MNF Best Bet: San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals Pick ATS
San Francisco 49ers (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-6 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Date/Time: Monday, Nov 21, 7:15 PM EST
Where: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
Point Spread: SF -8 / Az +8
Over/Under Total: 43.5
Monday Night Football goes south of the border for a week 11 battle between the visiting San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers have kicked their season into gear in November, while the Cardinals are coming off a divisional win in Los Angeles against the Rams. BOVADA.LV is making the Cardinals 8-point favorites on Monday night and has set the game total at 43½. It’s tough to lay 8 points in a November division game, but let’s get a cold Cerveza with a Niner ticket and count on Shanahan and the club to cover the big number. Here is the handicap.
San Fran’s Defense Will Dominate the Game
The 49er Stop Unit is probably the best in today’s NFL. They rank 4th in points allowed, 2nd in opponents’ yards per play, and have allowed opponents the least first downs of any team in the league. In Week 7 against the Chiefs, the unit was embarrassed by Patrick Mahomes and his Chief teammates as they racked up 44 points and 529 total yards. Since that disaster, SF has allowed the 2 LA teams to combine for only 30 points on 451 total yards. The Rams and Chargers averaged less than 3 yards per carry on 37 rushing attempts and recorded five sacks. The Niners are 4th in the league in sacks and blitz at one of the lowest rates in the league, so they can devote the back 7 to covering. This unit comes into this nationally televised Monday night game with a chance to make people forget about their debacle against the Chiefs a few weeks ago. I doubt if Arizona’s offense will know what hit them.
Who will be the QB for Arizona, and the more important question – does it really matter? Kyler Murray has not lived up to the big payday he received in the offseason, only throwing for 12 touchdowns in 9 starts while recording wins against the Raiders, Panthers, and Saints. Colt McCoy was competent last week against the Rams, but he is just an average back-up that will struggle against the elite SF D. Murray generally gives the Cards some electricity extending plays, but if he plays with a bum hamstring, he won’t be able to outrun the 49er spies. DeAndre Hopkins is again looking like an All-Pro receiver, and James Connor had a solid game last week, but that won’t be enough this week. The health of the Cardinals’ offensive line is also an issue, with a cluster of injuries in the group. Cardinal QBs are already sacked the 8th most in the league, so whoever the signal-caller is will be under duress all night. Look for SF’s defense to be in control of this game from start to finish.
Jimmy G and Company Will Get the Job Done
Kyle Shanahan’s offense is statistically middle of the pack in the 2022 NFL, but the arrow is definitely pointing up. Newly acquired Christian McCaffrey has now suited up in 3 games for the Niners, but last week against the Chargers was the first time that he was on the field with Deebo Samuel when both were healthy and comfortable in the offense. The numbers weren’t gaudy, but the packages and scheming by Shanahan stressed the opposing defense and created mismatches all over the field. Throw in Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, and this is more than the Cards D can handle this week. Jimmy Garoppolo orchestrated the offense last week, converting 9 of 17 third downs and only taking one sack. Look for this offense to get more on track as McCaffrey settles in, and don’t be surprised if they go off against a weak Cardinal defense.
Arizona has allowed more points than 29 teams in the league and don’t do anything really well. They struggle to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, averaging only two sacks per game despite blitzing the second most in the league. They played well against a limping Ram team last week, but prior to that, they got lit up by Seattle, Minnesota, and even the Saints. Those three teams averaged 33 points per game. The 49ers’ attack will not at all resemble the attack of the John Wolford led Rams, and Arizona’s D will probably allow 30 plus again this week.
These Teams Are Going In Different Directions
Both of these teams came into the season thinking they could compete for a Super Bowl. San Fran had to work through QB issues in September, but now with the addition of McCaffrey, they and the Eagles are the creams of the crop in the NFC. They have played their best ball in November and clearly have the focus of a team that can make a deep playoff run. The Cardinals have never got going. Murray has not been raised the talent of the offense, and coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense hasn’t raised Murray’s game. Arizona under Kingsbury has annually faded as the season wears on, and there is no reason to expect anything different this season. This week the Niners have a considerable coaching advantage in addition to the talent and scheme advantages.
Lay the Points and Play San Francisco
As stated above, it’s hard to lay 8 points in an NFL game, but it’s even harder to buy a Cardinal ticket and count on Kliff Kingsbury and an injured Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy to come through on the Monday Night stage in Mexico. Bovada.LV offers 6-point NFL Teasers for -120, so teasing the Niners with maybe the Eagles or the Texans can get you some good action for MNF. One way or another, line up with the Niners this Monday in Mexico City.