The Arizona Cardinals kick off a high-pressure season with a tough test on the road. The Cards head to Nashville to take on the Tennesse Titans in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season.
These are two teams with high aspirations this year. After back-to-back playoff appearances, the Titans have their eyes on a Super Bowl title. Coming back from last season’s disappointing exit in the AFC Wild Card round, the team made major additions on both sides of the ball, headlined by the acquisition of All-Pro wideout Julio Jones.
On the other side, not many have pegged the Cardinals as a Super Bowl pick. However, the team still has pressure to succeed in what could be a make-or-break year for the head coach and starting quarterback. Arizona has not made the playoffs since the 2015 season. And the first step to changing that won’t be an easy one.
On the other hand, the game presents a ton of intriguing Arizona Cardinals betting options for eager sports bettors looking to cash in on the first weekend of legalized wagering in the Grand Canyon State.
AZ sports betting oddsmakers: Cardinals fall to Titans in shootout
As noted earlier, both the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans made major acquisitions in the offseason. Both teams have questions on defense which could make this game a treat for daily fantasy players.
After all, offensively, Arizona wants to spread it out and play an up-tempo style. Meanwhile, Tennessee wants to run downhill and control the ball with their workhorse running back Derrick Henry.
According to DraftKings Arizona, Tennessee is favored on the moneyline (to win straight-up) at . On the flip side, Arizona goes into opening week as a underdog.
So, bet $160 to win $100 on a Titans victory and $100 to rake in $140 on a Cardinals win.
Throughout the state, Arizona mobile betting apps agree that the Cards will need to pull of an upset to start the season victorious.
High-scoring, sure, but close nonetheless
Titans are favorites against the spread at +100. So if the Titans win by more than three points, a $100 bet would bring in another $100. Conversely, the Cardinals against the spread sit at . So if they win the game or lose by no more than three points, a $120 ATS bet on Arizona would win $100.
These odds show that the oddsmakers are expecting a close game.
The sportsbooks also expect both teams to light up the scoreboard. The over/under for the game is set at 52.5 points. That means betters are looking forward to touchdowns galore from these two high-powered offenses.
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans: What to watch for
Date: Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021
Time: 10:00 a.m. MST
Location: Nissan Stadium — Nashville, TN
TV Coverage: CBS
The Cardinals sports a stacked receiving core, headlined by DeAndre Hopkins alongside Christian Kirk and veteran newcomer AJ Green. That means plenty of places for quarterback Kyler Murray to throw the ball and open things up for the former Heisman Trophy winner to use his legs.
On defense, Arizona’s bread and butter is getting to the quarterback. The team brought in longtime Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt to take some attention away from pro bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones. But it may be up to rookie linebacker Zaven Collins to help shore up a run defense that struggled last season. The Cards gave up over 125 yards per game on the ground. That ranked 22nd in the league.
Meanwhile, with Henry leading the charge, Tennessee had the second-ranked rushing offense in the NFL last year at over 168 yards per game. And adding a star wideout like Jones could make things easier for fellow receiver AJ Brown and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
If the Cardinals hope to leave Nashville with a win, they may need to match the Titans score for score. Arizona ranked 10th in the NFL in red-zone offense last season, scoring at a 65.5% clip. They will go up against the 30th-ranked red-zone defense from a year ago, with Tennessee letting up red-zone scores 69.2% of the time.