Washington vs. Cardinals Odds & Pick: Arizona Should Cover This Big Week 2 Spread (Sept. 20)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray
- The Washington Football Team put together an impressive comeback victory in Week 1 against the Eagles.
- Has that result caused the market to overreact?
- Raheem Palmer thinks Arizona's offense should cause enough separation to cover the spread against Washington.
Washington vs. Cardinals Odds
After scoring 27 unanswered points to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Football Team fly west to take on the Arizona Cardinals, who are fresh off a 24-20 comeback victory against the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.
In a battle between two second-year quarterbacks in Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, oddsmakers opened the Cardinals as 6.5-point favorites over the Washington Football Team with a total of 45.5. Both the Cardinals and the over have taken some money as the line now sits at -7 and 46.5 at most sportsbooks (check our updated odds page to shop for the best number).
So where is the betting value in this matchup?
Let’s find out!
Washington Football Team
Washington’s pass rush is everything we expected it to be. With five first-round picks on in their defensive line, including the 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat, this unit is a force to be reckoned with.
In their Week 1 matchup against a depleted Philadelphia offensive line, they sacked Carson Wentz eight times, forced a fumble and their consistent pressure led to errant throws for two interceptions.
While Washington certainly did a good job keeping Wentz in the pocket, the Football Team will have their work cut out for them against Murray in Kliff Kingsbury’s fast-paced offense.
Washington’s secondary is still exploitable and if the defensive line can’t get to Murray, they could be in trouble.
Although the Washington Football Team scored 27 unanswered points to defeat the Eagles, the final score was a bit misleading. Washington’s offense struggled, only gaining 3.4 yards per play as Haskins threw for just 178 yards.
Washington’s rushing attack didn’t do much better. Rookie Antonio Gibson rushed for team high 36 yards on nine carries as the team’s committee of running backs struggled to the tune of 36 carries for 80 yards (2.2 yards per carry). It’s difficult to win a football game by 10 points when you only have 239 yards, and the result speaks to how their offense was largely fueled by turnovers and drives that started in Eagles territory.
Nevertheless, Washington has a talented trio of wide receivers in Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims Jr and Dontrelle Inman, but it remains to be seen if they can do anything against a Cardinals secondary the includes Patrick Peterson and Budda Baker.
With Arizona’s struggles in defending tight ends and rookie Isaiah Simmons still adjusting to the NFL, tight end Logan Thomas should have his opportunities.
The 49ers were a bit hamstrung in their Week 1 game due to the absence of starting wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in addition to the injury to George Kittle and yet they were still able to throw for 6.8 yards per attempt. The question is, can Haskins get the ball to his receivers?
According to Pro Football Focus, Washington’s offensive line allowed 17 pressures on 36 drop backs which is tied for the second-worst pass blocking efficiency in the league. In addition, Haskins ranked dead last in the NFL in time to throw with 2.25 seconds, per NFL Next Gen Stats.
If Washington can’t protect Haskins, it may have trouble keeping up with this high-powered offense.
The Cardinals are playing with a blistering pace offensively as they ran 41% of their offensive snaps in no huddle in their Week 1 matchup against the 49ers. Snap to snap, the Cardinals played at a pace of 23.28 seconds.
Why is this important? Playing an uptempo offense is one of your biggest advantages to help negate an elite pass rush. Against a 49ers defensive line featuring Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, Murray saw pressure on just 23.5% of his drop backs which was the eighth-lowest in Week 1 according to PFF.
In 2019, Murray was tied for the fifth-most sacks with 50, mostly due to him trying to extend plays. However during his Week 1 matchup against the 49ers, Arizona’s quick passing game worked to perfection as Murray’s average depth of target was 4.8 yards which was 28th in the league in the opening week.
It’s exactly the type of game plan you’d expect vs. an elite pass rush, and you have to feel good about their chances against a Washington defensive line that’s just as dangerous.
Murray finished with 230 yards and one passing touchdown while rushing for 91 yards, adding another touchdown on a 22-yard scamper through the ground.
Although many speculated DeAndre Hopkins wouldn’t see as many passes in this spread offense, he proved to be a worthy addition, catching 14-of-16 targets for 151 yards.
The Cardinals may have some issues defensively. Although they limited San Francisco to 20 points on the road, the 49ers only went 2-for-11 on third downs. Is that skill, luck or a product of the 49ers missing Samuel and Aiyuk? It remains to be seen.
Still, it’s fair to wonder if Haskins and Washington’s offense can do much better.
Washington’s comeback win against the Eagles has provided us with some value. What would this line be if Washington had not come back from 17-0 to score 27 unanswered points for a Week 1 win?
I think we’d be closer to 10 than 6.5/7.
Washington’s 27 points in Week 1 were a product of turnovers, which allowed the team to start drives in Eagles territory. NFL teams that win the turnover margin win the game 78% of the time.
The Eagles had a turnover differential of -3 last week and teams lose 97.3% of the time in that scenario. If it takes a total second-half meltdown and three turnovers for a team to win by just 10 points, it’s clear they’re not very good.
Coming off Cleveland’s 32-point loss to Baltimore, there was a Week 3 lookahead line on the Browns laying 5.5 points to the Washington Football Team. I think it speaks volumes about how oddsmakers see this 1-0 Washington team that they thought a 0-1 Browns team should lay 5.5 points to them.
Although Washington has an elite front defensive line, they don’t have the horses to keep up with Arizona’s offense. Lay the 6.5 points PointsBet is still offering.
PICK: Cardinals -6.5