The Arizona Cardinals managed to snap a half-decade NFL playoff drought in 2022, thanks to quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Fast-forward six months, and half of that combo appears set for a solid second act while the other sits out six games due to a performance-enhancing drugs suspension.
Murray, who threw for a career high 3,787 yards and 24 touchdowns a year ago, will be back for his fourth season in the Valley after agreeing to a five-year contract extension worth $230.5 million just days before training camp opened.
Hopkins, however, will be forced to sit out a sizable chunk of the Cardinals season, barring a last-minute reprieve from an arbitrator.
With Hopkins out, it shouldn’t be a surprise tight end is the most searched position battle by Cardinals fans heading into training camp.
Arizona tight end Zach Ertz finished with more receiving yards than Hopkins last year (574 vs. 572) and 17 more receptions (81 vs. 64).
BetArizona.com utilized Google Trends to find the top-three most searched position groups over the past 30 days heading into training camp. Positions with obvious starters were eliminated.
After determining the groups, BetArizona.com utilized Google Trends to find how much each player in that position group is being searched over the past week.
Cardinals Most Searched Position Battles
- Tight ends
Here’s a further breakdown of the tight end battle and where the Cardinals stand with Arizona sportsbooks.
Arizona Search Rankings for Cardinals TEs
Breaking Down the Position Battles
For the Cardinals, fans’ interest in whether Ertz can hold off 2022 second round draft pick Trey McBride out of Colorado State and remain Arizona’s No. 1 tight end is the top search topic.
McBride finished his four-year run in Fort Collins with 164 catches, 2,100 yards, and 10 touchdowns, and possesses the right combination of height (he’s 6-foot-4) and heft (260 pounds) to excel in the Cardinals’ spread passing game under coach Kliff Kingsbury.
He enters training camp battling with veteran Maxx Williams to get snaps as the team’s No. 2 tight end — the seventh-year tight end appeared in 16 games last season.
The other position groups that interest Cardinals fans the most, according to Google Trends, are the team’s defensive backfield.
The Cardinals will have No. 1 cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (who had a team-high four interceptions in 2021) and safety Budda Baker (three interceptions) back this season, though veterans like Chris Banjo, Robert Alford and Kevin Peterson remained unsigned entering camp.
Arizona finished last season ranked seventh in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (214.4), while snatching 13 interceptions (good for 16th in the league).
Having Murphy and Baker back in the fold could be a key to unlocking more turnovers for Vance Joseph’s unit this fall.
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Super Bowl Odds
Cardinals in Middle of Super Bowl Betting Pack
BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook Arizona are not counting on Kingsbury’s team to have much success sans Hopkins.
Both operators have the Cardinals in the middle of the pack it comes to Super Bowl betting in Arizona, listing the team as a longshot to knock off the L.A. Rams and San Francisco in the NFC West.
At BetMGM, the Cardinals are listed at +3000 to win Super Bowl LVII, which is tied with Cleveland and Tennessee for 14th.
As far as divisional odds are concerned, Arizona is listed at +300 to win the West, behind the Rams (+120) and 49ers (+200).
For those looking to do some Arizona NFL betting on the Cardinals to win the NFC outright, BetMGM has Arizona at +1400, with the franchise ranking seventh out of 16 teams.
Over at Caesars Sportsbook Arizona, the Cardinals are listed at +3500 to capture their first Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium in February, ranking 15th in the NFL.
The Emperor has Arizona at +1500 to win the NFC (seventh overall) and +300 to win the NFC West (third, behind L.A. at +135 and San Francisco at +180).
Additionally, Caesars Sportsbook Arizona pegs the Cardinals win total over/under at 9 in 2022, with the over listed at +110 and the under at -130.
More Cardinals to Watch in 2022
While the Cardinals’ Super Bowl LVII and divisional odds aren’t necessarily rosy, the same can’t be said of Murray.
The former Heisman Trophy winner is listed at +2200 in NFL MVP betting at Caesars Sportsbook Arizona, coming in behind Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson and ahead of Cleveland signal-caller Deshaun Watson (+3000).
Murray ranks 11th on the operator’s MVP odds board. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen (+700) is the current favorite, just ahead of Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes (+800).
Aside from Murray, keep an eye on receiver Marquise Brown, who the Cardinals traded for on NFL Draft night for the team’s first-round pick.
Brown has more than 2,000 receiving yards and 317 receptions in his three-year NFL career and is coming off his first 1,000-yard season in 2021.
The former Oklahoma Sooner will be tasked with shouldering the load out wide with Hopkins out six games.
Leading rusher James Conner is also back with the Cardinals after scoring 15 touchdowns and gaining more than 750 yards a year ago.