The Arizona Cardinals make their first NFL Playoff appearance in six years Monday night, and Arizona betting apps operators are ready for a windfall.
Oddsmakers at some of the preeminent sportsbooks think Monday’s contest has a chance to generate serious interest in the state and beyond.
The Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams kick off from SoFi Stadium at 6:25 p.m. Arizona time Monday on ESPN, capping the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend.
All Betting Eyes on Cardinals’ Playoff Contest
It appears Cardinals fans have weighed in early and often across multiple sites, betting the spread down from +4.5 for Arizona to +3.5 (-105) on DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona and FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona, and to +4 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook Arizona.
DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona has seen outsized demand for the Cardinals-Rams contest, according to longtime Director of Race & Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello.
Avello told BetArizona.com the operator has seen a huge Arizona NFL betting tilt towards the Cardinals, despite the team’s 1-4 stretch to close out the regular season.
“I think the fans are still locked in on them, and I think we’re seeing that the Arizona contingent’s going to bet on them big time,” Avello said. “I think the ticket count is probably going to be 90%/10%, in favor of (the Cardinals).”
The song remains the same over at Caesars Sportsbook, according to Craig Mucklow, who serves as the vice president of trading.
“The Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray betting bandwagon was in full force early and often early during the season,” Mucklow said in an email to BetArizona.com. “The team was one of the more popular Super Bowl bets before Week 1 and the betting public were spot on with their assessment of the Cards when winning their first 7 games. Each week their popularity grew both on gameday and for the NFC and outright title odds, making them top 5 in popular bets.”
Mucklow, like Avello, said public money has been in the Cardinals' corner, despite the team’s share of troubles down the stretch.
“Although they have struggled recently, our trading team isn’t overlooking the early season form or their ability to win on the road,” Mucklow added. “We expect to see more betting interest closer to game time on the Cards after their 37-20 drubbing of the Rams in Los Angeles in Week 4 combined with the memory of the week 14 loss. The result will give Arizona plenty of motivation, and our trading team is expecting a competitive run in the playoffs for this talented team as are the betting public.”
Kevin Hennessy, who serves as FanDuel Sportsbook’s director of publicity, said the New York-based operator is also expecting a flood of Cardinals fans this week in the leadup to Monday’s Wild Card clash.
So far, most of the public money in the Grand Canyon State has gone toward the Cardinals, Hennessy said, with little reason to believe much will change between now and Monday night.
“We are expecting a big majority will be on the Arizona Cardinals at kickoff for their opening NFL Playoff game,” Hennessy said in an email to BetArizona.com. “As it stands now in Arizona, we have 87% of bets and 75% of the money on the Cardinals moneyline, while the breakdown for spread sees 70% of wagers and 49% of the money on the Cardinals."
At FanDuel, 50% of the tickets and 45% of the national handle on Cardinals vs. Rams has come from the 48th State alone, Hennessy said.
Retail Sportsbooks Getting in on Cardinals Action
At least one retail sportsbook facility in the Phoenix area is getting in on the Cardinals action — Gila River Hotels & Casinos is hosting watch parties at each of its three sportsbooks.
The Gila River sportsbooks, which are partnered with BetMGM Arizona, will give away free Cardinals-branded facemasks and head bands to customers between Saturday and Monday, in addition to signs and special rally towels.
They’ll also feature the Cardinals-Rams game on the TVs at the sportsbooks located inside Gila River’s Wild Horse Pass, Vee Quiva, and Lone Butte facilities.
A Cardinals, NFL Success Story
For Avello and his team at DraftKings Sportsbook, Monday’s Cardinals-Rams clash is a fitting final chapter in what should be a weekend’s worth of can’t-miss NFL action.
“It’s kind of early, but we’re seeing a lot of Cardinals money across our whole network,” Avello said. “And as we get closer to Monday night, we’ve got a whole slew of great games prior to that. And those games are going to be bet heavily by Arizona patrons.”
Avello predicted the NFL’s first-ever, three-day Wild Card round will help operators like DraftKings Sportsbook to stay ahead in a crowded field of Arizona sportsbooks.
“We’re going to have some bigger bets that we’re going to take in, now that we’re in the playoffs,” Avello added. "So, it’s going to be an exciting weekend, with the Saturday games, with the Sunday games, and — for the first time ever — with that Cardinals-Rams game on Monday.
“So, the DraftKings app is a good one, as it’s going to have many options for Arizonans.”