Do you remember the Sunday night game last month when the Arizona Cardinals trailed the Seattle Seahawks all evening, and then, late in the game scored to send the contest to overtime? In that extra period, the Seahawks looked to be in position to win the game, only to have an uncharacteristic mistake by quarterback Russell Wilson turn the ball over and give the Cardinals one last shot at the win.
They capitalized on Seattle’s mistake, and the Cardinals ended the marathon contest with a winning field goal just moments before the overtime period would have expired on the clock. It was a great night for Arizona fans, winning a game their team had never led until kicking the clinching field goal.
Well, the Cardinals haven’t beaten a point spread since that night.
Yes, they have won one more game, on a Hail Mary toss from Kyler Murray to Deandre Hopkins that upended the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago. But that narrow victory was a point spread loss, as was the game before it, a home defeat to the Miami Dolphins, and the game they played last week, the rematch against the Seahawks that ended with Seattle winning by a touchdown.
Now, the Cardinals head to Foxboro to meet the New England Patriots and they are favored on the road.
Because Tom Brady is no longer in the Patriots backfield and Murray is seen as one of the rising stars in the league.
Both things are true, but is that reason enough to back a young Cardinals team on the road against a Patriots squad clinging only to slim playoff hopes and coming off a loss last Sunday in Houston?
The Cardinals have had extra time to prepare for this game, their loss in Seattle was a Thursday night affair, but that extra time doesn’t compensate for them being in the toughest of all roles this week. They are playing as a road favorite against Bill Belichick in a game the Patriots need off a loss. And, while they have had extra time between games, during that time they also lost one of their primary weapons. Future Hall of Fame member Larry Fitzgerald was diagnosed with Covid-19 and his absence removes one of the pillars that this young team relies on.
So, what do we have here?
We have a New England team that had won back-to-back games to get back into the playoff hunt before last week’s setback against the Texans when they were listed as a road favorite. Now, they return home motivated off a loss and playing a Cardinals team that is both missing a key player and overrated while favored on the road.
How do the books see it?
They installed the Cardinals a 2½ point favorite on the opening line while expecting public money to come in on the road team. Now, the money has come in on the road team, nearly 70% of the bets on this game are backing the Cardinals for a win and cover, and the books have sliced a half point or more off the line offered to New England.
The public is backing Arizona, and their favorite role is shrinking on the point spread. That leaves us with one question, do you want to side with the public or bank on the books?
Qoxhi Picks: New England Patriots (+2) over Arizona Cardinals