On Monday night, it was reported that Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins was suspended six games for violating the league’s performing-enhancing drugs policy. While it’s clearly a brutal blow to the player and the team, we need to take a look at how six games without their stud might impact any NFL futures bets you can make on the Cardinals.
For starters, the suspension makes it a little clearer why Arizona felt the need to trade a first-round pick for wide receiver Marquise Brown on Thursday night. Brown will now sit atop the team’s wide receiver depth chart with A.J. Green and Rondale Moore rounding out the top three. Zach Ertz and second-round pick Trey McBride will also be involved in the passing game as the top two tight ends.
However, Arizona’s odds to win the NFC West have now dropped even farther and it’s not hard to see why.
Even though there are plenty of question marks around the San Francisco 49ers and what they plan to do with Jimmy Garoppolo and Deebo Samuel, it’s hard to see the Cardinals being a good bet here given the presence of the defending Super Bowl Champion Rams. The Cardinals only finished one game behind the Rams last year, and we even covered the Cardinals as a potentially strong bet to win the division prior to the suspension.
However, the wide receiver corps just doesn’t seem strong enough now. Brown and Moore are game-breaking, big-play talents, but they have not yet proved they can be consistent chain-moving threats, and Green is clearly on the downside of his career. Arizona could have some success in two-tight end sets, but the offense really struggled without Hopkins last year.
Arizona was 1-4 without its star wide receiver, averaging 18.8 points in the five games without Hopkins compared with 30.2 in games with him. I know they now have Brown, but they also lost Christian Kirk, so that’s not going to be enough to win this division.
Arizona Win Total 9.5 (-110)
As of Tuesday morning, Arizona still sits at a line of 9.5 total wins on the season, and I’d think long and hard about the under. I know they won 11 games last year, but we just covered how bad they were without Hopkins. If Arizona goed 2-4 or 3-3 without him in uniform, they would need to go 8-3 or 7-4 when he gets back to cover this bet, which doesn’t give them a lot of margin for error.