Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers 9/13/20 NFL Picks, Predictions, Betting Tips, Week 1
Game: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Date: 4 p.m., Sunday, September 13, 2020
Location: Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco, CA
Odds/Point Spread: San Francisco -8.0
Strength or speed? Take your pick.
Arizona and San Francisco offer a contrast in styles when they match up in a Week 1 NFC West shootout. Arizona’s lightning-strike offense will take its shot against the 49ers brutish defense. And on the flip side, the power running game of San Francisco will try to push around the speedy, turnover-hunting Cardinals stop unit.
Last year the 49ers were able to sweep this series despite an overmatched Cardinals squad putting up a pretty good fight. In the first meeting, Arizona (+10) saw a late comeback short circuit when their defense couldn’t get off in the field over the final five minutes, leading to a 28-25 loss. In the second matchup, Arizona (+10.5) had the lead with under a minute to play before Jimmy Garoppolo hit Jeff Wilson for a 25-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left. A fumble return TD on the next drive created a misleading 36-26 final.
San Francisco’s sweep snapped an eight-game winning streak by the Cardinals, who had owned this series. Arizona is 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 meetings and has covered five straight.
The Cardinals made one of the biggest moves of the offseason by stealing DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. Acquiring the best receiver in football should add an extra dimension to an offense that never really took off last year. The Cardinals were just No. 24 in passing offense and No. 21 in total yards while scoring just 22.6 points per game.
Hopkins will pair with ageless Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk to give young quarterback Kyler Murray a wealth of weapons. Murray showed a plethora of poise, accuracy and playmaking ability in his rookie season. And with a full year in Kliff Kingsbury’s system under his belt, Murray could be ready for a breakout 2020 campaign.
He’ll be going up against the NFL’s best pass defense. San Francisco allowed just 169.2 yards per game in the air last year while ringing up 48 sacks (No. 6 in the league). The 49ers have 10 of their 11 starters back on defense, although don’t be surprised if their pass D takes a slight step back this season.
Arizona has been receiving a lot of buzz this offseason, mainly because of the Hopkins trade. However, I still expect most of the early action in this game to come in on the side of the defending NFC champs. San Francisco is on the shortlist of teams expected to compete for this year’s Super Bowl title, while Arizona is still in the early stages of what is expected to be a multi-year rebuild.
I am skeptical of Kingsbury, a guy that’s been a perennial loser as a head coach. I like Arizona getting 7.5 or 8.0 points in this game because they showed last year that they could play with the Niners. I think San Francisco will have a normal Super Bowl hangover in the early stages of this season – title game losers are 4-16 against the spread in Week 1 the last 20 years – and that could open up the door for the Cardinals here.
I like the total in this game. Arizona played fast last year. They just didn’t play very efficiently. Hopkins is good enough to change that by himself. Arizona scored 25.5 points per game in their two meetings with San Francisco last year. Add Hopkins, and I think that they can top that here. On the other side, Arizona allowed 27.6 points per game last season (No. 28) while giving up an average of 32 points to the 49ers.
Everything about this game screams shootout to me. Arizona isn’t scared of the 49ers defense, and I think that they could jump on a team that I expect to have a slow start to the season. The 49ers certainly aren’t scared of one of the league’s worst defenses, and I think San Francisco will threaten 30 points by themselves in this one. I think that this game is going to fly over the total.
Who will win the Cardinals/49ers NFL game against the spread?
Robert Ferringo’s Pick: Take ‘Over’ 46.0 and lean Arizona (+7.5).
NOTE: Robert made these picks and predictions in May. Things can and will change in the four months between May and September. These May predictions may or may not match his rated Week 1 picks released to his clients on Thursday, Sept. 10.
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