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Cardinals vs Commanders Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Like many of you, I had to do a triple take when I saw the Commanders as six-point favorites at home against the Cardinals in Week 1 of the NFL season. Is the new ownership worth that much to this betting line!?

OK, I kid. The absence of Kyler Murray due to a nagging knee injury has clearly ballooned this line early despite the question marks on the Commanders offense. But are we expected to lay six points with second-year quarterback Sam Howell with a brand new offensive coordinator?

It appears the market is saying “Yes” and that they trust Eric Bieniemy and the UNC standout to do just enough to take down the likes of Colt McCoy or David Blough. Leaning on their defense and returning former first-overall pick Chase Young, the new ownership group in DC isn’t expected to wait too long to pick up their first victory of the new regime.

Cardinals vs Commanders Odds

NFL odds used for this Arizona vs Washington preview were found at DraftKings Sportsbook and are current as of 8/11 at 8:00 pm ET.

  • Moneyline: Commanders (-250) • Cardinals (+205)
  • Spread: Commanders -6 (-110) • Cardinals +6 (-110)
  • Total Points: Over 40 (-110) • Under 40 (-110)
  • Implied Score: Commanders 23 - Cardinals 17

Cardinals vs Commanders Predictions

Score Pick: Commanders 23, Cardinals 13

Despite the hesitancy that many bettors will have in laying points with a second-year QB who’s proved nothing, the Commanders truly check every box in this matchup and deserve to be heavy favorites. For starters, training camp alone has shown new energy surrounding the franchise, and the atmosphere at FedEx Field should be one that this team hasn’t felt in a long time.

On offense, we have a wash at the QB and RB positions, as the combination of Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson should be able to match what James Conner can amass behind two below-average offensive lines. As for the pass-catchers, though, the Commanders hold a massive advantage in talent and depth, especially with Zach Ertz likely to miss the start of the season.

On defense, Arizona ranked in the bottom-12 in yards-per-game in 2022, and they’ve had to shake up a few key positions this offseason. Meanwhile, the Commanders ranked third in that same stat last year and show no sign of slowing down in 2023 with Young’s return.

The addition of Bieniemy further boosts the Washington coaching edge, and there’s just no reason to believe that the Cardinals will find a way to win this game, even if it’s on the lower-scoring end. But, of course, this is the NFL, and we’re talking about the Commanders here, so I suppose we should still beware of the unexpected.

Cardinals vs Commanders Best Bets & Props

Commanders -6 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

The breakdown of each positional group above is all you need to understand this play. Typically, backing so many question marks on offense to cover a near-touchdown spread is risky, but the number of skill players surrounding Howell and Bienemy’s experience help ease that concern.

Assuming the Cardinals aren’t gifted an early special teams or defensive score, the Commanders should be able to sit on their early lead, grind down the Arizona front seven, and eventually tack on a safety blanket score to extend their victory to double-digits.

HT/FT: Tie/Commanders (+1600)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.25 units

This one is just for fun, but there’s some tempting value here. If the Cardinals get that fluky early score, I could see a world where these teams go into halftime deadlocked at 10 apiece.

If that happens, you’re sitting on a gold mine ticket that you can hedge out of if you don’t want to sweat the second half. Because of how likely it is that Washington takes an early lead into halftime, I can’t recommend more than a quarter of a unit on this play. But the scenario is there for this thing to cash, and winning four units sounds great!

Under 40 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

When the time comes for first-half lines to be released, I expect I’ll adjust the NFL bet of the day to be the first half Under instead of this full game under. The number will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 18.5.

For now, it makes sense to highlight the Under as the best look for this game. The Commanders will be ultra-conservative with Howell in Week 1, especially at home, as favorites. The Cardinals will lean on Conner as their best, most trustworthy offensive weapon. This clock should run early and often.

Some points may start coming through at the end of the first half or in the 3rd quarter if Howell is looking comfortable early, but I expect a slow start thanks to the two defenses being the best units on the field. Barring any turnovers in a team’s own territory, we should get something like a 10-3 first half followed by the Commanders in full control the rest of the way and the Cardinals potentially stumbling upon a touchdown in garbage time.

Cardinals vs Commanders Same Game Parlay

Cardinals vs Commanders SGP (+130)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1.5 units

  • Leg 1: ARI Under 17.5 (-150)
  • Leg 2: Under 44.5 (-185)
  • Leg 3: WAS -0.5 (-235)

The combination of the above analysis clearly states why this three-leg same-game parlay makes sense for the predicted game script. Because the Commanders offense is the unit I trust the least, I took the spread out of the equation, just asking for a win.

This SGP is a teaser play, which I prefer when it becomes available. You would tease Washington down to -0.5 and the Under 46.5. We’ll follow up on that when we get closer to the opening weekend of the 2023 NFL season.

Author

Tommy Bell

Tommy Bell is a long-time season-long and daily fantasy sports analyst who has recently shifted gears to the sports betting world. He's spent many years writing for RotoBaller, SB Nation, and even a stint with USA Today Sports. During graduate school he spent time creating and publishing video content and podcasts for RotoBaller and RosterCoach. When Tommy's not teaching, coaching, or changing his daughter's diapers near Raleigh, NC, he's watching and analyzing sports. He dabbles in many areas but specializes in NFL, MLB, and PGA while really starting to expand his horizons to CFB and CBB. Tommy has also become a diehard Newcastle United supporter since the Premier League returned from its Covid pause. Howay the lads!

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