The San Francisco 49ers look to extend their unbeaten string tonight to eight games, and they are double-digit road favorites to get it done. The Arizona Cardinals are getting ten points on the spread while hosting their NFC West Division rivals.
The Cardinals are at home against a team they have beaten eight straight times and getting ten points on the spread. How easy is this, unless, of course, one was to base their opinion on this game purely on how these football teams are playing this year. Arizona is working with a rookie quarterback and first-year head coach with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury respectively. That means tonight we have the first and second picks in this year’s draft going head-to-head with Murray behind center and Nick Bosa looking to knock him off it.
I understand those that look at this game and think it is a mismatch and the Niners are in line to gain revenge against a team that has won both meetings the past four seasons. But revenge doesn’t come on the road as a double-digit favorite, because the point spread alone is a team’s revenge even if they have lost eight straight times to their opponent.
You think the Niners are preparing for the Cardinals like they are fearful of a ninth straight loss to them?
I think not.
The Niners are preparing for their victory party when they complete their first half of the season without a loss. For sure, they think there is no way they are going to lose to the Cardinals. The greater concern is next week, when they meet the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.
This mismatch on the football side of this proposition is greatly reduced when considering the advantages from a motivational side favoring the home team tonight. The Cardinals are not looking ahead or behind, they are not trotting onto their field thinking they are just 60 minutes of game clock away from handing the 49ers their first loss of the season.
Nope, the Cardinals are focused on what it would take tonight to avoid getting blown out like the 49ers last opponent, the Carolina Panthers, who were sliced, diced and mutilated last Sunday at Levi’s Stadium, 51-13.
Why can’t the 49ers slam the Cardinals tonight with a similar blowout given Arizona is not as good as Carolina? Because the 49ers are not served up with the kind of challenge that generates a big win. Three weeks ago, the 49ers were enthused about the prospect of a tough game when they visited the Los Angeles Rams and were underdogs. That edge provided the talented and high flying Niners with the impetus necessary to pin the Rams with their third straight loss.
Know what happened on the other side of that great effort by San Francisco? They struggled to get past the talent challenged Washington Redskins, not covering the point spread in a 9-0 win.
Know what happened to the 49ers on the other side of their blowout last Sunday over the Panthers?
They lost their first game of the year while favored by double-digits on the road.
The only difference between those two results, is that you can still cash the Cardinals win tonight.
Qoxhi Picks: Arizona Cardinals (+10) over San Francisco 49ers