49ers vs. Cardinals Thursday Night Pick
San Francisco 49ers (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1 SU, 5-3 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Thursday October 31st, 2019. 8:20PM (EST)
Where: State Farm Stadium Glendale, A.Z.
by Jay Horne, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:SF -9.5/ARI +9.5 (BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 44
The San Francisco 49ers improved their unbeaten mark to 7-0 SU last Sunday by obliterating the Carolina Panthers who were in the midst of a four-game winning streak. The 49ers defense continued their incredible play by forcing three turnovers in a shutdown effort against QB Kyle Allen, and the offense received an enormous spark from running back Tevin Coleman, who accounted for four touchdowns in a 51-13 thumping. As San Francisco continues to make an argument for the best team in the NFC, the 49ers will put their undefeated streak on the line this Thursday with a road trip to Arizona against the 3-4-1 SU Cardinals.
Following three straight wins against inferior opponents, the Cardinals came crashing to earth last Sunday with a 31-9 loss to the New Orleans Rams. The Cardinals offense, plagued by injuries at the tailback position, could also not find any success through the air. The Saints defense forced pressure on rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and held Kliff Kingsbury’s checkdown offense to just 237 total yards. With injuries mounting at the running back position, the offense will face perhaps an even more significant challenge this week against a talented 49ers defense in a game that is shaping up to be another lopsided affair.
Cardinals injuries mount at RB
Before last week’s loss to the Saints, star running back David Johnson was sidelined with an ankle injury. Johnson took played on one series during the win over the Giants, which paved the way for backup Chase Edmonds to explode for 126 rushing yards with three touchdowns. Johnson has already been ruled out again for this Thursday’s contest with the 49ers, and now it appears that Chase Edmonds will also be out. Edmonds pulled a hamstring in the loss to the Saints last week, which elevated newly signed free agent Zach Zenner onto the playing field. With the two-depth starters sidelined, Arizona made a trade on Monday for running back Kenyan Drake from Miami. Obviously, Drake has just two full days to learn the playbook, so I am sure his action will be limited Thursday night meaning the Cardinals will still be severely limited at the running back position.
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Cardinals offense vs. 49ers defense
The biggest mismatch in this game revolves around the 49ers defense against the Arizona offense. The 49ers defense has been the catalyst to San Francisco’s breakout success this year, and they are in another prime spot to feast. The 49ers lead the NFL in total defense allowing just 224 total yards per game and are tied for 2nd in the NFL in pressure averaging 3.9 sacks per game. On paper, this is a nightmare for Klingbury’s offense that ranks 27th in sacks allowed and still retains conservative play calling with their rookie quarterback.
The majority of Arizona’s play selection surrounds screen passes, side-line throws, and running back draws from the shotgun formation. Not only is it fairly predictable, but the 49ers have too much speed to be in danger. I believe Kyler Murray has the potential to be a strong quarterback because he has shown the ability to be very accurate and does well with seam passes down the middle of the field. The problem for this week is that I don’t foresee those opportunities being open over the middle of the field and I expect the pressure from the 49ers defense to be extremely troublesome throughout the night.
49ers offense poised for success this Thursday
The Cardinals defense has steadily improved over the last few weeks and recently got back one of their biggest assets in CB Patrick Peterson. However, this week’s match-up against San Francisco does not bode well for the Cardinals defense. Last week’s emergence of Tevin Coleman will be an immediate threat for a Cardinals defense that ranks 25th against the run. Despite a somewhat mediocre start to the season, QB Jimmy Garoppolo will have a chance to find his favorite target in tight end George Kittle, who will see his best match-up of the season. As long as Garoppolo can avoid turnovers or any disastrous performance, this should be an excellent match-up for the offense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: 49ers -9.5
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