NFL Preseason Betting: Improved Cardinals Host Rookie Heavy Chargers
The San Diego Chargers were once a lock for the playoffs each year until management decided to change things up in the coaching department. They routinely had double digit win totals, and with some of the key players from those teams still around as well as some key rookies, they are a dark horse candidate to make the playoffs once again after their recent drought. The Arizona Cardinals started off the 2012 season hot, but once their offense kept faltering they fell to the bottom of the NFC West. This year the division will be tough with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, but with a new quarterback in town and one of the best defenses in the league they could be a sleeper team for many sports gamblers.
San Diego Chargers @ Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium -- Glendale, AZ
Odds: Cardinals -4
What To Watch For From The San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are one of the few teams who drafted three straight players who will play a key role in the regular season. D.J. Fluker will be an immediate starter on the offensive line, and Manti Te’o, despite the criticism is one of two current starting inside linebackers. The team’s third round pick of Keenan Allen will be added to Phillip Rivers’ weaponry along with the already in place Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd. While Allen will need to use the rest of the preseason to prove he is a valuable receiver, he will continue to get reps returning punts which is where he could make an impact early. The Chargers weak spot last season was their defense, but now with Te’o in the middle they hope that changes as their offense is filled with veterans who are ready to win now meaning the pressure in this game will be on the defense to prove they can at least stop the Cardinals’ below average offense.
What To Watch For From The Arizona Cardinals
The newest and most important member of the Cardinals offense this season will be quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer had a solid 2012 season in Oakland throwing for over 4,000 yards, and now with Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal the expectations from sports books is for him to look even better in his 11th season. The offensive line play of the Cardinals held their already struggling offense back last season, and hopefully the drafting of Jonathan Cooper in the first round can solve some of those problems so they don’t lead the league in sacks given up once again. One defensive player to keep an eye on is rookie Tyrann Mathieu who has already made an impact this preseason, and as both a safety and cornerback he could be a pivotal player for them this season.
The Cardinals should have an improved offense this season that gets better week after week as Palmer gets more comfortable with his new team. Rashard Mendenhall will be a key player running the ball as last season they went through a handful of running backs none of which could solidify their spot as a starter in the backfield. The Chargers still have the more well rounded offense, and if they can play solid defense and put pressure on the quarterback they should emerge victorious which is why they are my sports betting pick to win this game.