Chiefs vs. Cardinals Odds, Picks & Predictions: Count on Points to be Scored in This Matchup
One of the major NFL storylines this season is be how the Chiefs offense is going to fare without All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill.
Their chance to defend the decision to trade him away starts on Sunday, Sept 11, when they travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. Let’s see what the betting markets think of this matchup.
|Date & Time||Sun, Sept. 11, 4:25 p.m. ET|
Will the Chiefs Offense Still be Elite Without Hill?
The Chiefs made a big trade in the offseason when they unloaded Hill to the Dolphins for a haul of picks. Hill has obviously been a huge part of the Chiefs offense since he was drafted in 2016, and even more so once Patrick Mahomes became the starter.
In Mahomes’ four years as the Chiefs starting QB (taking out an injury-plagued 2019), Hill averaged 95 receptions for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns.
With that said, there is reason to believe the Chiefs offense will still be elite even without Hill. We have seen Mahomes play in four games in which Hill missed due to injury since 2019. Mahomes averaged 363 passing yards and two touchdowns per game in that span.
Admittedly a very small sample size, but still worth nothing. The Chiefs offense is also still ripe with talent. They have tight end Travis Kelce, who is at worst a top-two TE in the NFL. At receiver, they still have enough options in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and rookie Skyy Moore to believe they can withstand the loss of Hill.
They also have a top-10 offensive line according to PFF, and a solid set of running backs.
Either way, an offense that features Andy Reid at head coach and Patrick Mahomes at QB is unlikely to fall too far down the rankings. They also shouldn’t have many issues putting up points against a Cardinals defense that was surprisingly stout last year, finishing sixth in DVOA, but lost some talent from that side of the ball, namely defensive end Chandler Jones.
Can the Cardinals Keep it up for a Full Season?
The Chiefs opponent in this one is the Arizona Cardinals. There has been a ton of talk in the offseason around the Cardinals slow finishes to each of the last three seasons, and rightfully so.
The Cardinals finished last year with an 11-6 record and their first playoff birth in the Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray partnership. With that said, they started the year 10-2 and finished the year 1-5, including the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Those last six games featured some gross losses too, losing to the Lions by 18 and the Panthers by 24, and they weren’t even remotely close to being competitive in their playoff loss to the Rams. They were down 21-0 at halftime, and lost by a final score of 34-11.
Technically, they were a top-10 team according to DVOA because of their hot start, but if you look at weighted DVOA (which places more emphasis on games later in the season), the Cardinals were all the way down at 24th.
Luckily for the Cardinals, this is a Week 1 game, meaning how horribly they end the season won’t matter here. What we can count on, though, is for points to be scored.
The Chiefs defense is notorious for starting slow before figuring it out to end the season. Here are the point totals they gave up in the first five weeks of last season, starting with Week 1: 29, 36, 30, 30, 38. That is an average of 32.6 points per game.
The Chiefs are also known for starting off the season hot offensively. Here is how many points they scored in that same span: 33, 35, 24, 42, 20. That is an average of 30.8 points per game.
So, to summarize, the Chiefs’ games averaged over 60 total points through the first five weeks of the 2021 season.
The game total of 53 is a high number, the highest of all Week 1 games, but this is a spot in which I love backing the over.
Chiefs vs. Cardinals Betting Pick: Over 53 | -110 at Caesars
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