Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Start-time: Friday 7 October, 01:25 BST
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Carson Palmer is out. That is the headline news we have to start with. Drew Stanton gets his first start of the season and that fact in itself should worry any Cardinals backers. Arizona are giving 3.5pts on the spread and that is an eye opener. Stanton was four of 11 passes for 37 yards and two interceptions in relief last Sunday. Not one for the top line of a CV, that.
The Cards are, in this tipster's eyes, the most disappointing team in the league through the first four games. They were one of the favourites to win the NFC. Instead they are 1-3 and are on the road in the short week with a lousy backup Quarterback. Let me repeat what I said in the previous paragraph, they are giving 3.5pts on the spread. What is going on?
Yes, I love their receivers and they can run the ball, but to get the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown in the game, you need someone under Center who will get them the ball. Drew Stanton is not that man.
The 49ers are 1-3 themselves but had no expectations before the season started. They have Blaine Gabbert playing QB and he isn't anything to write home about. Not by a long chalk. On Sunday they had a 14 point lead at home to the Dallas Cowboys and managed to only score a FG the rest of the way as the visitors came back to win that game. They aren't very good and nor are the Cardinals. Don't expect this to be a great game.
Considering I've just ragged pretty extensively on both Quarterbacks, this is the day to play the Defense/Special Team double. I was tempted by Torrey Smith at 11/1 but Arizona D/ST is 14/1 and for San Franciso that price is 20/1. There is a very real chance that this will be sloppy game with poor QB play from both teams and when that is the case, that is the time to roll with these outside picks for a value bet.
In general, I hate to back the unders. You sit and watch a game and whenever a team scores a Touchdown you curse. Yet the line is set surprisingly high for me at 42.5pts. I remember Arizona under Drew Stanton in 2014 when he made eight starts and they weren't exactly prolific. Here are the numbers his offense put up in his eight starts, 14, 3, 18, 17, 12, 6, 17, 16. He didn't break 20 points once. I still like the Cards defense to some degree so under 42.5 looks one of the better plays of the week.
The Spread & Straight-up Pick
San Francisco are currently trading at 2.6213/8 on the Exchange straight up and I love that bet. The Cardinals are just so disappointing, have an abject backup QB starting and are on the road in the the short week. I think the 49ers should be slight favourites so getting them at a chunky odds-against price is tempting me big. If you prefer to take the spread then Arizona -3.5pt is the line and obviously I'd like that as well.
3pt Back San Francisco to win at 2.6413/8 on the Exchange
3pt Back Under 42.5pts on the over/under at Evens on the over/under line on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Arizona D/ST to score the first TD at 14/1 in the First Touchdown scorer market on the Sportsbook
1pt Back San Francisco D/ST to score the first TD at 20/1 in the First Touchdown scorer market on the Sportsbook