It was another cracking night of NFL football last night with some nail-biting divisional matchups and the usual fair share of unexpected score lines. Three teams were held to just a field goal and while it’s no surprise to see the Panthers on this list and slightly lesser so the Jets, it is a surprise to see the NFC’s form team the Vikings held to a field goal at home to the Cowboys. The Cowboys proved the bookies right as they entered the game as favourites despite the Vikings being 8-1 and on a seven-game win streak.
We have another divisional game on Monday Night Football tonight with the 49ers and the Cardinals visiting the Stadio Azteca in Mexico City for the final international game of the NFL season, it’s even higher than Mile High in Denver so the second half of the game could see more scoring as the defenders start to tire.
San Francisco 49ers -9.5 @ Cardinals: 43.0
The NFC West sums up this NFL season pretty well with last season’s Super Bowl winners, the Rams sitting at the bottom and the unfancied Seahawks currently at the top at 6-4. Tonight the 49ers have the chance to join Seattle at that record and overtake them due to their head-to-head win, they are currently 3-0 in divisional games and 2-4 against the rest. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are essentially facing a must-win game if they are to have any playoff aspirations.
It looks as though they will be relying on Colt McCoy again though with Kyler Murray likely to sit out until after their Week 13 bye and Hollywood Brown also remaining sidelined.
Some were a little surprised at how much work Elijah Mitchell got when he returned from injury last week against the Chargers, but it looks as though the 49ers are going to use a split backfield to keep Christian McCaffrey as healthy as possible for the second half of the season and the playoff run. Mitchell took 35% of the snaps but had 18 carries to McCaffrey’s 14 and actually looked a little better running the ball than his teammate. It’ll probably be around a 50/50 split tonight with McCaffrey being more involved in the passing game, as usual. Mitchel at 15/8 to score a touchdown with SkyBet seems like a smash, it should be close to evens. He’s 16/1 for a brace at SkyBet as well, which is again much higher than elsewhere.
Brandan Aiyuk leads the team in all of the receiving stats with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle not too far behind. It is hard to predict which way the targets are going to go in this offense but Aiyuk has had over 80 yards in each of the last four games and his line is down at 55.5 tonight, so I like him to hit the over there. Deebo is at 53.5 and Kittle is at 44.5, I am leaning towards the under for both.
The Cardinals season has been a bit of a mess and they would have been hoping that they would finally have all of their skill players on offense available for the first time this season tonight. But Kyler looks to be set to miss out again and Hollywood Brown hasn’t returned from IR.
Colt McCoy will start at QB and put in a solid performance against the Rams last week, although Zach Wilson or Baker Mayfield could probably lead their teams to wins over the Rams with how they have been playing recently. It seems pretty easy to fade the Cardinals passing game against one of the best defenses in the league but I think 218.5 is too low to take the under. I think I will take McCoy to throw an interception at 4/6 though.
Last week McCoy sent over 70% of his targets to DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore but it was AJ Green that scored the touchdown. Hopkins had 10 catches for 98 yards and Moore had nine for 94. With Brown still out and Zach Ertz now done for the season, Hopkins and Moore are probably in line for similar workloads this week. Looking at their lines, I think I am more confident in Moore going over 54.5 than Hopkins over 74.5 but would probably avoid both.
James Conner returned to his full workload in the running game last week with 21 carries and with backup Eno Benjamin now off the roster, he will get almost all of the RB carries again. He wasn’t very efficient last week and hasn’t been all season so the under on his 50.5 yard line is probably the way to go.
It wouldn’t be the first time this season that a near ten-point favourite failed to win but it’s hard to see anything other than a 49ers win against a backup quarterback. I think it’ll be a low scorer as well so would lean the under and probably towards the Cardinals covering.
49ers to win, a McCaffrey touchdown and under 44 points is a 4/1 boost with William Hill which looks solid.