Raise your hand if you think the 49ers are the best team in the NFL. A few weeks ago, not many people would have asked that question, but it could very well be true as Week 9 of the NFL kicks off Thursday night in the desert.
San Francisco (7-0) is coming off their most impressive win of the season, a 51-13 drubbing of the Panthers. Jimmy Garoppolo looks healthy and the Niners D leads the NFL in total defense, allowing just 224.4 yards per game. The acquisition of Emmanuel Sanders is huge for an offense that lacked a proven playmaker at wide receiver. Sanders caught four passes for 25 yards and a touchdown in his debut last Sunday. RB Tevin Coleman is coming off a four-touchdown game against Carolina.
Arizona (3-4-1) played New Orleans tough for 2.5 quarters but eventually, the wheels fell off in a 31-9 loss to the Saints. The Cardinals will be without RB Chase Edmonds on Thursday who continues to battle a hamstring injury. Fellow RB David Johnson is officially questionable with an ankle injury. Arizona acquired RB Kenyan Drake this week in a trade with the Dolphins to solidify depth at the position.
Here’s a gambling breakdown for the Thursday night matchup between the 49ers and Cardinals.
Game Details: 49ers at Cardinals
Date: Thursday, October 31
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: State Farm Field (Glendale, Arizona)
Spread: 49ers -10
*All odds are courtesy of Covers
- 49ers are 5-2 ATS this season
- Cardinals are 5-3 ATS this season
- Under is 5-2 in 49ers games this season
- Over is 4-4 in Cardinals games this season
- 49ers 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
- Under is 9-3 in 49ers last 12 Thursday games
- Under is 22-10 in Cardinals last 32 home games
- 49ers are 9-4 ATS vs. Cardinals in their last 13 meetings in Arizona
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How 49ers -10 Can Cover
Break the Cardinals curse. San Fran has lost eight straight games in this series dating back to the 2014 season. They haven’t won in Arizona since 2013. Obviously, those were very different teams Niner teams, but it’s been a while since they have had success against their NFC West rival.
Continue the defensive dominance. The 49ers have allowed the fewest yards per game this season while also ranking fourth in sacks (27.0) and second in interceptions (10). Nick Bosa has emerged as a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Bosa became the first rookie to record at least three sacks and a pick in the same game since the sack became an official stat in 1982.
How Cardinals +10 Can Cover
Overcome the injuries in the backfield. Kenyan Drake should provide a boost, but it is not clear how much of the playbook he will be able to learn in just two days. Kyler Murray and Larry Fitzgerald need to pace the offense. Fitz had eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown in the last meeting between these two teams, which was an 18-15 Arizona win.
Slow down the 49ers red-hot offense. It’s a tall task, but the Cardinals have held San Francisco to 18 points or fewer in each of the past four meetings. However, this year’s version of Arizona’s defense has struggled. The Cards are ranked 29th in the league allowing 407.1 yards per game, including 130.1 on the ground.
The oddsmakers are giving very little love to the Cardinals this week, setting Arizona as a rare double-digit home dog on Thursday night. The value-bettor in me wants to take the points, but this is also a rare revenge spot for San Francisco. I find it remarkable that Arizona has won eight straight games in this series and considering this is a division game, you can bet the Niners are well aware of that streak. Despite that, I think laying 10.5 on the road is not a smart bet in this spot as San Francisco’s offense is due for some regression after their 51-point outburst last week. Play the under.
49ers 23, Cardinals 13 (Official Pick: Under 43)
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith