Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (+3.5, 42)
The Arizona Cardinals have been plagued by turnovers of late and the trendy preseason Super Bowl pick temporarily are faced with turning over the keys to backup quarterback Drew Stanton on Thursday when they visit the San Francisco 49ers. Veteran Carson Palmer did not travel with the team to California due to a concussion, leaving Stanton to be left looking to conjure the magic that saw him pull a 5-3 mark out of his hat during a stint in 2014.
Stanton struggled mightily in taking over for the concussed Palmer on Sunday, completing just 4-of-11 passes in a 17-13 setback to Los Angeles and his two interceptions upped Arizona’s turnover total to nine during its two-game skid. “I’ll say this, I never envisioned this type of start,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I don’t know that anybody — fans or anybody in the organization — would have envisioned this.” The 49ers had no such issue with the Rams with a 28-0 season-opening shellacking, but the defense of Chip Kelly’s club summarily has been shredded to the tune of 458.3 yards and 35.7 points per contest during its three-game losing streak. To add injury to insult, four-time NFL All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman sustained a torn left Achilles in Sunday’s 24-17 setback to Dallas and will miss the rest of the season.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: The Cardinals opened this game as 2.5-point road faves and were bet as high as -4, but then the news came out Palmer would miss the game, the line dropped back to Cardinals -3.5. The total has also dropped with Stanton taking the snaps for Palmer, going from 43.5 to 43, to the current number of 42. Check out the complete line history here.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cardinals (-1) – 49ers (+6) + home field (-3) = 49ers +4
Cardinals – QB C. Palmer (Out Thursday, concussion), T D. Humphries (probable Thursday, ankle), TE D. Fells (questionable Thursday, shoulder), DT E. Stinson (questionable Thursday, toe), CB J. Bethel (questionable Thursday, foot), DT J. Mauro (questionable, chest), DT F. Rucker (questionable Thursday, knee), DT R. Nkemdiche (questionable Thursday, ankle).
49ers – TE V. McDonald (probable Thursday, hip), DL A. Armstead (probable Thursday, shoulder), CB M. Cromartie (probable Thursday, ankle), G Z. Beadles (questionable Thursday, ankle), CB C. Davis (questionable Thursday, quadricep), WR J. Kerley (questionable Thursday, ankle), DL G. dorsey (questionable Thursday, knee), DB J. Ward (questionable Thursday, quadricep), Dl D. Buckner (doubtful Thursday, foot). LB N. Bowman (out for season, Achilles).
WEATHER REPORT: It is shaping up to be a beautiful night for football in Santa Clara. The forecast is calling for clear skies with temperatures in the high 60’s for the game. There is also going to be a six to 11 mile per hour wind gusting towards the southern endzone.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has dropped back-to-back games on only two occasions in his NFL career with Arizona and as a result finds his team languishing in a tie for last place in he NFC West division along with the 49ers. The key to this contest is the concussion protocol in which QB Carson Palmer is under. With him they don’t figure to drop three straight games. Without him they’ve got a headache – pun intended. The dataabse tells us Frisco is 1-5 ATS on Thursdays, but ‘Zona is 0-8 ATS in the 2nd of back-to-back division games.” – Covers Expert Marc Lawrence.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “Initial money came in on Arizona, driving the spread up to -4.5, but that’s starting to look more and more like a ploy play. We’re back down to -3, and my guess is that this could end up closing lower than that. Currently, the money favors Arizona 60-40 while the bets are 75-25 on the road squad.” – Odds consultant Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (1-3, 1-3 ATS, 1-3 O/U): David Johnson (64 carries, 300 yards, three TDs) leads the NFL with 510 yards from scrimmage and has recorded 100 or more total yards in all four contests this season and eight of his last nine games. Johnson amassed 124 from scrimmage (83 rushing, 41 receiving) versus the Rams, but the workload was decidedly different in last year’s season series with San Francisco (15 carries, 46 yards). The 24-year-old will be spelled by Andre Ellington, as veteran Chris Johnson (groin) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Tyvon Branch was also shuffled to IR, with fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu temporarily being moved into the slot while D.J. Swearinger plays in nickel packages.
ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-3, 1-3 ATS, 2-2 O/U): San Francisco collected eight takeaways in its first three games to provide a helping hand for the NFL’s 28th-ranked offense, which scored a league-best 45 points off the turnovers after mustering an NFL-worst 25 for the entire 2015 season. The 49ers failed to force a turnover versus the Cowboys on Sunday and Blaine Gabbert’s fourth interception of the season ended his team’s bid for an upset. Carlos Hyde (73 carries, 299 yards, NFC-best five TDs) is averaging 4.9 yards per rush over his last two games, but was limited to just 51 yards in a 47-7 loss at Arizona on Sept. 27.
* Cardinals are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* 49ers are 1-5 ATS in their last six Thursday games.
* Under is 4-0 in Cardinals last four versus NFC West opponents.
* Under is 8-1 in 49ers last nine Thursday games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: So far the public is still backing the Cardinals, even without Carson Palmer, with 62 percent of wagers laying the points with the road faves. Meanwhile the total is seeing a much more even split, with 52 percent of wagers on the Over.
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