Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-4)
The Bengals were favored by 4 points on the early line last week and, despite getting blown out on Monday Night Football by the Mason Rudolph led Steelers, they still briefly opened as 3.5-point favorites this week, before the line quickly dropped to 3. Even at 3, I was still considering betting on the Cardinals, as that line suggests these two teams are about even, which I didn’t quite agree with. Neither of these teams has a win, but the Cardinals have a better first down rate differential (-7.18% vs. -10.15%) and seem to be in a better spot, as the Bengals may not be fully focused against a winless non-conference opponent, 6 days after a blowout loss, and before a divisional rivalry game against the Ravens. However, then I saw the injury reports on Friday.
The Bengals have had terrible injury luck thus far this season and, while they’ll still be without several players, including #1 wide receiver AJ Green and left tackle Cordy Glenn, they do get back a pair of key contributors on the defensive line, Ryan Glasgow and Carl Lawson, while the Cardinals could be without starting wide receivers Christian Kirk and Damiere Byrd, starting left guard Justin Pugh, starting cornerback Tramaine Brock, starter edge defender Terrell Suggs, and rotational defensive lineman Zach Allen. Only Allen and Kirk have been ruled out, but none of the others got in a full practice on Friday, so there’s too much certainty to bet the Cardinals right now. Depending on injury reports Sunday morning, I may decide to place a small bet on the Cardinals. They’re the pick for pick ‘em purposes regardless, as even if the Cardinals are without everyone I still have this line calculated at Cincinnati -3.
Sunday Update: Pugh, Brock, and Suggs are all playing for the Cardinals. I’m going to put a small bet on the Cardinals.
Arizona Cardinals 20 Cincinnati Bengals 19 Upset Pick +140
Pick against the spread: Arizona +3