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

San Francisco 49ers (0-3 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS)
Week 4 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: SF +7/ARI -7
Over/Under Total: 44.5

The San Francisco 49ers come to Glendale for an NFC West battle against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in week four action. San Francisco is 0-3, but they have covered two out of three spreads so far on the young season. They showed that pluck last Thursday when they nearly stormed back to beat the Rams, eventually losing, 41-39. They look for their first win of the season against the Cardinals, who are coming off the short week after losing at home to the Cowboys on MNF, 28-17. Who can win this division matchup? The Cardinals won both of their divisional games against San Fran last season, with the last one being a 23-20 home win.

Everyone involved with the 49ers franchise knows it's going to take time and hard work to get back on the winning track. Though they have begun the season 0-3, there are some positive signs. They are playing hard and guys seem to care a lot more than they have in the past few years. With a 39-point output over the Rams, their offense showed a much-needed spark in week three. With the game seemingly out-of-hand, they rallied back and it really took a series of huge stops by the Rams defense to avoid defeat to the 49ers.

Brian Hoyer nearly threw a pick-six to open the game against the Rams, but settled down and wound up having a productive game, throwing for 332 yards and a pair of touchdowns, in addition to running in a touchdown. In what the Niners are hoping is a glimpse into the near future, Hoyer made some nice connections with Pierre Garcon, who was huge, as well as Marquise Goodwin, who made some big catches as the Rams attempted to make a big comeback. Carlos Hyde was gutty with 84 yards and two touchdowns against a tough Rams' D-line. Speedy slot receiver Trent Taylor had some good moments and suddenly, the Frisco offense might need to be looked upon with less pessimism.

After allowing 35 combined points in their first two games, the Niners yielded 41 to a more-effervescent Rams offense than what they've had for the past few seasons. It was not a vintage night for the San Francisco defense by any means and having numerous personnel issues in the secondary is starting to resonate. They are already missing a key safety in Eric Reid and on Thursday, it looks like they might be missing S Jaquisti Tartt, who had been coming along nicely. That leaves them a little thin in this area. The front has been showing improvement with DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Earl Mitchell. Rookie Solomon Thomas adds some menace on the edge, with linebackers Ray Ray Armstrong and NaVorro Bowman anchoring a decent second level. It's not a group that is going to deliver every week, but they should be better than the group that was last in disarray last season.

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Arizona is dealing with a lot of personnel issues, in addition to uneven play across all areas. Losing David Johnson in week one is a casualty from which they might not be able to recover. They showed some pluck in week two in coming back on the road to beat the Colts in overtime. Against Dallas, it was a 14-14 tie in the 4th quarter, before the Dallas offense was able to get some late separation. There were still some decent things upon which to build, as the Cardinals have a nice chance to even their mark at 2-2 and after all they've been through, that's not half-bad.

The loss of David Johnson has at least temporarily brought the Cardinals running game to its knees. Chris Johnson was added and maybe his legs will warm up, but right now, a lot of the heavy lifting will need to be done by the aerial game. Carson Palmer was big on MNF with 325 yards passing and two touchdowns. The offense didn't turn the ball over, but the O-line was battered by the Dallas defense and Palmer was sacked 7 times, a number that would be higher if not for his pocket-awareness and overall know-how. They're missing two offensive linemen and their replacements haven't been good. On Monday, Palmer connected big with Larry Fitzgerald, as the veteran receiver caught 13 balls for 149 yards and a TD. Andre Ellington and TE Jermaine Gresham made some nice catches, with Jaron Brown adding a TD. Deep-threat JJ Nelson, however, was very quiet on the night. And for all the aerial production, there were long stretches in the game when this offense's engine didn't really turn over, They look for better this week.

The Arizona defense wasn't bad for most of the game, holding the Cowboys to 14 points into the 4th quarter. They melted a bit late, with some big aerial plays and just a general lack of overall clutch. They allowed the Cowboys to maximize their production, despite the Arizona offense outgaining Dallas and having 7 more first downs. They held Dallas to 2-for-9 on third down conversions. Chandler Jones had a sack and Marcus Golden got after Prescott, but secondary members like Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson didn't have their best games and they look for better this week, again at home.

It's easy for the mind to go back to last year and recall how awful the Niners were, both straight-up and even ATS. After being competitive on the road against Seattle and nearly beating the Rams last Thursday, their chances can't be so easily dismissed. Arizona seems to be getting comfortable to life without Johnson and this could be a game where they see things come together better on both sides of the ball with a realistic chance to get to .500. I see that happening with a cover for the Cardinals this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Arizona Cardinals minus 7 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the San Francisco vs. Arizona 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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