A historic start to the season (that and general scheduling) certainly earned a week off for the Arizona Cardinals.
Such is the case in Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season, as the NFC West-leading Cardinals enjoy a bye in the schedule. Fans of the Red Sea will have to entertain guests this Thanksgiving weekend with something else.
And sports bettors in the Grand Canyon State will have to find other games on which to wager. Raiders-Cowboys on Turkey Day, perhaps? Rams-Packers on Sunday?
However, this is a great time to look at all the Cardinals futures bets we’ve been tracking. This season has been an unexpected fun ride for fans. It could lead to a deep postseason run for the Cardinals. And it could lead to a big payday for bettors.
Arizona Cardinals: From preseason pretenders to Super Bowl contenders
The Arizona Cardinals have not been to the postseason since 2015. Most people figured that the playoff drought would continue in 2021.
Before the season started, DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona had the odds on the Cardinals winning the 2022 Super Bowl at +4500. You would have found similar offerings on other AZ betting apps. Similarly, Caesars Arizona set the over/under at eight wins. In a 17-game regular season, that would land the team under .500.
In other words, oddsmakers did not have much faith in the Cards having a successful season. However, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the rest of the team had other ideas. Arizona has shocked the football world, going 9-2 in their first 11 games and claiming the top spot in the NFC West at the bye week.
Those bettors who put money down in the preseason on the win total ‘over’ got a nice holiday gift with the Cardinals beating the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11. If you still want to cash in on a Cards win total futures bet, the team’s over/under for wins is now at .
Meanwhile, Arizona’s Super Bowl betting odds have skyrocketed to . That puts them near the top with the other contenders in the NFC that includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams.
NFC West: Started from the bottom, now AZ is here
Heading into the season, most sportsbooks figured Arizona would finish last in the NFC West. You might have seen the Cardinals sitting at +600 to win the division at the time — behind the three other teams in the NFC West.
Fast-forward to Week 12, the Cardinals are not only sitting atop the division, but the team also leads the entire conference. Right now bettors can find odds on the Cardinals winning the NFC West at .
At the same time, sportsbooks peg Arizona to win the NFC and reach the Super Bowl at .
What’s strange is that some sports betting sites give the Rams better odds to make it to — and even win — the Super Bowl than the Cardinals. Los Angeles has made some significant additions to its roster, bringing in pass rusher Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. On the other hand, there is a sense that those odds are based on the Rams’ previous track record of playoff appearances.
Yet Arizona is dealing with a load of injuries to key players. Quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins have missed the last three games, and defensive leader JJ Watt is out for the rest of the season. However, that means the Cardinals’ bye week could not have come at a better time. It gives the team a week to rest up and heal up before the final six games.
Top 3 Cardinals chasing NFL awards
Surely the Cardinals are more focused on finishing the season strong than winning any individual awards. But some good performances late in the season could put several of them in line for some prestigious honors.
Coach of the Year: Kliff Kingsbury
Kingsbury is leading a team that easily exceeded preseason expectations. The Cardinals have the best record in the NFL. That includes the team winning two its last three games without its starting quarterback and its best wide receiver.
Clinching a winning season so early in the 2021 campaign has pushed Kingsbury to the top of the Coach of the Year conversation. According to DraftKings, he is the slight favorite to win the award at +400. The man that is right behind him could be the greatest coach of all time, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots at +500.
Most Valuable Player: Kyler Murray
Even though he has missed the last three games, Kyler Murray can still make a case for the Most Valuable Player award. Right now, Murray’s MVP odds are at .
There will be another week of NFL action before Murray can continue building his MVP resume on the field. However, no one has separated themselves above the other contenders for the award. So if Kyler plays well in these last six games, he can quickly surge right back to the top.
Offensive Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year: James Conner
That’s right. Two awards for running back James Conner.
He did find the end zone one time in this past week’s game. However, he lost his lead in total rushing touchdowns due to the amazing four TD performance from Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts. Conner now has the second-best odds to lead the league in rush TDs, with the odds set at .
Conner has a shot to win some other hardware. He is also a contender for Offensive Player of the Year. Those odds are at . His odds to win Comeback Player of the Year are at .