San Francisco 49ers (7-0) at Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1)
The Patriots have gotten a lot of attention for how they’ve started the season, but the 49ers have arguably been better. Their point differential (+130) is behind New England’s (+189), but they’ve also played one fewer game and they’ve been far less dependent on the turnover margin (+17 vs. +4), which tends to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. In terms of first down rate differential, the 49ers hold the edge 12.75% to 11.61%. That’s despite the fact that the 49ers have faced a tougher schedule than the Patriots.
The 49ers’ schedule does get easier this week, as they head to Arizona for Thursday Night Football. The Cardinals are 3-4-1, but their three wins have come by an average of 3.3 points per game against 3 teams that are a combined 3-21, while their four losses have come by an average of 15.8 points per game. In terms of first down rate differential, they rank 30th at -7.59%. They should have a lot of trouble with the 49ers, like they have with all competent or better competition this season.
Unfortunately, we’re not getting much line value with the 49ers, as this line has skyrocketed from San Francisco -6.5 on the early line last week to San Francisco -10, after the 49ers blew out the Panthers last week, while the Cardinals were blown out in New Orleans. I have this line calculated at San Francisco -12, but there’s not enough here for the 49ers to be worth betting, especially since these Thursday night games can be tough to predict.
I am also locking in TB +6 @ SEA before that line moves any more. I am considering that for Pick of the Week.
San Francisco 49ers 26 Arizona Cardinals 13
Pick against the spread: San Francisco -10