Oct 152016

New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (2-3)

This is a tough one. On one hand, the Cardinals were 6.5 point favorites on the early line last week and now are 8 point favorites, so we’ve lost value with them in the last week. Meanwhile, the Jets are in a great spot in their 2nd of two road games. Teams are 133-98 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 108-66 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 233-234 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.49 points per game, as opposed to 333-455 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.80 points per game.

On the other hand, the Cardinals are much better than their 2-3 record suggests and 8 might still be too low for this line, as there’s a major talent gap between these two teams. Despite their record, they still rank 4th in first down percentage differential and have a point differential of +24, 10th best in the NFL. Their offense (which ranks 13th in first down percentage) hasn’t been as good as last season, but their defense has been just as good, entering this game 6th in first down percentage allowed.

Their offense gets a boost this week with Carson Palmer returning from a one-game concussion absence, but Palmer hasn’t played nearly as well this season as last season and the Cardinals will be without both talented guards Evan Mathis and Mike Iupati with injury in this one. Even without them, Palmer still has a ton of talent around him on offense and the Cardinals are still a lot better than the Jets, who rank 30th in first down percentage differential and have one of the weakest rosters in the NFL, without stud wide receiver Eric Decker for the season and without top linebacker David Harris at least for this week. I can’t be confident in the Cardinals at 8, especially with the Jets in a good spot, but they should be the right side.

Arizona Cardinals 27 New York Jets 17

Pick against the spread: Arizona -8

Confidence: None

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