The Arizona Cardinals are on the verge of going 3-0 for the first time in six years.
To accomplish that, however, the Cardinals must earn a win against the 0-2 Jacksonville Jaguars, with the two squads facing off on Sunday. Arizona sportsbooks have the Cardinals as 7- to 7.5-point favorites on the road.
The game, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Arizona time (1 p.m. EST), will be carried live nationally on FOX.
It will be the third Cardinals game since sports betting in Arizona went live, generating interest from NFL fans in the state along the way.
Cardinals Are Sizable Favorites
The Cardinals have a good shot at earning their third straight win to open the season, at least according to a trio of operators.
For those looking to make a moneyline bet, the Cardinals are listed at -380 at DraftKings, -333 at BetMGM and -375 at FanDuel.
Kyler Murray’s Hot Start
A major reason the Cardinals are on the verge of going 3-0 has been the play of third-year QB Kyler Murray.
Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy during his college career at Oklahoma, is among the MVP favorites at sportsbooks. Murray is atop the list at BetMGM (+550). At FanDuel (+600) and DraftKings (+750) he is tied with Tom Brady for second, behind Patrick Mahomes.
Murray has been phenomenal for the most part this season, completing jaw-dropping touchdown passes and torching defenses both through the air and on the ground.
Kyler Murray is a human cheat code. My goodness… pic.twitter.com/9wned4OpYC— Christopher Boan (@cgboan) September 19, 2021
The quarterback has completed 73.5% of his passes for 689 yards, with seven passing touchdowns to three interceptions.
His passing yards per game (344.5), completion percentage (73.5%), yards per attempt (10.1) and passing touchdowns per game (3.5) are all on pace to shatter his career-best numbers in each category.
Meanwhile, Murray has also gained 5.1 yards per carry on the ground and added two rushing scores.
Jacksonville’s Struggles This Season
The Jacksonville Jaguars, on the other hand, have had their share of struggles under first-year NFL head coach Urban Meyer.
The team’s No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, QB Trevor Lawrence, has only completed 50% of his passes (42-of-84) for 450 yards, and thrown more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4).
The Jags’ rushing game has been anemic, at best, averaging 75.5 yards per game in two losses to the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
Jacksonville’s ground game ranks 26th in the 32-team NFL, while the team’s defense is allowing the fourth-most total yards per game (423.5) of any team in the league.
Meyer’s defense may struggle to contain Murray and Arizona’s wideouts, given that Jacksonville is allowing 295.5 passing yards per game, 27th in the league.
Rondale Moore’s Fast Start
Perhaps the biggest surprise this season for the Cardinals’ offense has been the play of second-round pick Rondale Moore.
Moore, who was an All-American receiver at Purdue, leads the team in receiving yards (182) and catches (11) and has a receiving touchdown in two games.
The rookie wideout notched his first career 100-yard game against Minnesota last week, hauling in seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals’ 34-33 victory over the Vikings.
Moore should have plenty of opportunities to rack up yards on Sunday against a Jaguars defense that gave up 328 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Denver Broncos last week.
Whether Moore can follow the lead of Broncos wideout Courtland Sutton, who had a game-high 159 receiving yards on nine catches against Jacksonville in Week 2, is to be determined.
What does appear likely is that the rookie wide receiver’s role will only grow as he gets more and more comfortable playing under head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the Valley of the Sun.