MNF Pick: San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Date: 
November 21, 8:15 PM EST
Location:
TV:

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
SF -8.5/ARI +8.5
Total: 
43.5

Betting Outlook

The big question here is how the elevation will affect these two teams. They've taken opposite approaches to deal with playing at over 7,000 feet above sea level, as the 49ers have opted to train in Colorado Springs at 6,000 feet elevation in preparation for Mexico City. Conversely, the Cardinals, despite having a similar elevation to Mexico City two hours north in Flagstaff (7,000 feet above sea level), chose not to go north and instead practiced at home in the Valley. And that could make a world of difference for how these teams handle this game, as the losing coach will no doubt face questions as to their preparation strategy. That's even more true in this situation, as the loser is likely to be out of the running for both the playoffs and the NFC West race. San Francisco still has a reasonable shot to chase down Seattle and win the division, especially if they can win this game, but Arizona is just about on life support. The Cardinals still have a chance if they can sweep the 49ers, but that seems pretty unlikely based off how they tend to play in the second half of the season. The Cardinals have played well against San Francisco under Kliff Kingsbury and have won seven of 10 in this rivalry, and if they want any chance at postseason play, they'll have to do it again here.

How the Public is Betting the San Francisco/Arizona Game

The public believes that Arizona's strategy makes more sense, as 60% of tickets are on the Cardinals. The sharps disagree, pushing the line from -7.5 to -8.5 with the total unchanged.

Injury Concerns

San Francisco: Wide receiver Danny Gray (ankle) and defensive lineman Samson Ebukam (Achilles) are questionable. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (foot), cornerback Jason Verrett (knee), tight end Tyler Kroft (knee), defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (knee), cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (knee), quarterback Trey Lance (ankle), defensive lineman Kalia Davis (knee), tight end Jordan Matthews (knee) and defensive lineman Maurice Hurst (bicep) are out. Arizona: Quarterback Colt McCoy (knee), wide receiver Marquise Brown (foot), offensive lineman Max Garcia (shoulder), kicker Matt Prater (hip), offensive lineman D.J. Humphries (back), quarterback Kyler Murray (hamstring), and cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (back) are questionable. Tight end Zach Ertz (knee), defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence (shoulder), offensive lineman Rodney Hudson (knee), offensive lineman Will Hernandez (chest), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (knee), running back Darrel Williams (hip), running back Jonathan Ward (hamstring), wide receiver Antoine Wesley (quadricep), linebacker Nick Vigil (hamstring) and offensive lineman Marquis Hayes (knee) are out.

When San Francisco Has the Ball

The 49ers have excelled at not beating themselves over the past two weeks. That'sThat's not necessarily going to get the job done at the betting window, but it does help them pick up wins where they care about them. San Francisco has mostly let Jimmy Garoppolo find whatever the defense is willing to give the 49ers, which has opened up a fair amount now that Christian McCaffery is in the fold.

Given that the Cardinals are strong against the run and have been relatively poor against the pass, look for Garoppolo to attack through the air. Arizona'sArizona's numbers against the pass haven't been good, and that's even after facing the Rams' horrid pass attack with John Wolford on the field. McCaffery will still get some kind of workload, but with San Francisco mostly rested after playing just one game since Halloween, look for the 49ers to push for big plays against a less-rested Arizona defense. There will be holes in the Cardinal defense, and if Garoppolo can find them, the 49ers will put up numbers.

When Arizona Has the Ball

The Cardinals really don't know who their quarterback is going to be, and that's a concern. Arizona has two hampered options, and the majority of voices coming out of the desert now believe that Colt McCoy is the better of the two choices. Nobody believes that McCoy is the more talented player, but a sizeable number of Cardinal fans believe that McCoy's mental makeup gives Arizona a better chance to win than Kyler Murray.

Whoever starts, there is little threat of Arizona running the football. The Cardinals'Cardinals' best runner is Kyler Murray, and Murray only has 359 rushing yards to his name. James Conner hasn't done much, and San Francisco leads the NFL in run defense. The 49ers just don't allow teams anything on the ground, which puts a lot of pressure on either Murray or McCoy, whoever does get the start. In order to have a chance, Arizona has to throw the ball.

Betting Trends

When backing someone in this series, you've often been better off going with the underdog. The underdog has covered in six of the past eight matchups between the teams, and one of the two non-covers was a push. That said, the Cardinals have been terrible bets in division games, as the win against the Rams' reserve offense was Arizona's only cover against an NFC West opponent in its past seven divisional games.

Conversely, San Francisco has dominated in the division. The 49ers have covered in nine of 11 meetings with NFC opponents and have five straight covers against the NFC West. The under has also been a strong play for the 49ers, cashing in 13 of their past 17 and seven of nine against NFC opponents.

Weather Report

Weather-wise, this will be a good night for football. Temperatures will sit at 53 degrees, with the wind blowing at seven miles per hour to the north-northwest. But the thin air in Mexico City is the great equalizer, and it is unknown how it will affect these two teams here.

MNF Pick: San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals

I think the better-prepared side comes out ahead. San Francisco went to Colorado to train itself at elevation, and Arizona did not. The Cardinals should have a hard dime adjusting to the conditions and the 49ers' strong defense.
That's a bad combination here. Give me the 49ers to cover.
Free Pick: 
Take the 49ers