Two teams with new starting quarterbacks meet when the Redskins and Cardinals open their 2018 campaigns with a Week 1 battle in Arizona. How does that fact play into our free NFL pick on this contest?
NFL Spread Action
Most Week 1 NFL betting odds opened this game as a pick ’em, with an over/under of 44. In early NFL betting action both those figures were holding steady.
Washington finished 7-9 last season (7-9 ATS) and missed the playoffs for the third time in four seasons under Coach Gruden. The ‘Skins started 3-2 last year, but a 2-6 stretch took them out of contention. And a season-ending loss to a bad Giants team kept Washington under a regular-season wins O/U of 7.5. Heading into this season, with expectations of more of the same, the Redskins are facing an O/U of 7.
The big news out of DC over the off-season was QB Kirk Cousins’ departure and the addition of former Chief Alex Smith (88-62 as an NFL starter).
Arizona, meanwhile, finished 8-8 last season (6-9-1 ATS) and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. The Cardinals started 4-4 but a 1-3 skid dropped them from contention and ultimately held them under their wins O/U of 8.5. Heading into this season, with diminished expectations, Arizona faces an O/U of 5.5.
Over the off-season the Cardinals lost Coach Arians and QB Carson Palmer, replacing them with Coach Wilks, Carolina’s former DC, and Sam Bradford. They also drafted QB Josh Rosen out of UCLA. As of this writing that spot is up for grabs.
The Redskins ranked 23rd in the NFL last year in total yardage at -23 YPG and 31st in total rushing at -43 YPG. And those numbers are more indicative of a 5-11 team, rather than one that went 7-9.
Arizona, meanwhile, is 6-0 both SU and ATS its last six games at home against teams from the Eastern time zone.
The Rivalry/Recent History
These two teams have split two meetings over the last two seasons. Two years ago Arizona won at home 31-23 while last year Washington won in DC 20-15. But Cousins, Palmer and Blaine Gabbert started those games at quarterback, and none of those guys will be at U of P Stadium Sept. 9.
Totals split 8-8 in Redskins games last year, which averaged 46 total points.
Unders played 10-6 in Cardinals games last year, which averaged 41 points.
Free NFL Pick
We give Washington the edge in the comparison of the quarterbacks, but Arizona is probably the better team overall. And it owns that nice run at home against teams making those long trips West. Despite the new coaching regime, which usually involves a learning curve, we’ll take the Cardinals here.
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