Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Odds and Pick to Cover the Point Spread

Arizona Cardinals (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS), Week 2 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, September 19, 2010, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
by Ryno of

Betting Odds: Cards +6.5/ATL -6.5
Over/Under Total: 43

The Arizona Cardinals and the Atlanta Falcons both took part in close games in Week 1. However, they came out on opposite ends of those close games and neither performance was one to brag about. The Cardinals came away with a hard-fought 17-13 win at St. Louis, while the Falcons lost 15-9 in overtime to the Steelers.

The Cardinals are starting a new era of their franchise. QB Kurt Warner, who led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, retired after last season. And WR Anquan Boldin is now with the Ravens. The Cardinals are now led by QB Derek Anderson, who has had a shaky career up until this point. He didn’t do too bad in Week 1, going 22-for-41 for 297 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a 21-yard strike to Larry Fitzgerald with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter to give the Cardinals a 17-13 lead and what turned out to be the victory.

Normal starting RB Beanie Wells sat out Week 1 with an injury, so Tim Hightower filled in as the primary ball-carrier and had 13 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown but also two lost fumbles. The Cardinals are hoping to have Wells back against the Falcons. Although Fitzgerald caught the game-winning TD pass, he wasn’t the one who starred at WR for the Cardinals. Instead, it was Steve Breaston, who had seven receptions for 132 yards. Both teams turned the ball over four times in the game, which isn’t good for either team. But the good news is that the Cardinals forced four turnovers, including three interceptions by Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford. They also held Steven Jackson somewhat in check, as he totaled 81 yards on 22 carries and just six receiving yards.

As far as the Falcons in Week 1, they just couldn’t get into the end zone. They settled for three field goals and played great defense on the Steelers to stay in the game. QB Matt Ryan and WR Roddy White had a nice connection going. White caught 13 passes for 111 yards, which accounted for nearly half of Ryan’s completions and passing yards. Michael Turner totaled only 42 rushing yards on 19 carries and his longest run all game was a measly seven yards. Rashard Mendenhall won the game in OT with a 50-yard touchdown run.

Both teams only turned the ball over once. Up until overtime, the Falcons did a decent job against the run. They allowed inexperienced QB Dennis Dixon to throw for 236 yards and complete 69 percent of his passes but they kept him out of the end zone and intercepted him once.

The Cardinals did a decent job against Jackson is Week 1 and now they face another great RB in Turner, who didn’t look too great last week. If they can limit Turner’s rush yards, they will only really have to focus on stopping White from catching the ball. The Cardinals offense is more of an unknown right now. Whether Wells plays on Sunday is still up in the air, which significantly affects how well the Cardinals would run the ball, and Anderson is inconsistent but he does have some nice weapons in Fitzgerald, Breaston and Hightower. Both teams are capable of beating the other team with either the run or the pass.

The Falcons are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games when scoring 15 or fewer points in the previous game. They are also 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games coming off a SU loss and 4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with a winning record. The under is 6-1 in the Cardinals’ last seven games following a SU win. The under is 7-0 in the Falcons’ last seven games overall and 4-0 in their last four home games. The over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these teams.

Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Spread: This is a really tough game to pick against the spread as the line is about right and doesn’t offer much value. I believe the OVER presents the best betting value here. Good luck!

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