The Arizona Cardinals have been the best bet against the spread. Flickr/
The Arizona Cardinals have been the best bet against the spread. Flickr/

Shame on us for forgetting how good Arizona was last year to begin the season.

With a little health, the Cardinals were not only the best team in the NFC, but the best in the NFL during the first 10 games last season. Arizona was 9-1 straight up to open the 2014 season.

Seven of those nine wins were by a touchdown or more.

By season’s end, the Cardinals were a different team without an injured Carson Palmer at quarterback. This season, with a healthy Palmer, the Cardinals have been unstoppable on both ends of the field.

Arizona is undefeated against the spread and straight up, and has won by an average of 22 points per game against the spread. That number is more than 11 points better the second-best team, Buffalo, at 10.8 points ATS.

So, we shouldn’t be surprised with Arizona, especially with the competition. San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans are a combined 1-8 overall this season.

We’re not sure how much more we’ll find out this week as the Cardinals host St. Louis and have opened as a six-point favorite.

Here are the other surprises and disappointments so far in the 2015 NFL season.

The Tennessee Titans have been a surprise against the spread this season. Flickr
The Tennessee Titans have been a surprise against the spread this season. Flickr

Tennessee, 2-1 ATS

Tennessee may only be 1-2 overall this season, but there’s definite improvement after netting two wins last season.

The Titans are 2-1 against the spread and have a recorded a plus-6.3 mark against the spread so far this season.

Last year, the Titans mustered a 3-12-1 mark against the spread, losing by an average of 6.9 points per game last season against the spread. The Titans also lost by an average of 11.5 points per game last season, the worst mark in the league by more than a point.

Through three weeks, it does appear the Titans have gotten better on both sides of the ball. The Titans will go through an early bye week this week, but will return to the field at home against Buffalo on Oct. 11.

New Orleans, 1-2 ATS

Oddsmakers continually put New Orleans in the category of elite, when in reality, it should be toward the bottom tier.

The Saints are once again below .500 against the spread, and if it hadn’t been for a late line movement last week, New Orleans would be 0-3. This is now the second straight year the Saints have found themselves as a bad bet against the spread.

New Orleans was 6-10 against the spread last season, losing by an average of 5.9 points per game against the spread.
The Saints have aged, and if Drew Brees continues to be injured, oddsmakers should adjust the spread accordingly.

In a battle of injured teams, the Saints opened as seven-point favorites at home against Dallas on Sunday night.

Cincinnati, 3-0 ATS

Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised with this entry.

But the Bengals opened as only 3.5-point favorites at Oakland to begin the season. Cincinnati dominated in week 1, and then eeked out covers in weeks 2 and 3.

The Bengals are winning by an average of 8.3 points per game against the spread, and have done it so far against two teams that have showed success in the past, San Diego and Baltimore, and one team that is currently 2-1 overall in the Oakland Raiders.

Despit the optimism, let’s not forget about last year after three games. The Bengals opened with a road win against Baltimore, and followed that up with two home game wins by two touchdowns or more against Atlanta and Tennessee teams that at that point, were still supposed to be decent.

After that, the Bengals were still good, but not the dominant team against the spread. After starting the season 3-0 against the spread in 2014, the Bengals finished 5-8-1 against the spread.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Bengals as the season progresses, but once again for the first three weeks, the Bengals have been one of the best teams in the NFL.

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