By Ian James
Prior to the start of the 2008-09 NFL wagering season, all talks among the sports betting community included ”The Big Three” of New England, San Diego and Indianapolis. If you even mentioned Arizona while discussing the trio that owned every ounce of oddsmakers’ preseason respect, you probably became the brunt of many jokes around the water cooler. Until now!
It was no shocker when Arizona won the NFC West with a record of 9-7, which was the weakest division among the online NFL betting community, but for those who bought BetUS future tickets for the Cardinals to do so priced at +250 will take it!
If you bet on NFL and bought stock in Arizona at +2000 to win the NFC, congrats! The only future ticket left to cash for its die-hard supporters is the Super Bowl, which preseason BetUS NFL odds priced at +5000 to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And, with the way the Cardinals flew through postseason, why not?
As far as Super Bowl odds, The Cardinals are the BetUS underdogs against the Pittsburgh Steelers for Super Bowl XLIII, which should comes as no surprise considering Arizona isn’t supposed to be here and were underdogs in all three playoff games. They’ve defied all postseason odds in impressive fashion, having posted a robust 95 points combined (31.7 ppg), including a 33-13 road win over double-digit favored Carolina in the division round.
Arizona was able to score over 30 points in each playoff round thanks to a rejuvenated quarterback who’s performing like the Kurt Warner of old – not old as in 37-years-old. Warner owns a playoff-best QB rating (112.1), second-most yards (770), highest completion percentage (63.3) and most touchdowns (8).
Also, give credit to Edgerrin James, who stepped up once given the chance to run the ball, and Larry Fitzgerald that’s making a strong claim as the best wide receiver in the league. James leads postseason rushers with 203 yards on 52 carries. Fitzgerald collected 419 receiving yards in the playoffs, breaking the single-season mark held by Jerry Rice.
That combination, along with an defense that’s quietly flying under the postseason radar, has the Cardinals in the Super Bowl for the first time in their history. During the postseason, the unit held its opponents to a solid 20.7 ppg. That’s a much needed improvement compared to a regular season defense that allowed 26.6 ppg.
Stretching from the team’s formation in 1898 in Chicago to its current location in Phoenix, before this year the Cardinals had one winning season in 21 years. The franchise last won an NFL title in 1947 when they were known as the Chicago Cardinals, ending the second-longest drought in North American sports history.
Millions of Americans will have financial interest in Super Bowl XLIII, whether they wager online in the BetUS sportsbook or simply buying a square or two in the office pool. But who would of thought Arizona was going to be half of the equation?
“I want to say Arizona Cardinals and Super Bowl in the same sentence. I like the sound of that. We felt like our backs have been against the wall because nobody gave us a chance. We’re one step away from our goal.”