportunities for value. Today we’ll be looking at the best side bet on the board, and that’s the Arizona Cardinals.

You can currently get Arizona as an 8.5-point underdog against the San Francisco 49ers, and that number is heavily inflated. Simply put, I wouldn’t feel comfortable laying more than a touchdown with Jimmy Garoppolo against just about anybody these days. The 49ers overachieved last year due to their defense, and they are due for a bit of regression in 2020.

Garoppolo is in over his head, and he showed that in the Super Bowl. Thanks to limited cap space the 49ers had to make some difficult decisions this offseason, including trading away All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts. Buckner was one of the key pieces of last year’s defense, and the interior of their defensive front won’t be the same without him. Both of these teams’ meetings last year were extremely close, and San Francisco certainly didn’t look dominant in the matchup.

While the 49ers lost a bunch of key guys like Joe Staley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Buckner, the Cardinals were adding pieces left and right. They pulled off one of the best trades in recent NFL history, adding DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans for peanuts. With Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Hopkins now in tow, Kyler Murray suddenly has one of the best receiving trios in the league at his disposal.

Murray showed plenty of flashes as a rookie, and I’m expecting him to take a big step forward in his second year in Kliff Kingsbury’s system. Arizona’s defense should also be much better, in large part because they were able to draft Clemson All-American Isaiah Simmons with the 8th overall pick. Among other additions to the defense, they also added stud defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker De’vondre Campbell.

This Arizona offense has the potential to be electric, and with even a slight upgrade on defense they should be highly competitive in the NFC West. Getting this many points is a steal, and I don’t think you’ll be able to get this kind of line closer to Week 1.

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