Since Ron Rivera took over as head coach of the Washington Commanders, he generally has been regarded as a stabilizing influence within a problematic franchise.
When Rivera arrived, the team was foundering on the field. But perhaps more important, the organization was hit by allegations of sexist misbehavior under the ownership of Dan Snyder, who has recently agreed to sell the franchise.
Of course, the thing that has been under the coach’s control is the actual play. In that regard, Rivera has kept the team from completely falling apart – and at times rewarded the team’s Virginia sports betting backers – despite a continuing turnover at quarterback.
Washington Commanders Bad Starts Derailed Previous Seasons
Over three seasons with Rivera, Washington is 22-27-1 with one playoff appearance. Along with the quarterback turnover, the Commanders have had dreadful starts to their seasons, going 1-5, 2-6 and 1-4 to start their campaigns since 2020.
However, this year, the Commanders are predicted to at least get out of the starting gate fast. Still, the team is +1000 with BetMGM Virginia Sportsbook to win the NFC East, the longest odds in the four-team division.
As soon as the NFL’s schedule was announced last week, Circa Sports put out point spreads for Week 1.
Early Betting Preview For Commanders vs. Cardinals
Oddsmakers at Circa made the Commanders 6-point favorites over the visiting Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field. At that spread, Washington is tied for the fourth heaviest favorite in Week 1. The over/under is 40.
Baltimore is a 9.5-point favorite at home against Houston, the biggest Week 1 spread at this point, months before the regular season. Defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City is a 7-point favorite over Detroit on the road and Minnesota is also a 7-point favorite at home against Tampa Bay. Along with the Commanders, Seattle is a 6-point favorite on the road against the Los Angeles Rams.
The closest point spread is Buffalo at the New York Jets where the Bills are just a 1-point favorite, obviously a nod to the Jets’ new starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
Customers at Virginia sportsbook apps will be able to jump in on the action with more clarity and more betting options as the season draws nearer.
Quarterback Situations Affect Both Teams
It would appear that quarterback issues are the main influence on the Cardinals-Commanders point spread. Arizona could be without their star QB Kyler Murray. The dazzling, mobile signal-caller is recovering from knee surgery after an injury he suffered near the end of the 2022 season.
Murray suffered a torn ACL in a non-contact tumble during a downfield run in a Week 14 Monday Night game against New England.
New Arizona head coach Jonathan Gannon said of his quarterback recently, “He's a long way away, but we don't play for a long time, either. I feel good where he's at."
Without Murray, the Cardinals’ quarterback depth chart isn’t all that promising. Colt McCoy is on the roster, but he had a serious concussion late last season to go along with a neck injury. That leaves Jeff Driskel and David Blough.
QB Sam Howell Likely Starter For Washington
Meanwhile, Washington – which has +8000 odds with Caesars sportsbook Virginia to win the Super Bowl in February – has Sam Howell penciled in as the starter. Howell’s resume is short but sweet. He’s undefeated as a starter. Undefeated as in 1-0.
In Week 18, he played against the Dallas Cowboys with the Commanders already eliminated from the playoffs. Washington won 26-6 and Howell had a nice game, completing 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 35 yards, including a TD and four first downs, in his NFL debut.
So far, veteran Jacoby Brissett is also on the Washington QB depth chart.
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