Let’s take a look at the best prop bets involving the Chiefs and Cardinals as both teams open the season against the other in Week 1.
It is here. It is finally here. The Kansas City Chiefs open up the 2022 season on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. After an offseason following what was arguably the most frustrating ending to a season since 2018, Chiefs Kingdom is geared up for yet another season opener.
With storylines like the Tyreek Hill trade and the 2022 draft building a multitude of narratives both for and against the Chiefs’ potential in the upcoming season, excitement is at an all-time high.
Alongside the vibes that come with a new year—and the challenges it presents—is a renewed energy towards the entirety of the upcoming NFL season and what it has to offer from a gambling perspective as well. I was proud to be a part of the sports betting niche at FanSided in 2021, and have long awaited the opportunity to share with you, Chiefs Kingdom, once again, my takes on where we can all find money throughout the 2022 season.
For the season opener in Phoenix, where the Chiefs are 5.5 point favorites and -230 straight up, there are three prop bets that we can all take part in on the journey into the new year.
The Kansas City Chiefs are 4-0 in week 1 games since Patrick Mahomes has taken the reigns as the signal caller. In those games, he has averaged 295.5 passing yards, has completed over 70% of his passes, and has accrued a 13/0 touchdown to interception ratio. The bottom line is that Patrick Mahomes shows up in Week 1 historically, and there is nothing to suggest a change in 2022.
Tyreek Hill is gone, and while he scored 4 touchdowns alongside an incredible 428 receiving yards in Week 1 games for the Chiefs since 2018, there is more than enough evidence to suggest Mahomes will find a way to succeed without him.
The all-new receiving corps is riddled with varietal talent, the running back room offers depth and variety for balance in the scheme, and ESPN ranked the Chiefs offensive line among the best in all of football this offseason. The Cardinals’ defense is limping into week 1 with a number of injuries, and recency bias suggests that Patrick Mahomes should be able to dice them up with his new toys on Sunday.
300 passing yards from 15 is a lock.
I know that there is a ton of hate that comes at folks who declare their praise for Mahomes at this point, but you just can’t argue with the numbers. He threw for 4 touchdowns in the 2018 opener and followed that with 3 TDs in 2019, 2020, and 2021 openers as well. To get positive odds on a number that the kid has never gone below in the first game of the year seems like a gift.
Taking these three prop bets as singles will be a lot of fun regardless, but the over 2.5 touchdown prop for Mahomes borderline feels like free money. You can chew me up in the comments if this misses, but boy howdy do I have history on my side right now.
It is so boring to focus exclusively on the QBs in Week 1, and I promise you more spice will come throughout the season, but at the end of the day, I’m just trying to make us all a couple of bucks on Sundays.
Kyler Murray has started week 1 for the Cardinals since 2019 and has averaged just over 41 rushing yards per game. In the 2019 opener, he only had 13 yards on the ground, and in 2021 he only had 20. He went nuclear rushing in week 1 of 2020–where he had 13 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown—so the “average” numbers are a bit skewed, but there are two reasons to suggest that Sunday will be a day of scrambling for Murray.
First of all, while the injury situation in Arizona appears to be less significant than it was originally believed to be—veteran TE Zach Ertz and WR Rondale Moore are expected to play—the running back tandem in Arizona is less impressive this year than it was in the last. That is not a slight to our man Darrell Williams, who signed with the Cardinals in free agency, but the previous No. 2 back in AZ was Chase Edmonds, a player who has taken over RB1 responsibilities for the Miami Dolphins and is being paid handsomely to do so.
James Conner was the NFL’s consensus RB5 per fantasy football standards last year but has a far less significant counterpart in Williams this season. Kyler Murray will have to pick up the slack with his dual-threat capabilities this year to maintain the Cardinals standing as a legitimate rushing threat. We’re likely to see some foreshadowing to that point in Week 1.
Even more confidence in the previous statement comes from my second point, which is the Chiefs’ vastly improved pass rush. We only have preseason reps from which to base our opinions, but it is hard to fall out of the sewer. The Chiefs’ pass rush was among the very worst in all of football last year, but the additions of George Karlaftis and Carlos Dunlap bring a greatly enhanced energy to the defensive line. They are sure to help a healthy Frank Clark and a hungry Chris Jones to return to peak form.
The Kansas City defense has as much—if not more—to prove as the new-look offense does in Week 1, and I expect an influx of pressures to flush Murray out of the pocket, forcing him into scrambling for yards on a number of occasions. A quarterback with his athletic stature, and a price tag like the one he has attached to him, will be making a push for the leading rusher for the Cardinals on Sunday—particularly since he is facing a defensive line with a chip on its shoulder.
I’ll be putting money down on each of these prop bets in Week 1, and will keep track of my success rate throughout the season here. Feel free to share each of your wins, losses, agreements, and arguments in the comments. I am so happy to have football back. Let’s go, Chiefs!
Which prop is your favorite?