After a much-needed bye week, the Arizona Cardinals return to the gridiron this weekend.
Boasting the best record in the NFL, the Cardinals head to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears in Arizona’s third game against an NFC North opponent.
Unsurprisingly, considering Chicago’s struggles and cellar-dwelling record, legal sportsbooks in Arizona list the Cardinals as significant road favorites. Sure, the Bears come off a Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions. However, Chicago has not been playing well lately.
Both teams go into Week 13 with extra rest, so the expectation is that they should be ready to go. For the Cardinals, it’s all about health. On the other hand, the Bears are desperate to keep their season alive.
Arizona oddsmakers giving Cardinals the edge in Chicago
It will be a road trip to the midwest this week for the Cardinals, which means fans in the Grand Canyon State will need to have their TVs on earlier than usual. The Cards kick off in the early slate window of games on Sunday — a rarity for Arizona, which plays most of its games in the late window.
Despite the changes in time zone and start time, Arizona betting apps favor the Cardinals in this game at . That means, even with the Bears featuring a “home-field advantage,” oddsmakers expect Arizona to win by more than a touchdown with an over/under for total points at .
The Cardinals defense hasn’t allowed more than 17 points in five of their past seven games, and their offensive stars have had the bye week to get healthy. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has been dealing with an ankle injury he suffered against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 28, forcing him to miss Arizona’s past three games. However, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he’s “hopeful” Murray will be ready to go on Sunday.
Everything that was just said about Murray also applies to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has been out for the past month with a hamstring injury. Kingsbury said he wants to see both players move around, practice at full speed and see where they are at to gauge where their comfort level and their confidence is.
The Cardinals are 2-1 with Murray and Hopkins out of action. However, they’d obviously prefer to be at full strength as the Cards try to hold onto the top seed in the NFC over the final six weeks of the regular season.
Cardinals attempt to stay strong against the spread
The Cardinals have made a habit out of covering the spread this season. After 11 games, the Cards are 8-3 against the spread. Only the Green Bay Packers (10-2) have been better against the betting numbers this year.
Twice this season Arizona has been favored by 7.5 points or more. And both times they were able to cover, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road by 12 points in Week 3 and the Houston Texans at home by 26 in Week 7.
The team’s losses ATS came against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2 (-4), the Packers in Week 8 (-6.5) and the Carolina Panthers in Week 10 (-7).
Meanwhile, Chicago has struggled ATS, going 5-6 so far. After winning and covering their first two games this season at Soldier Field, the Bears have lost and failed to cover each of their past three games in front of their home fans.
Cardinals could be in for a rare cold weather game
The city of Chicago is famous for its harsh winters. That is not something most Arizonans are familiar with. In fact, it is something many residents are looking to avoid by moving to the Grand Canyon State. But Cardinals players could be up against Mother Nature as well as the Bears on Sunday.
The weather forecast a temperature around 38 degrees come kickoff time in Chi-town, with a high possibility of rain throughout the game. On top of that, it’s expected to be cloudy and windy.
The Cardinals have been fortunate so far this season when it comes to the weather. Out of the five outdoor games Arizona has played this season, only one was impacted by the weather as the Cards had to deal with windy conditions in their Week 6 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. In fact, the windy weather moved the Cardinals betting odds ahead of that game. The Cardinals-Browns over/under dropped from 53.5 to 48 based on the weather forecast.
Over the course of the week, the weather could play affect the odds ahead of the Cardinals-Bears game. So Arizona bettors will need to keep their eyes peeled and make sure the numbers, to paraphrase Dennis Green, are what you thought they were.
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Chicago Bears (4-7)
Date: Sunday, Dec. 5
Time: 11:00 a.m. MST
Location: Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois
TV Coverage: FOX