San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Pick

San Francisco 49ers (2-6) +9.5, 46 O/U at Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
-9.5, 46 O/U, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., 8:30 PM
Eastern, Monday, ESPN

by Badger of

The Arizona Cardinals can put a strangle hold on the NFC West Division when they host the now Mike Singletary-led San Francisco
49ers in an interdivision rivalry game this week on Monday Night

The Cardinals already own a three-game lead over the 49ers and the
rest of the NFC West and a win on Monday night could be their
national coming-out party as a strong NFC threat. Arizona beat the
Rams last Sunday, 34-13, to knock off one NFC West rival, and a win
over the 49ers would give them the season sweep of the Niners and put
them in prime shape to finish the job next week versus Seattle.

San Francisco will be playing their second game under Singletary, and
coming off of a bye week you know hell have the troops ready for the
national spotlight. Singletary apologized to fans after the 49ers,
34-13, loss to Seattle two weeks ago, so you know he is going to do
his best to not get embarrassed again in primetime.

The early line from most oddsmakers listed Arizona as 9-point favorites, but it quickly moved up to -9.5 in most sportsbooks in Las Vegas and offshore. If you shop around youll find a few of the
offshore sportsbooks (Sportsbetting at -10 and at -11)
have much higher spreads due to early money being on the Cardinals.

The over/under total opened at 47 in most sportsbooks, and has hovered around the 46 to 46.5 to 47 range in early wagering. The moneyline has the Cards as large -415 favorites, with the 49ers as
+375 underdogs.

Arizona features the NFLs highest scoring offense, at 29.2 points per game. Veteran quarterback Kurt Warner is putting up unbelievable
numbers (2,431 yards already) leading the Cardinals to 386 total
yards per game (2nd in NFL), and both Anquan Bolden (8 TD) and Larry
Fitzgerald (742 yds.) help to make the Cards passing attack put up
big fantasy stats (293.4 passing ypg 2nd).

The Cardinals lone weakness, a 27th-ranked running game (93.5 ypg), was addressed last week when Ken Whisenhunt benched Edgerin James in favor of rookie Tim Hightower. Hightower responded with a 100-yard game and a score as the starter, so the Cards believe they may have
found their running back of the future.

The 49ers offense is virtually impossible to handicap right now considering the last time they played starting quarterback J.T.
OSullivan was benched and tight end Vernon Davis was kicked off the

Shaun Hill played well (173 yds., TD, 62.2 comp %) in place of
OSullivan in mop-up time against the Seahawks. The 49ers need more
from running back Frank Gore than ever before, and so far the running
game is barely getting over 100 yards a game (105.1 ypg 19th).

In the first game between these two teams, a 23-13 Arizona win in the
season opener, both defenses played well. San Francisco held Warner
to 197 yards passing and the entire Cardinals offense to 285 total
yards. Meanwhile, the Cardinals defense held Gore to 93 yards
rushing, although Gore did spring a 41-yard touchdown run.

The 49ers defense does tend to give up big plays for scores with the
leagues 30th-ranked scoring defense at 28.8 points per game. The
Cards allow 23 points per game, the leagues 23rd-ranked unit in that

Arizona had a four-game win streak going in the head-to-head series,
until the 49ers swept the season series last year to create their own
two-game win streak. The Niners won last years game in University of
Phoenix Stadium, 37-31, in overtime. However, the Cardinals have
covered the spread in three of the last four (only non-cover was
aforementioned loss at home) and in five of the last seven overall.

Both teams are on streaks versus the number too, although in the case
of the 49ers its one bettors wouldnt appreciate. The 49ers are 0-5
ATS in their last five games after starting the year 2-0 ATS. They
are also a dismal 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games on the road.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are on a 4-0 ATS streak, are 8-3 ATS in
their last 11 versus an NFC West rival, and are 3-0 ATS at home in 2008.

The betting trends for wagering on the total favors the over. The
over is 7-3 in the last 10 head-to-head games in the series, and the
over is 22-8 in the Cardinals last 30 games overall and a strong 8-3
in their last 11 games versus a rival from the NFC West.

Badgers Pick: This game is just screaming letdown game to me. I
dont expect Singletary to perform miracles, but I do think the 49ers
will cover in this game. If you can get 10 or 11 points, more power
to you. Take the 49ers plus the points here.