Arizona and Kansas City both have new receivers and both teams will be looking to break them out when the Cardinals host the Chiefs.
However, the home team is the right choice for your Week 1 NFL picks. Let’s break down this great matchup for Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium
Things are not what they used to be in Kansas City. This team has changed quite a lot since that amazing win at Super Bowl LIV; it’s still the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes regime, but the supporting players aren’t the same – and it doesn’t look like the betting public is on top of things.
That’s judging by the NFL odds for Sunday’s matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have moved all the way to +4.5 at BetMGM after opening as 3-point home dogs, with the consensus reports at OddsTrader showing 55% support for Kansas City.
True, early money is supposed to be sharp money. And you can make the argument that K.C. had value at -3. But now that the lines have moved and the Cardinals are getting more than a field goal for their home opener? Not so much.
New Receivers for Kansas City
The biggest difference for the visitors is with their receiving corps, which no longer features Tyreek Hill catching long bombs. Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins this offseason for draft picks; he was seventh among wideouts on last year’s DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) charts at Football Outsiders.
There aren’t too many players in the league who can replace what Hill provided Kansas City – so they went and got two shiny new wideouts to do the job: JuJu Smith-Schuster (from the Pittsburgh Steelers) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (from the Green Bay Packers).
These are quality receivers when healthy, but since neither of them is as dangerous as Hill, Arizona’s defense can focus more on limiting TE Travis Kelce this Sunday.
More Talent for Cardinals, Too
Meanwhile, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray has a new receiver of his own in Marquise Brown, formerly with the Baltimore Ravens. Murray and Brown were teammates with the Oklahoma Sooners before being selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft – Murray first overall, and Brown at No. 25.
This is big for Arizona. They needed a new top wideout after DeAndre Hopkins was suspended for the first six games because of a PED violation. A.J. Green is back for another season and would have been a decent choice, but at this point in his career, he’s better off slotting in at No. 2 behind Brown.
The other big changes in Kansas City are on defense, where they needed a serious overhaul after falling to No. 24 in defensive DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) at Football Outsiders. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is one of the brightest minds in the business, but he has a lot of rookies to work with, especially at the corners – which is where Murray, Brown and the Cardinals can make hay this Sunday. Bet accordingly.
NFL Pick: Cardinals +4.5 (–110) at BetMGM