Bills vs. Cardinals Odds & Picks: How To Bet On An Undervalued Arizona Team
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray
Bills vs. Cardinals Odds
An inter-conference matchup between two likely playoff teams will take place on Sunday afternoon when the Cardinals host the Bills.
The Cardinals lost a heartbreaker to the Dolphins at home last week, but enter this contest as short favorites against the 7-2 AFC East-leading Bills, who are trying to build on some momentum after a Week 9 win over Seattle in which quarterback Josh Allen could do no wrong, throwing for more than 400 yards.
This matchup has the highest total of Sunday at 56.5 (compare real-time odds here), and both offenses should continue their dominance while each defense battles the injury bug.
Allen has progressed quite nicely in his third season and has cemented himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.
With the addition of Stefon Diggs and the strong play calling from offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, the Bills offense has transformed and become a downfield threat. Allen’s completion percentage is up more than 10% from 2019 and the offense is fifth in points per drive with 2.88 each time they set up shop.
Buffalo has seen totals surpass the 50-point mark in five of its nine games this season.
This defense is simply not as good as last season’s unit.
The Bills are allowing 5.8 yards per play, which ranks in the bottom half of the league only a season after placing in the top five (4.9 yards per play). Injuries have also played a factor: Stud linebacker Matt Milano has been in and out of the lineup while their best corner, Tre’Davious White, has dealt with his fair share of injuries.
The loss of Milano, who was placed on injured reserve this week, has really hurt in the middle of the field and his absence may be felt even more on Sunday.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has been running around defenses all season and is on pace for more than 1,000 rushing yards at the halfway point this season, and Milano won’t be on the field to put a spy on the dual-threat quarterback.
While Bills head coach Sean McDermott has a host of experience dealing with mobile quarterbacks — he was the defensive coordinator for the Cam Newton-led Panthers from 2011 to 2016 — it has not mattered this season. Newton ran for 54 yards on nine carries against the Buffalo in Week 7.
Plus, Murray has been held to fewer 50 yards only twice this season. This will be a tough spot for the Bills to try to stop his offensive assault.
Murray has been a star this season, but the rest of the offense has chipped in as well. DeAndre Hopkins is outplaying his trade value from the offseason deal with the Texans, and fellow wide receivers Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald are playing at a high level, as well.
Sharing the backfield with Murray is running back Chase Edmonds. The Fordham grad has filled in nicely for the injured Kenyan Drake and may be outperforming him. Edmonds is just slightly better in terms of successful rush rate (47% vs. 46%), but Edmonds has also been a threat in the passing game, catching 29 passes compared to Drake’s seven.
With Murray calling the shots, no number is too high for the Cardinals to reach — the club has scored 30 or more points in four straight games. However, the defense is coming into this one banged up.
Budda Baker did not practice all week, but defensive coordinator Vance Joseph says he is expected to play. That’s the hope, because backup safety Deionte Thompson has also been on the injury report all week and will be a game-time decision. The team will also be without defensive end Jordan Phillips, who has been out of practice all week with a hamstring injury.
With Arizona’s weakened pass rush and hobbled secondary, Buffalo’s top-three explosive pass offense may have a field day.
We know that both these teams can score — Buffalo may be top three in explosive pass rate, yet Arizona counters with a top-three explosive rush rate, and neither has the defense at the moment to contain the opposition.
I do lean with the Cardinals to get a home victory and to sell high on Allen and the Bills offense after a career performance last Sunday. However, the line has drifted to -2.5, which I would not play. I would wait for this to die back down to -2 or better on Sunday.
Another way to play Arizona, and what I have locked in, is the team total over at 28.5, which is widely available as of writing. Simply put, Murray and the Cards offense get into the end zone — they are scoring a touchdown on more than 33% of drives this season, according to Football Outsiders. And with the Bills down Milano at linebacker, I see Murray having another field day.
The full game over is a fine play for me. I see this one coming down to which team has the ball last, but I’m playing the Cardinals team over as a way to side with Arizona. I think the Cards are being undervalued at home based on the factors I laid out above.
PICK: Cardinals Over 28.5 (to 29.5)