Chiefs at Cardinals – Week 1 NFL Pick ATS – 9-11

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The NFL season kicks off for both teams in the desert, with the Cardinals hosting the Chiefs in a non-conference affair. The Chiefs have the second-best betting odds to win the Super Bowl, and with Patrick Mahomes and company, it is no surprise the team is a road betting favorite.

The Chiefs are a 5.5-point road favorite in this game with the total sitting at 53.5. The public has backed KC in this game, as they opened as a 3-point favorite and are now a 5.5-point favorite as of Thursday.

Last season the Chiefs were 10-10 ATS with an O/U record of 12-8, and the Cardinals were 10-8 ATS with an O/U record of 8-10.

The Chiefs started slowly last season but finished strong and were upset in the AFC title game, falling to the Cincinnati Bengals. The squad lost star WR Tyreek Hill but they signed two veteran receivers, and the defense added a lot of young players.

The Cardinals finished 11-6 last season, and while they made the playoffs, they were throttled by the L.A. Rams in the Wild Card game. The team broke the bank to sign QB Kyler Murry, and while they signed some free agents, many experts think the team will digress with the players they lost.

Mahomes Has New Weapons

While the Chiefs traded away star WR Tryeek Hill, they did go out and get a couple of solid veterans in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Still, can they replicate the 111 catches that Hill had last season as Mahomes’ security blanket? At least star TE Travis Kelse is back and healthy, and the offensive line is a pretty good one.

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire will share time in the backfield with newcomer Ronald Jones III. While the passing game gets all the hype, with good reason, KC ranked a respectable eighth in the league last season in rushing yards per game.

The KC defense was pretty good against the run last season but struggled mightily against the pass early on. While the secondary got better, they lost three starters from that unit and went to the draft and free agency to address that need.

Gunning for Two in a Row 

The Cardinals ended their six-year playoff drought last season, but can they make it to the post-season two years in a row? Unlike the last couple of seasons, the team did not make any big-name acquisitions but re-signed some key players such as TE Zach Ertz, RB James Conner, and WR A.J. Green.

The WR corps is a good one, but #1 WR DeAndre Hopkins is out for the first six games of the season after being suspended for PED use. That puts more pressure on Murray, who has been sacked over 100 times in the last three seasons.

Arizona has a lot of youth on the defensive side of the ball. Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons are a couple of former first-round picks that have not panned out yet, and the team is banking they can lead the defense. However, there is a lot of youth, J.J. Watt can’t seem to stay healthy, and Chandler Jones is gone. A lot of question marks for the Cardinals’ defense, to say the least.

Key Betting Trends

KC is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall
KC is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite

Arizona is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog
1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall
0-5 ATS in their last 5 home games

The Prediction

The home team has covered the spread in five of the last six games between these teams, but don’t look for that trend to continue. KC plays in the toughest division in the NFL in the AFC West and every out-of-division game is a huge one. Mahomes started slowly last season but will play well in this game, facing an Arizona team with some major issues on the defensive end of the ball.

Murray will be ok, and the Cardinals will get some points, but with their D, there is no way they can keep up with Mahomes and company. The Chiefs will take control of this game early, and while they will not blow out the talented Cardinals, they will get the W and cover the spread giving 5.5 points.

PICK: Chiefs -5.5

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