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49ers vs Cardinals Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFL Week 18

49ers vs Cardinals Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFL Week 18 article feature image
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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Christian McCaffrey (left) and Deebo Samuel.

  • The 49ers are 14.5-point favorites against the Cardinals.
  • San Francisco will be the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win and Eagles loss.
  • Blake Krass lays out his 49ers vs. Cardinals pick below.

This is one of the least consequential games of the NFL Week 18 slate, which makes it a bit complicated to handicap — especially when making a 49ers vs. Cardinals pick.

The Cardinals‘ season is over and they are in contention for a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They could fall anywhere between second and sixth overall depending on results.

Arizona is not trying to hard mask its tanking ways, as David Blough is starting at quarterback again while eight players have already been ruled out. Notable offensive players who are sidelined include DeAndre Hopkins and James Conner. Defensive starters including Zaven Collins, Marco Wilson and Zach Allen are also out.

The 49ers do have some motivation. They can still get the 1-seed with a win and an Eagles loss. However, that would require the Eagles losing as 14-point favorites to a Giants team playing backups. San Francisco could drop down to the 3-seed with a loss and a Vikings win.

I think the 49ers will at least start the game strong. Deebo Samuel and several other players are expected to play after dealing with injuries. If the 49ers weren’t motivated to win this game, they wouldn’t risk Deebo’s health before the postseason.

49ers vs. Cardinals Odds

Sunday, Jan. 8
4:25 p.m. ET
FOX
49ers Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-14.5
-105
40.5
-104o / -118u
-1100
Cardinals Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+14.5
-115
40.5
-104o / -118u
+700
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

49ers vs. Cardinals Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Cardinals and 49ers match up statistically:

49ers vs. Cardinals DVOA Breakdown
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 30 1
Pass DVOA 29 5
Rush DVOA 27 1
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 7 24
Pass DVOA 4 20
Rush DVOA 12 23

If the 49ers are fully motivated, they should comfortably win. Their defense is the best in the league, ranking first in both defensive DVOA and points per game. Against Blough, who is 0-6 SU in his career, and a diminished Cardinals offense, they should dominate.

San Francisco’s offense should also dominate. Since acquiring Christian McCaffrey, the offense has been almost as good as the defense. Since Week 10, the 49ers are second in offensive rush DVOA and third in pass DVOA.


Bet Arizona vs. San Francisco at FanDuel


The Cardinals’ banged-up and shorthanded defense, which is 24th overall in defensive DVOA, will struggle trying to stop San Francisco’s full arsenal of weapons. Deebo, George Kittle, McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk are all good to go, with undefeated rookie quarterback Brock Purdy at the helm.

The 49ers have struggled as favorites under Kyle Shanahan over the years, but this season has been different. In four games as favorites in the division, they are 4-0 ATS.

The Cardinals have had a tough travel schedule as well. They traveled to Atlanta last week, flew back to Arizona and are now off to San Francisco. The 49ers, on the other hand, have not left the Pacific Time Zone in seven weeks. They have not been to the East Coast since October 16.

My only hesitation in this not being a total blowout is the motivation level of the 49ers. Of course, they want to win, but if it’s halftime and they look up at the scoreboard and see the Eagles are up big on the Giants, will they keep up that high level of play?

For that reason, I think the best play here is to back the 49ers in the first half.

Betting Picks

The Cardinals have been awful early in games. They are last in average points scored in the first quarter (2.2). Overall, the 49ers are eighth in first-half points scored per game at nearly two touchdowns per first half. The Cardinals are 22nd in 1H PPG, and that is including games with Kyler Murray, Hopkins and Conner.

There is no question the 49ers will be motivated early on. I think they should jump out to a comfortable early lead. Once the second half rolls around, I’m not sure if they will keep their foot on the gas, as that depends on the Eagles-Giants game.

I’d back the 49ers to be up two scores at halftime and then sit on their lead in the second half.

Pick: 49ers 1H -7.5 | Bet to 1H 9.5

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