This week the Arizona Cardinals are at home getting +7 -107 at Pinnacle against the 49ers. This matchup features two dominant defenses (Arizona is ranked 4th in points allowed and San Francisco is tied for 1st). Arizona has played very consistent on defense this season and is the only team in the NFL not to allow more than 21 points in any game this year. Both these defenses are excellent in pass coverage (Arizona is ranked 4th in passing yards allowed and San Francisco is ranked 1st.) In addition to playing excellent pass defense Arizona is also 5th in the NFL in sacks with 22. Alex Smith has been mistake prone going up against two good defenses in his last two games (4 INTs and a passer rating of 58.8 in the last two games). Even when Smith was playing well he primarily likes to check down to underneath receivers and run the short passing game which is why the Niners are ranked 22nd in the NFL in yards per completion. I expect the Arizona pass rush, led by standout Linebacker Daryl Washington (who has 6 sacks already this season), and the excellent Arizona secondary led by Pro Bowlers Adrian Wilson and Patrick Peterson to force Smith to consistently pass underneath on short routes and avoid the deep ball. While I expect the Niners will be able to run effectively and control the clock I think that all signs point to a low scoring grind-it-out affair without many big plays in the passing game for the Niners. Arizona’s Defense has forced 15 turnovers so far this year to the Niners D’s 11 so Arizona matches up quite well in the turnover battle. Obviously Arizona’s anemic offense will not score many point against the best defense in the NFL, but the Cardinals getting 7 points at home is too big of a line for the type of smash mouth grind it out game that this matchup of two excellent defenses will likely produce.
When you consider that since the start of the 2011 season, the Cardinals have had more games decided by one possession (17) than any NFL team and that Arizona leads the NFL as a home underdog ATS since 2006 going 16-7-0 (2-0-0 this season) then you should be able to take the +7 with a fairly high degree of confidence. This game is my Pick of the Week.