Falcons vs. Cardinals Odds & Picks: Shootout Brewing in the Desert?
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1).
- The Arizona Cardinals hosts Atlanta as home underdogs coming off their first win.
- Our experts break down the betting odds, make their picks and more.
Falcons at Cardinals Odds & Picks
- Odds: Falcons -2.5
- Over/Under: 51.5
- Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FOX
The Falcons might be the least likely one-win team in the NFL, and they’ll head west to face a fellow one-win group in Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
Our experts preview this matchup, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick on the over/under.
Falcons-Cardinals Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Falcons
The Falcons are banged up in the secondary and could be down their best corner, Desmond Trufant (toe), who didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday. Julio Jones (hip) got in a limited practice session on Thursday, so I’d expect him to be OK for Sunday.
The primary injury to pay attention to on the Cardinals is David Johnson (back), who missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday. Johnson said his back locked up on Sunday, which is why Chase Edmonds came in for him. Friday will be a big indicator of whether Johnson will play. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Falcons Pass Offense vs. Cardinals Pass Defense
This could be a high-scoring, back-and-forth game that calls for voluminous aerial action, and that falls right into the Falcons’ wheelhouse.
The Falcons have a league-high 72.0% pass-play rate, and Matt Ryan leads the league with 222 attempts and 156 completions. He trails only Patrick Mahomes with his 1,885 air yards, and he and Mahomes are the only quarterbacks this year to pass for 300-plus yards in every start.
The Cardinals are second in the league in pace (24.0 seconds per play), which creates extra drives for opposing offenses, so the Falcons are likely to have even more plays than usual to throw the ball, and when they throw, they should have success: The Cardinals are No. 27 in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA.
The Cardinals are without starting cornerbacks Patrick Peterson (suspension) and Robert Alford (leg, injured reserve), which means that Jones and Calvin Ridley are matched up on the outside against temporary fill-ins. Both receivers should be able to get open at will.
And tight end Austin Hooper is especially likely to have success. He leads the team with 34 receptions, 363 yards receiving and 163 yards after the catch, and he’s facing a Cardinals defense that’s allowed league-high marks to the position with 92.2 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game.
And it also doesn’t hurt the Falcons that the Cardinals are No. 29 in pass defense DVOA against running backs. Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith could pitch in with significant production through the air.
In a game with the week’s second-highest over/under, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ryan and the Falcons pile on 400-plus passing yards. — Matthew Freedman
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Falcons -1.5
- Projected Total: 53
The Cardinals managed to get their first win of 2019 in Cincinnati. Now they get a 1-4 Falcons team that is reeling with secondary and offensive line issues. The public is backing the Falcons big here based on their public perception, but it’s worth noting that Ryan is 4-15 against the spread on the road over the past three seasons.
There was some odd line movement on Monday in which, despite getting 78% of the tickets, the line dropped from -2.5 to -1.5 and then to -1 over the first few hours.
It’s since climbed all the way up to -2.5 with enough juice that it’s likely going to hit -3 eventually. I’m guessing certain sharp bettors wanted to lock in the Cardinals while they were getting points — almost as if they were anticipating that the Cardinals would eventually be favored here. We’re likely to see public money flood in until it hits -3, at which point I think we see the sharps come in hard on the Cardinals again. — Sean Koerner
PRO System Match
The Cardinals and Falcons each have one win this season, but bettors have had more luck wagering on Arizona than Atlanta. The Cards are 3-2 ATS while the Dirty Birds are 1-4 ATS.
ATS records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet teams that have bad ATS records against opponents with winning ATS records.
Following this simple Pro System, bettors have gone 164-101-9 (61.9%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,398 following this strategy.
The Falcons are small road favorites on Sunday and expected to win. History suggests they’re a good bet to cover, too. — John Ewing
PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.
Mike Randle: Over 51.5
This matchup features two of the fastest offenses in the league. Arizona ranks second with an average of 24.1 second between play while Atlanta sits sixth at 25.6 seconds. Combine that with two defenses that rank in the bottom six in overall defensive DVOA, and this game has a high probability of hitting the over.
Ryan is third among all quarterbacks in passing yards and has thrown for 300-plus yards in every game this season. He’ll face an Arizona team that ranks third overall in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, trailing only New Orleans and, ironically, Atlanta.
The Falcons have been the worst at limiting opposing quarterbacks, allowing an average of 23.7 fantasy points per game. Atlanta has also allowed the second-most passing yards and second-most quarterback rushing touchdowns.
Murray has hit his stride over the past two weeks, averaging over 7.5 yards per attempt, while rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, the Cardinals boast the best run offense DVOA, even ranking ahead of the Ravens.
The Cardinals offense should benefit from a Falcons pass rush that ranks last with only five total sacks this season.
The Falcons feature superior receiving playmakers including Jones, Ridley, Mohammed Sanu and the overall TE1 in Hooper. And Arizona has been a sieve against tight ends, allowing 16.4 fantasy points per game, more than 33% more than the second-worst team (Tampa Bay).
Take two poor defenses vs. two explosive offenses that want to play at a fast pace, and you should have a recipe for a high-scoring shootout in the desert.