From a 13-5 regular-season finish, an NFC West title and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game in 2015 to 1-3 start to the 2016 season with back-to-back losses against the Bills and the Rams over the past two weeks; it’s safe to say that things are not going according to plan for coach Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals. The season is, however, far from over and the Cardinals still have a chance to get back on track, starting with Thursday Night’s NFL online betting encounter against divisional rivals San Francisco at the Levi’s Stadium.
Here’s A Closer Look At The 2016 NFL Cardinals At 49ers Winning Predictions
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
When: Thursday, October 6, 8:25 PM ET
Live Stream: CBS Sports Network
NFL Lines: Arizona (-4), OVER/UNDER 43.5
Why Arizona Will Cover the Spread
Had this game come in 2015 when Zona was high-flying on top of the world, the Arizona Cardinals would have been a near-sure guarantee for a win. But with the way the Cards are playing, anything could happen, particularly if you consider that the 49ers have historically caused all kinds of headache to Arizona. That being said, the Cards have recently fared well vs. the Niners, winning 3 of the last 5 against San Francisco, including a complete sweep when these two teams met twice last season. Additionally, the 49ers team they’ll be facing hasn’t fared any better through its first four games, ranking dead-last in the nation in passing yards per game (178.8) and giving up 35.66 PPG in their three games since shutting out the Rams in Week 1. Therefore, even with starting quarterback Carson Palmer considered as doubt for Thursday due to injury, there’s still plenty of talent in the Arizona team to give the Cardinals a winning chance against the disarrayed Niners.
Why San Francisco Will Cover the Spread
As is glimpsed above, the 49ers have had their fair share of struggles on the season, both in the offense and defense. San Francisco fans can, however, take solace in the fact that their team has won 6 of the last 7 home meetings against Arizona. In addition, Palmer might not be available for Zona, so their troubled defense might catch a bit of a break on Thursday by facing a less daunting starter in Cardinals backup quarterback Drew Stanton. In the offense, San Francisco’s quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been a mixed bag of goods, doing some good (especially at the start of games) and some bad as well (like failing to come up big during crunch time). It’s therefore hard to know what to expect from Gabbert on Thursday, but if the likes of Case Keenum (LA), Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo) and Jimmy Garoppolo (New England) were able to find some success and lead their respective teams to wins over Zona despite their relative inexperience as starters, Gabbert should like his chances of doing the same this week. This should especially be encouraged by the fact that Arizona has been rather vulnerable in defending the run; something that should open an opportunity for standout RB Carlos Hyde and San Francisco’s solid running game (114 YPG rushing, #10 in the country) to make a decent number of plays.
Expert NFL Betting Predictions and Picks
Even if Palmer is unavailable, we expect Arizona to win this game, largely because they have a talented group of running backs (David Johnson and Andre Ellington) that can take over the offense. Not to mention, Stanton is one of the better backups in the league with plenty of experience to beat an iffy team like San Francisco. The Niners will get their points as usual, particularly in the first half, but once Zona kicks things into gear, it should be a one-way traffic that ends with a second win of the season for the Cardinals.