Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 17 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

The Cardinals’ season was derailed by injuries, particularly on offense, where they have lost quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson, and their three best week 1 starting offensive linemen (left tackle DJ Humphries, left guard Mike Iupati, and right tackle Jared Veldheer) for the season. I’ve bet against the Cardinals frequently since they have had all these injuries, but I won’t be doing that this week because I’ve been underrating their defense.

Their defense has remained strong throughout the season, as they rank 7th in first rate allowed at 31.90%, despite losing outside linebacker Markus Golden and safety Tyvon Branch for the season earlier this year. Young players like Budda Baker, Olsen Pierre, and Kareem Martin have stepped up in big ways, though the Cardinals will be without talented safety Antoine Bethea in this one. I’m still taking the Seahawks as 9-point home favorites this week because of the Cardinals’ abysmal offense with Drew Stanton under center, but I only have this line calculated at Seattle -9.5, so we aren’t getting any line value with them.

Seattle Seahawks 20 Arizona Cardinals 10

Pick against the spread: Seattle -9

Confidence: None

New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals: 2017 Week 16 NFL Pick

New York Giants (2-12) at Arizona Cardinals (6-8)

This is one of the cases where I wish I had taken the early line last week, as the Cardinals were ridiculous 7-point favorites over the Giants last week on the early line. The line has since moved to 3.5. The Giants played decent last week in a close home loss to the Eagles, while the Cardinals lost by 5 in Washington, but those aren’t the kind of results that typically trigger significant line movements like that. Perhaps the odds makers just realized they had made a big mistake with the original line.

Even at 3.5, I still like the Giants a little bit, as I have the Cardinals only favored by a point. They’ve benched quarterback Blaine Gabbert, just a couple weeks after weirdly talking him up as a potential quarterback of the future, and will turn back to veteran Drew Stanton, who is arguably worse. He hasn’t completed more than 50% of his passes or averaged more than 6 yards per attempt since 2014 and has more interceptions than touchdowns in his career. He’s also playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in football, with 4 of their 5 week 1 starters out for the season upfront, and he doesn’t have a running game to support him, with both David Johnson and Adrian Peterson out for the season as well.

Defensively, they are a solid unit, but not as good as they were earlier in the season, before safety Tyvon Branch and outside linebacker Markus Golden got hurt. The Giants arguably have the better defense in this one, in addition to having the better quarterback. That will depend in large part on whether or not safety Landon Collins plays through his ankle injury this week, but I think the Giants are worth a small bet at 3.5 even with his status uncertain. About 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less and the Cardinals have just 3 wins by more than a field goal all season.

Arizona Cardinals 17 New York Giants 16

Pick against the spread: NY Giants +3.5

Confidence: Medium

Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins: 2017 Week 15 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (6-7) at Washington Redskins (5-8)

The Redskins have fallen to 5-8 after a big 30-13 loss in Los Angeles against the Chargers last week, while the Cardinals snuck out a 12-7 home victory over the skidding Titans to improve to 6-7. As a result, this line shifted from Washington -6 to -4, a significant line movement, considering about 15% of games are decided by 4-6 points. Typically I love going against significant week-to-week line movements, as they tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play. This time is no exception.

The Redskins looked bad against the Chargers last week, but the Chargers are a legitimately good team, so I don’t hold that against them too much. The Redskins have looked a lot better against other legitimately good teams this season, beating the Seahawks and Rams and coming close against the Saints. In fact, they’ve had the toughest schedule in the NFL so far this season, so their 5-8 record doesn’t look so bad all things considered. The good news for them is they close out the season with arguably the easiest schedule in the league, facing the Cardinals, Broncos, and Giants.

This home game against the Cardinals is arguably their 3rd easiest game of the entire season, outside of home games against the 49ers and Giants. The Cardinals have been destroyed by injury this season, particularly on offense, where they are without quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson, wide receiver John Brown, and 4 of their 5 starting offensive linemen from week 1. On defense, they are without safety Tyvon Branch and outside linebacker Markus Golden, two above average starters.

They’ve won 3 games since losing Carson Palmer in a week 7 blowout loss in London to the Rams (33-0), but one of them came in San Francisco against a 49ers team that was winless at the time and the other two came in close fashion at home against the Titans and Jaguars, in games in which the Cardinals won despite losing the first down battle. They’ve also lost at home to the Seahawks and Rams and even lost by 10 in Houston to Tom Savage. They haven’t been very good on the road in general this season, going 1-5 ATS away from home. On top of that, they could be a little flat after a big home victory last week. Teams only cover the spread at a 45% off of a home upset victory. I like the Redskins a good amount this week.

Washington Redskins 24 Arizona Cardinals 16

Pick against the spread: Washington -4

Confidence: High

Tennessee Titans at Arizona Cardinals: 2017 Week 14 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (8-4) at Arizona Cardinals (5-7)

The Titans were high on my underrated list to start the season and have been a frequent bet of mine this season as a result. They are exceeding many people’s expectations at 8-4, but I’ve been pretty underwhelmed with them. They needed long, meaningless touchdowns at the end of the game against the Colts and Texans to cover those spreads. If not for those touchdowns, they would just have one cover since week 3 and that cover was a 4-point win as 3-point favorites in Indianapolis two weeks ago.

They’d also have just 1 win by more than a touchdown all season without those two touchdowns, despite the fact that they’ve had a very easy schedule. Their last 6 wins have come against the Colts (x2), the Texans, the Browns, the Ravens, and the Bengals and none of those wins would have come by more than a touchdown without those two meaningless touchdowns. In terms of first down rate differential, they rank just 20th at -0.85%. They also have a -16 point differential on the season and that includes those two meaningless touchdowns.

I’ve had them as a top-10 team talentwise all season, but their coaching staff is underwhelming and seems to be holding them back. On top of that, they are dealing with some injuries to starters right now, something that’s been a rarity for this team over the past couple years. Valuable base package run stuffing defensive end Da’Quan Jones is out for the season, while starting outside linebacker Derrick Morgan will miss this game at the very least.

All of that being said, I am going to be placing a bet on the Titans again this week because we are getting too much line value with Tennessee -2.5. Only about 9% of games are decided by 2 points or fewer, so the Titans basically have to just win straight up here to cover, which they shouldn’t have a ton of trouble doing against the Cardinals, even in Arizona. With Blaine Gabbert under center and all of the other injuries the Cardinals have suffered this season, they are one of the 4 or 5 worst teams in the league. I have this line calculated at -4.5, even as underwhelming as the Titans have been thus far this season. Considering about 20% of games are decided by 3-4 points, that’s a significant amount of line value. The Titans are worth a bet if you can get 2.5.

Tennessee Titans 24 Arizona Cardinals 19

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -2.5

Confidence: Medium

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals: 2017 Week 13 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (8-3) at Arizona Cardinals (5-6)

The Rams are coming off their biggest win of the season, as they snapped the Saints’ 8-game losing streak last week, but they are in a terrible spot this week in Arizona. This seems like an obvious trap game, given that the Rams have to host the NFC leading Eagles next week, a game in which they will definitely be home underdogs (+3 on the early line). Road favorites are just 36-57 ATS since 2008 before being home underdogs and the Rams could easily slip up with a tough game on deck.

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend a bet on the Cardinals at +7, as we just aren’t getting that much line value with them. I have this line calculated at Rams -6.5, as the Cardinals are missing a ton of expected starters with injury. The Cardinals pulled off the upset as 5 point home underdogs last week against the Jaguars, but that actually puts them in a bad spot this week, as teams only cover at a 45% rate after a win as home underdogs. It could be tough for the Cardinals to put up that kind of effort two weeks in a row, especially with Adrian Peterson being questionable with a neck injury. I’m taking the Cardinals for pick ‘em purposes, but would need at least 7.5 to consider making a bet on them.

Los Angeles Rams 24 Arizona Cardinals 20

Pick against the spread: Arizona +7

Confidence: Low

Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals: 2017 Week 12 NFL Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

The Jaguars will be without cornerback All-Pro caliber cornerback Jalen Ramsey in this game, the first major injury they’ve dealt with on defense. That would be a huge blow to a lot of teams, but the Jaguars still have arguably the best defense in the league even without him and fellow cornerback AJ Bouye is more than capable of being a #1 cornerback. They don’t have a tough opponent either, as they head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. The Cardinals once had one of the best rosters in the NFL, but they’ve lost so much talent, even just in the last year and now they have arguably the worst roster in the NFL.

Quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson, left guard Mike Iupati, offensive tackle DJ Humphries, safety Tyvon Branch, and outside linebacker Markus Golden are on injured reserve. Defensive tackle Corey Peters and wide receiver John Brown are out for this game as well. Defensive end Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson, safety DJ Swearinger, middle linebacker Kevin Minter, wide receiver Michael Floyd, and cornerback Marcus Cooper left in free agency. Right guard Evan Mathis retired. Middle linebacker Deone Bucannon, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu are struggling and do not seem 100% back from their off-season injuries.

The Cardinals have made some nice additions like safety Antoine Bethea, cornerback Tramon Williams, defensive back Budda Baker, and running back Adrian Peterson, but that doesn’t come close to replacing what they’ve lost. They also have gotten next to nothing positive from their last 2 first round picks, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche and linebacker Haason Reddick. I wish Ramsey was playing, but I still have this line calculated at -6.5, so we’re still getting some line value with the Jaguars, as I don’t think this line truly takes into account how bad the Cardinals are without all of the players they’ve lost due to injury. Last week they lost by double digits to the Texans.

The Cardinals are also in a tough spot because they have to host the Rams next week, a game in which they are 6 point underdogs on the early line. Teams are just 36-67 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more, as big upcoming home games tend to present a major distraction for teams. On top of that, if the Cardinals get down big early, a strong possibility, they could just quit with another tough game on deck. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have a nice, easy home game against the Colts on deck and should play well with no real upcoming distraction. They have a good chance to win by a touchdown or more, so Jacksonville is worth a bet as long as the line is less than 6.

Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Arizona Cardinals 12

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville -5

Confidence: Medium

Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans: 2017 Week 11 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (4-5) at Houston Texans (3-6)

Both of these teams have had their season derailed by injuries to their starting quarterback, as Carson Palmer and Deshaun Watson are out indefinitely with a broken arm and a torn ACL respectively. As a result, these two teams are starting Blaine Gabbert and Tom Savage respectively, two of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. Quarterback isn’t the only place these two teams are banged up though. The Cardinals have lost left tackle DJ Humphries, running back David Johnson, left guard Mike Iupati, outside linebacker Markus Golden, and safety Tyvon Branch for the season with injuries, while the Texans are missing defensive end JJ Watt, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, defensive end Christian Covington, and wide receiver Will Fuller.

With all that these two teams are missing, they are two of the worst teams in the entire NFL. I have them more or less even in my roster rankings, suggesting that the hometown Texans should be favored by about a field goal. Given that, we are getting line value with them as just 1 point home favorites, but it’s not enough for me to bet on Houston confidently. For pick ‘em purposes, the Texans should be the pick, but I would not recommend betting on either of these teams.

Houston Texans 20 Arizona Cardinals 17

Pick against the spread: Houston -1

Confidence: Low