5 min read

Matchups Week 1: Cardinals vs. Chiefs

Aug 20, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass against the Washington Commanders during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

Spread: Cardinals +6

Game Total: 54

Team Totals: Cardinals (24), Chiefs (30)

Weather: Dome 

The Line Report

  • The current consensus spread is now Cardinals +6, with a few Cardinals +5.5 options available.
  • When this line first opened in mid-May, the Cardinals were a +2.5 to +3.5-point home underdog at various sports books.
  • The Cardinals have gradually become a larger home underdog this summer. This line was around Cardinals +4.5 just a few days ago.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em Pool has the Cardinals +3.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Cardinals +6.
  • The current consensus total for this contest is 54 points, with a few 53.5 options out there.
  • This total opened at 53 points at most locations. That number has moved to as low as 52, up to its current 54-point total over the course of this summer. 

Notable Injuries

Cardinals: WR DeAndre Hopkins (Out, suspension), WR Rondale Moore (Questionable), TE Zach Ertz (Questionable), G Justin Pugh (Questionable), C Rodney Hudson (Questionable), DL J.J. Watt (Questionable), Edge Markus Golden (Questionable), CB Trayvon Mullen (Questionable)

Chiefs: EDGE Frank Clark (Questionable)

The Cardinals Offense vs. the Chiefs Defense

There is no significant line play advantage on this side of the ball. However, if Cardinals guard Justin Pugh or center Rodney Hudson end up missing this contest, that will make handling stud tackle Chris Jones a more difficult task. Interior pressure gives all quarterbacks trouble, but elite athletes like Kyler Murray have an easier time extending away from a free edge rusher than they do against immediate interior disruption.

Notes and Observations

  • The Cardinals were 10-7 against the spread in 2021.
  • Arizona was 8-9 on overs in 2021.
  • The Cardinals were 5-2 against playoff teams last season.
  • Per The Edge, the 2021 Chiefs allowed the fifth most rushing yards to quarterbacks.
  • The Edge tabs Kyler Murray as having the fourth-most rushing yards among quarterbacks last season.
  • Per The Edge, the 2021 Chiefs allowed the 15th most receiving yards to both wide receivers and tight ends.
  • This offseason, the Chiefs indirectly swapped CB Charvarius Ward and S Tyrann Mathieu for rookie CB Trent McDuffie and S Justin Reid. That could easily be a short-term downgrade for Kansas City.
  • Per The Edge, the Chiefs surrendered the third most receiving yards to running backs last season.
  • If Zach Ertz and/or Rondale Moore end up missing this contest, Arizona running backs, led by James Conner, may see some role expansion in this matchup.
  • Murray’s college teammate Hollywood Brown would be in for a potential volume swell if Moore and/ or Ertz miss this contest. 

The Chiefs Offense vs. Cardinals Defense

Kansas City has a considerable line play edge on offense, as they are a top-ten caliber unit facing a bottom-tier Arizona front. That could give Kansas City a major advantage in pass protection and the running game.

Despite giving up the 13th-fewest yards to opposing wide receivers last year, Arizona has one of the weaker cornerback groups in the league. The departure of Tyreek Hill transforms what Kansas City is capable of on offense. The Chiefs' current group of wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, and rookie Skyy Moore may not have a more advantageous matchup all season than this one.

Notes and Observations

  • The Chiefs were 8-9 against the spread in 2021.
  • Kansas City was 10-7 on overs in 2021.
  • The Chiefs were 6-3 against playoff teams last season.
  • Per The Edge, the Cardinals gave up the fourth fewest yards to opposing tight ends last season.
  • Per The Edge, the Cardinals gave up the second-fewest yards to opposing tight ends in the slot last season.
  • The Edge has Travis Kelce as having the second-most receptions and the second-most yards among tight ends last season.
  • Per The Edge, the Cardinals gave up the 12th-most rushing yards and the 11th-most receiving yards to running backs last season.

This is What You’re Betting On in Cardinals vs. Chiefs

A bet on the Cardinals is a bet on Kyler Murray carrying this injury-riddled offense. Murray is inconsistent at times, but he’s capable of hanging with the very best when he’s on. If you’re betting on Arizona, you need their cornerback group to hold up against Kansas City’s new collection of wide receivers. You also need Arizona to keep being a problem for opposing tight ends. If you’re considering a bet on Arizona, be sure to check in on their injury report before kickoff. Arizona’s injury situation is a primary reason that this spread has pushed all the way to Cardinals +6. 

A bet on the Chiefs always starts as a bet on Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. Kansas City is positioned to enjoy a line play advantage on the offensive side of the ball in this contest. That could help their wide receivers exceed expectations against a very beatable group of Cardinals corners. A major issue with betting on the Chiefs now is you’ll be getting them at a worse line than you could have gotten just a few days ago. My biggest concern with a Chiefs play is Kyler Murray’s ability to carry his offense.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: For large winner pools with weekly payouts, it’s worth considering the Cardinals as a differentiator. In confidence pools you should consider the Chiefs as a mid, bordering on high option in your weekly rankings.

Spread Pool: We should expect the Chiefs to be very popular in tournaments where you can get their line at a value. In those situations, Kansas City will be in my pool of options in tournaments. In the DraftKings Pick’Em specifically where you can get Kansas City at +3.5, they are going to be an extremely popular option due the closing line value in this tournament. Those situations aren’t always automatic for me, but I expect to take Kansas City in that tournament under these conditions.

Survivor: I’d rather use the Chiefs later in the season.