We are just one week into the NFL season, and Kyler Murray is already flipping the perception of the Arizona Cardinals.
Before Week 1, the talk was, “It’s a make or break year for Kyler,” and “Cardinals expected to finish last in the NFC West.” However, after the upset win over the Tennesse Titans, those statements have turned into questions: “Are the Cardinals for real? And is Murray an MVP candidate?”
The reality is that all of those statements can be true. The NFC West may be the toughest division in the NFL, and as a result, the Cardinals may miss the playoffs. At the same time, Murray could put up MVP-type numbers this season.
Yes, it has only been one week. But it was enough for the oddsmakers to give Murray and the Cardinals a second look.
Murray makes massive jump in MVP betting market
After a single week of the NFL season, QB-1 for the Arizona Cardinals is on everyone’s radar. And mobile betting apps in Arizona have taken notice.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook AZ, Kyler Murray is tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ Tom Brady for the third-best NFL MVP odds at . They are both behind the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes () and the Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford (). Meanwhile, BetMGM Arizona has Murray alone in second place at odds behind Mahomes, who is at .
Murray was dominant in Arizona’s 38-13 win over Tennessee, throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for another score. Murray was at +2500 before the season opener, making for one of the most significant jumps in NFL MVP odds.
The Kyler Murray effect on Arizona Cardinals betting odds
A win as an underdog against a playoff team in the Titans serves as a big step for the Cardinals. Heading into the 2021 season, Caesars Sportsbook set the over/under for the team at eight wins before the season started. Now it’s at 9.5.
Super Bowl odds for the Cards have moved a bit as well. Oddsmakers have set the line on the Cardinals winning the league championship at , an improvement from the +4500 line held by the team before Week 1.
Despite Murray’s ability to producing video-game style highlight-reel plays, the odds have not yet shifted in his team’s favor of being legit Super Bowl contenders. Arizona currently sits at to win the NFC West — the worst odds of any team in the division. All four teams in the NFC West won their season opener by at least 8 points.
In order to win MVP, you usually need to play for a team that makes the playoffs and wins 10-plus games. Only twice in the award’s history has the league MVP gone to a player whose team did not make the playoffs: Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts (1967) and OJ Simpson of the Buffalo Bills (1973).
So when looking at placing a bet on Murray to be the MVP, the Cardinals’ ability to become a playoff-caliber team may be the biggest roadblock rather than anything about Murray’s talent at quarterback.