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Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers Point Spread - Pick

Arizona Cardinals (3-4 SU, 1-6 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-8 SU, 4-4 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 4:05PM EDT
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: ARI -2.5/SF +2.5
Over/Under Total: 39

The Arizona Cardinals come to Levi's Stadium to face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Arizona is coming off a bye-week, a timely break in the action that lets them regroup after losing Carson Palmer indefinitely. Their last game before the bye was a 33-0 loss to the Rams in London. They are still in a decent position to get back to .500 against a San Francisco team that has yet to secure their first win in the 2017 season. On Sunday, the Niners fell to the Eagles on the road, 33-10. After a run of close games where they were covering spreads, they have now been blown out in two straight games, losing to the Cowboys and Eagles by a combined score of 73-20.

After a difficult season in 2016 where they fell flat after getting to the conference title game the previous year, Arizona was hoping for a push this season. Injuries have robbed them of that chance, first with the loss of their Mr. Everything of offense in David Johnson and now with starting quarterback Carson Palmer. Beyond that are a slew of other injuries on both sides of the ball that might be too much to overcome. Getting Adrian Peterson at running back provided an initial spark, but losing their QB and getting smashed by the Rams was a bad development. Can they maybe dig deep and find some answers? Or are we looking at the beginning of the downward spiral for a team that had so much promise a short time ago?

The prospects of Drew Stanton again taking over for Palmer behind center is understandably not terribly exciting for Cardinals' fans. Still, he's very embedded in the system, this being his fourth season with the Cardinals. And the former Michigan State product has gone 6-3 in his starts with the team, despite a less-than-glossy stat line over that period. He has a certain underdog appeal and has been pretty clutch in some spots when thrust into action. Now would be a good time for Peterson to start piling on the yardage, as he did in his first game with the team. And there are weapons aerially, with Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, JJ Nelson, Jaron Brown, TE Jermaine Gresham, and others. But part of the reason Palmer is out is because of an offensive line that has been substandard. Maybe healthier after the bye, they can start putting together some better performances, as well. With Johnson and Palmer out, the only way this offense will be able to sustain is to see everyone step up their game a notch or two.

The Arizona defense has been pretty good in spots, but leading up to the bye, they weren't playing well. First came the near-collapse against Tampa, followed with the 33-0 loss to the Rams. The secondary will need to play better, with guys like Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Tramon Williams, Antoine Bethea, and Tyvon Branch needing to upgrade their form. And other than Chandler Jones, the pass-rush has been pretty minimal. They only have 13 sacks, with Jones having 8. And strangely, the Cardinals' defense has yet to recover a fumble this entire season. More big plays and stouter defense against the pass would go a long way for this defense.

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The 49ers have not looked good in the last few weeks. They set a record for having five straight losses by three or fewer points, before suffering consecutive bad losses to Dallas and Philadelphia. There have been certain moves that seem designed more for their long-term benefit, as opposed to winning now, among them the switch to CJ Beathard at quarterback. He replaced a somewhat-prolific Brian Hoyer, who was at least keeping games close. Early in the week, the Niners traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, who should get in the mix. They released Hoyer. It looks like Beathard will start this week, with Garoppolo likely getting in there soon. On Sunday against the Eagles, the injuries continued pouring in. It has been a crippling development. With a bunch of guys already out, they lost LT Joe Staley to a broken orbital bone, with RT Garry Gilliam going down with a knee injury. Pierre Garcon left the game, as did S Jimmie Ward.

Against an Eagles' secondary that has been leaky on occasion this season, San Francisco quarterback CJ Beathard was just 17-for-36 with 167 yards, with one TD and two picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown. When the leading receiver is RB Matt Breida, it's not a good sign. And when Beathard is the leading rusher, it's also not good. The line was dealing with a multitude of injuries on Sunday, helping the Philly pass-rush thrive, which was a big factor, as well as a lack of a run-game. They had only 238 total yards of offense on Sunday and have receded badly in the last two weeks with a total of 20 points.

When a defense suffers as many injuries as San Francisco has, it's hard to call them out. As of this writing, eight different starters are either out or are listed on the injury report. Up-front, Leger Douzable was nice in relief on Sunday with two sacks and Ankhello Witherspoon had a pick of Carson Wentz, but the less said about this group over the past two weeks, the better. At points this season, it looked as if they were making headway, but the losses in personnel proved to be too much to withstand.

If the Niners were to ever get it together this season, even among the devastating list of injuries. It would be at home within their division against another team that has a long list of issues. A Cardinals' team coming off shutout loss with Drew Stanton behind center is a little easier than taking on the team with the best record in the league, as they did last week Even within that framework, it's hard to get behind an 0-8 Frisco team that is showing signs of fraying around the edges. I'll take the Cardinals.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Arizona Cardinals minus 2.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Cardinals vs. 49ers game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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