Unbeaten No More: Cardinals Look To Rebound As Road Underdogs Against 49ers

Written By C.J. Pierre on November 5, 2021 - Last Updated on November 6, 2021
Cardinals Week 9 NFL Betting Preview

Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Arizona Cardinals‘ quest for the perfect season came to an end last week with a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers. The packed house at State Farm Stadium was treated to a wild game that came down to the final play.

But in the end, miscommunication between quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver AJ Green led to a costly interception and sealed the 24-21 win for Green Bay. The pick also sealed the fate of bettors hoping to see the Cards go 17-0 or even possibly 20-0 and win the Super Bowl. It was a long shot, but the team took fans on a fun ride through the season’s first eight weeks.

Now Arizona’s focus needs to be on winning the NFC West and securing a spot in the playoffs. And there is no better way to do that than beating one of your division rivals, as Arizona heads to California to take on the San Francisco 49ers. However, sportsbooks in the Grand Canyon State favor San Fran as the Cards will be facing a different 49ers team than they did in Week 5.

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Cardinals road dogs in second matchup with 49ers

Despite owning the best record in the NFL (tied for the best, anyway) and even beating San Francisco by a touchdown when these two teams squared off a month ago, betting apps in Arizona have the Cardinals as slight underdogs heading into Sunday’s NFC West showdown. The Cards are sitting at against the spread, while the over/under for total points remains at .

This is a vastly different line than what we saw in Week 5. Then, Arizona was favored by more than a field goal at home against the 49ers. However, there are several notable differences between then and now.

Heading into that game, San Francisco was dealing with health problems at quarterback. Starter Jimmy Garoppolo was sidelined with an injury, meaning rookie Trey Lance had to make his first career NFL start on the road.

This week, it is the Cardinals dealing with the injury bug. Kyler Murray got hurt late in the game against Green Bay and has not practiced this week. If he can’t go, that would mean Colt McCoy would be called upon to make his 31st career start in 11 seasons.

The Cardinals could also be without star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is dealing with a hamstring injury and has not practiced this week. According to head coach Kliff Kingsbury, both Hopkins and Murray are considered game-time decisions to play Sunday against the 49ers.

Arizona Cardinals (7-1) at San Francisco 49ers (3-4)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 5th
Time: 2:25 p.m. MST
Location: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California
TV Coverage: FOX

How injuries impact individual prop bets

Player props are popular within the NFL betting world. However, injuries can derail a bettor’s hopes to score big, even before kickoff. For example, sportsbooks in Arizona have yet to make any player prop betting available on the Cardinals-49ers game. That’s due to the uncertainty of the playing status of key players like Murray and Hopkins. We might not see any until the day of the game.

In this case, Murray has a huge impact on what the Cardinals do offensively. So if he doesn’t play, it’s almost as if a completely different team will be out on the field. If Colt McCoy starts, Cardinals betting odds may shift as they relate to the over/under on rushing yards for Arizona running backs, as oddsmakers may expect the team to focus more on the ground game.

However, Murray’s potential absence is also delaying the release of prop bets for the 49ers players. That’s because Murray being on the field will likely change how San Francisco decides to attack offensively.

At the same time, if you look over at the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, you’ll see a slightly different approach. New Orleans is dealing with QB issues of its own. As of Friday morning, there are no prop bets available for Saints players.

Still, oddsmakers feel confident enough in the game outlook that they have put up prop bets for players on the Falcons regardless of what the Saints do at quarterback.

Race for the NFC West

We are eight weeks into the season, and the outlook of the tough NFC West is very different from before the season started.

Heading into the year, AZ sportsbooks projected the Cardinals to finish dead last in the division. Now the Cards are actually favored to claim the division title.

Arizona (7-1) is looking to avoid a downslide midway through the season. Two out of their next three games are on the road against division opponents. A few slip-ups could see them fall out of the hunt for the division crown and right in the thick of the wildcard race.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams (7-1) are pushing all their chips onto the table and going all-in on a run at a Super Bowl. The team just traded for All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller, who joins an already star-studded defense that complements an explosive attack led by quarterback (and possible MVP candidate) Matthew Stafford.

San Francisco (3-4) is not giving up yet in the division race. Injuries have decimated the 49ers for the second year in a row. However, they are just starting to get healthy and still have games against all their division rivals.

And don’t forget about the Seattle Seahawks (3-5), a team that was rocked after starting quarterback Russell Wilson broke a finger on his throwing hand. Backup Geno Smith has done enough to keep the team competitive. And while five losses could be too much to come back from to win the division, a return from Wilson will be more than enough to make the Hawks a threat for a wild card spot.

Seven NFC teams will make the playoffs. So, there remains a real possibility that all four NFC West teams make it to the postseason.

Photo by AP / Rick Scuteri
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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