Cardinals-49ers Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: How To Find Value On Over/Under With Kyler Murray Injured
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray.
Editor’s note: Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins have been ruled out of Sunday’s matchup against the 49ers.
With both players trending that direction over the final 24 hours, Cardinals-49ers odds have been on the move, with the over/under falling to 44.5 points across the market as of 3 p.m. ET on Sunday (which impacts our analyst’s pick).
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Cardinals suffered their first loss last Thursday against the Green Bay Packers. To add insult to injury, quarterback Kyler Murray sprained his ankle on the game’s final play.
Initially, there were reports that the injury could require up to a two-week timetable. It was severe enough that it kept Murray out of practice for the entire week.
However, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t view Murray’s involvement in practice this week as a prerequisite to playing on Sunday. That means his diminutive quarterback will be a game-time decision.
With Murray’s status still up in the air, it isn’t easy to target a side in this matchup. As a result, it makes sense to look to the total for a possible play because the under is where we can find some value.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Cardinals vs. 49ers Injury Report
- RB Jonathan Ward (concussion): Out
- S James Wiggins (knee): Out
- DE J.J. Watt (shoulder): Out
- DT Rashard Lawrence (calf): Out
- QB Kyler Murray (ankle): Questionable
- WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring): Questionable
- OL Max Garcia (Achilles): Questionable
- DL Maurice Hurst (calf): Out
- DB Jimmie Ward (quad): Out
- WR Deebo Samuel (calf): Questionable
- RB Elijah Mitchell (rib): Questionable
- DL Dee Ford (back): Questionable
Cardinals vs. 49ers Matchup
|Cardinals Offense||DVOA Rank||49ers Defense|
|Cardinals Defense||DVOA Rank||49ers Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Will the Cardinals Risk Murray?
The quarterback position is the obvious place to begin our analysis, given Murray’s injury status. His absence from practice this week is certainly a worry, and one has to wonder whether he can further aggravate the injury if he’s rushed back onto the field too soon.
With only one loss on the season, this isn’t exactly a must-win game for the Cardinals. Last week, we saw the Cowboys take a similar approach in resting Dak Prescott, given their commanding lead in the NFC East.
Only Murray knows his pain threshold, but the risk-reward decision should be taken out of his hands if there’s any uncertainty. Anytime there’s injury news involving a quarterback, you’ll have certain bettors looking to get in front of the line move.
As a result, it’s difficult to think that Murray will play after the Cardinals opened as a three-point favorite only to now be a 2.5-point underdog heading into the game. With that kind of line move, someone might know a whole lot about something.
McCoy & Cardinals Defense Could Lead To Fewer Points
Murray likely won’t be 100% if he plays. If he doesn’t, backup quarterback Colt McCoy will take his place under center.
One thing we know is that McCoy has a limited skill set. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be a backup. Thus, I don’t think we’ll see a very expansive game plan for him.
Here’s something to keep in mind regarding the total. The under has cashed in 15 of the last 18 games that McCoy’s started.
Defensively, the Cardinals can be a real nuisance for opposing teams. They’ll be up against a 49ers team that is ranked sixth in run play percentage (45.54%), which should help keep the clock running.
San Francisco’s best attribute on offense is its run game. Although the 49ers rank third in rush DVOA, I think the Cardinals will happily cede the ground game to their opponents.
Under Bettors Can Profit From QB Uncertainty
Jimmy Garropolo still has plenty of doubters regarding his quality as a consistent starter at this level. His Total QBR has dropped in each season since San Francisco’s 2019 run to the Super Bowl. That year, he registered a Total QBR of 60.8. The following year, it fell to 54.0 and is down to 47.6 in 2021.
With Garropolo’s Total QBR plummeting, it’s no wonder the Niners have struggled to score points against the better defensive teams in the league. When facing teams ranked in the top half of defensive DVOA, San Francisco has yet to score more than 18 points. Two of those games went under the total, including their previous matchup with the Cardinals.
With this being their second divisional meeting, both teams should be reasonably familiar with one another.
The 49ers will undoubtedly catch a break if they don’t have to face Murray on Sunday since defending the pass is the weakest part of their defense.
However, should Murray play in the game, can we expect a better performance than last week, especially if he’s carrying a bum ankle? From a totals perspective, the under has cashed in Arizona’s previous two games, three of their last four and four of their previous six.
Even if he does play, the 49ers defense likely won’t have to worry about him tucking the football and scampering for a run. That means they won’t need to assign a player to spy on Murray. Instead, they’ll be able to drop more defenders to help out their pass defense. Of course, if Murray doesn’t play and McCoy starts, one can imagine far fewer worries for the 49ers defensively.
NFL Pick: Cardinals vs. 49ers
We already have a great nugget on how profitable the under can be with McCoy as a starter. Here are a few more reasons to support a play on the under:
- The last three meetings between these teams have gone under the total.
- The total is 7-3 to the under in their previous 10 meetings.
- After an ATS loss, the total has gone under in Arizona’s last four games.
- In Arizona’s last 12 road games, the total is 10-2 to the under.
Lastly, our Action Labs database shows that under bettors are up +34.96 units in regular-season divisional games historically.
The total opened at 47, and it’s now down to 45.5 at BetMGM. Provided that Murray doesn’t play, I think it’s playable down to 45. I’ll also look to recover some of those points by playing a two-leg, six-point Wong teaser to grab the under at 51.5 and pair it with the Chiefs at -1.
Pick: Under 45.5 | Bet to 45
Bonus Pick: Two-Team Six-Point Teaser: Cardinals-49ers u51.5 and Chiefs -1
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