Arizona Cardinals (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 11, 2015, 4:05 pm EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
TV: FOX, DirecTV 713
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARI -3/DET +3
Over/Under Total: 44
The Detroit Lions 2015 season is starting to circle around the drain already, and it might be one step closer to flushed with one of the best teams in the NFC in the form of the Arizona Cardinals on the schedule this Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.
The Lions put up a very strong battle against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football last week, only to lose the game on a missed call on a fumble into the end zone in another mysterious CenturyLink no-call game in Seattle, 13-10. The Lions offense and Matthew Stafford have struggled to score points in recent games against top-ranked defenses in Seattle and Denver, so with another strong defense in the form of the Cardinals on the docket its going to be hard for the Lions to break from the pack of the NFLs winless teams this weekend.
Arizona comes into Sunday fresh off of their first loss of the season, a 24-22, disappointing loss at home to the Rams to move them to 3-1 this season. Three turnovers on offense killed the Cardinals last week, like it does most teams in the NFL, so the Cardinals have to be chomping to get back out on the field and redeem themselves against the Lions on Sunday.
The opening point spread for the NFC tilt in Detroit on Sunday went up on the board with Arizona as 3-point road favorites late on Monday following the Lions loss at Seattle. Interestingly enough, the line hasnt really moved much so far this week either, dropping to Arizona minus -2.5 at a few offshore sportsbooks and a few books on the strip in Las Vegas, but for the most part holding firm on the key number of 3.
The over/under total opened at 44 and hasnt really moved at all, with most books still sitting at 44 across the Web and in Vegas.
To say the Lions have struggled running the ball on offense would be redundant, as the same lack of a running game (47 ypg 32nd in NFL) is starting to turn Stafford into a sitting target in the pocket. Arizona boasts the 5th-ranked defense against the pass, so unless the Lions offensive line starts opening up holes for Ameer Abdullah and company it could be another pinball-in-the-pocket game for Stafford come Sunday.
The Cardinals offense fell victim to the turnover bug for the first time this season, an affliction that is easy to overcome really. Prior to last weeks stumble the Cards were averaging 405 yards a game (4th) and scoring 32 points per game, they just ran into one of the games top defenses in the Rams last Sunday. Arizona will certainly have to figure out who is blocking Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah on the edge each play, but without DeAndre Levy at LB the Lions are still allowing big yardage (383 ypg 25th) and big plays for scores (27 ppg 18th).
If this is another must-win game for Arizona, then theyll have to do it against an Arizona team that hasnt lost in their last six meetings with Detroit going all the way back to 2006. The Cardinals won at home, 14-6, in November of 2014 in the most recent meeting of these two. But in the six-game win streak, only one of the Cardinals victories came on the road in Detroit, a 31-24 win in 2009 when Kurt Warner and Drew Stanton were quarterbacking the teams.
Something will have to give this week to break the opposing betting trends for this series. Overall, the home team is a perfect 11-0 ATS in their last 11 meetings. But the underdog is also 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings, and with Detroit being a home dog one of those perfect betting trends will come to an end on Sunday.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Lets face it, the Lions should have won last week in Seattle if not for another bad call in favor of the Seahawks. The Lions are not as bad as their record, and Arizona has to go on the road for just the second time this season. Detroit will have to play better than they have been, but I think they will find a way to do it at home this week. If you can still find the Lions as 3-point home dogs, snap them up before it moves. Im taking Detroit plus the +3 points.
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