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Arizona Cardinals Odds Preview

Has any team seen its Bodog.com NFL odds plummet more than the Arizona Cardinals have this offseason? After two seasons atop the NFC West, including a Super Bowl berth in 2008, the Cards found their roster gutted this offseason.

No more Kurt Warner. No more Anquan Boldin. No more Karlos Dansby. Can the Cards hold on to the division with such important pieces gone? Odds to Win Division at Bovada: +225 Regular Season Win Total: 7.5 (OV -145, UN +115) Super Bowl Odds: 55 to 1 Irreplaceable. Can another word better describe Kurt Warner relative to Arizona’s offense? The ageless wonder finished his career a borderline Hall-of-Fame candidate and was the driving force behind Arizona’s offense for the last several seasons. Matt Leinart was supposed to be the answer when the Cards drafted him out of USC but Warner quickly stole the job from him. Now, Leinart gets another shot to prove he can be a competent NFL quarterback...we think. Turns out Ken Whisenhunt isn’t 100 per cent sold on Leinart yet; he’s “opened” the position to competition between Leinart and new arrival Derek Anderson.

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Whoever takes snaps for Arizona will have the amazing Larry Fitzgerald catching passes along with capable Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, but losing the tough, sure-handed Anquan Boldin to Baltimore will sting. With their passing game all but guaranteed to regress, the Cards will run the ball more this season. Chris “Beanie” Wells is supposed to be their star back of the future but Whisenhunt has been reluctant to hand over the reins, instead mixing in the steady but low-ceilinged Tim Hightower.

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Arizona’s defense was just an average group last year despite boasting several good athletes, including Adrian Wilson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the secondary plus Karlos Dansby at linebacker. Now that Dansby is a Miami Dolphin, the Cards’ run defense could struggle; their pass “D” also got torched for big plays often in 2010. Suddenly, betting over 7.5 wins doesn’t look like such a sure thing, does it? Arizona’s schedule, however, could be a saving grace. It gets quite a few duds this season, including the Rams twice, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Denver. Even the Seahawks (twice) aren’t a major challenge. In the NFC West, anything is possible, so bettors can’t count the Cardinals out. But winning the title will be a heck of a lot tougher this season with several star players gone and divisional rivals like San Francisco improving quickly.