Cardinals vs. Seahawks Odds, Predictions, Picks: How To Bet This Updated Spread with Kyler Murray Out
Ralph Freso/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson
Sunday afternoon update: With Kyler Murray expected to miss Week 11, the Seahawks at -2.5 or better are now a bet (check real-time NFL odds here).
We know what Cardinals backup quarterback Colt McCoy is at this point — he has obvious limitations down the field. And the Seahawks’ run defense is solid enough to contain James Conner.
Editor’s note: The rest of this story was written and published before news broke about Murray, though some of the analysis is still relevant to our analyst’s handicap of this matchup.
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Anytime the Cardinals and Seahawks meet, we as NFL fans are always the winners. Last season’s matchups gave us the legendary DK Metcalf tackle and thrilling late Seahawks red-zone stand. And who could forget the 6-6 tie a few years ago?
The big news here is the status of Kyler Murray, which is extremely important to the handicap of this game. Even Colt McCoy’s status is up in the air! Even he’s an upgrade over third-stringer Chris Streveler.
Whether Murray plays, this is still a huge game. The Cardinals need to keep winning to stay in the hunt for the No. 1 seed and the NFC West title. Seattle’s season, meanwhile, is on life support at 3-5.
The desperate Seahawks playing at home against a brutally injured Arizona team? The market has certainly bought into the Seahawks this weekend. Should you?
Here are some thoughts on how to approach this game.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Cardinals vs. Seahawks Injury Report
- WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring): Out
- RB Jonathan Ward (concussion): Out
- OL Justin Pugh (calf): Out
- LB Tanner Vallejo (knee): Out
- QB Kyler Murray (ankle): Questionable
- QB Colt McCoy (pec): Questionable
- OL Max Garcia (Achilles): Questionable
- DT Corey Peters (shoulder): Questionable
- S James Wiggins (knee): Questionable
- S Budda Baker (heel): Questionable
- DE Kerry Hyder Jr. (calf): Questionable
- T Jamarco Jones (back): Questionable
- CB DJ Reed (groin): Questionable
- SS Jamal Adams (groin): Questionable
- LB Cody Barton (quad): Questionable
Cardinals vs. Seahawks Matchup
|Cardinals Offense||DVOA Rank||Seahawks Defense|
|Cardinals Defense||DVOA Rank||Seahawks Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
How Do Cardinals Adjust Without Murray?
It’s true that the Cardinals handily beat the 49ers with McCoy under center, but a lot about that game that was unsustainable. For one, McCoy had just a 3.5 average depth of target (aDoT), and the Cardinals averaged 0.62 Expected Points Added (EPA) per play on nine third-down passes, which is an astronomical number. And the Cardinals recovered three fumbles.
If McCoy, or god forbid Streveler, starts in this game, Arizona’s offense will be in trouble. We saw Streveler in Week 17 last season against the Rams — it wasn’t pretty.
A high-ankle sprain is hard to recover from quickly, especially for a mobile player like Murray. It’s not just the running itself, but the very threat of him getting outside the pocket that makes pass rushers more containment focused. Murray has improved quite a bit as a pure pocket passer since his rookie year, but he’s at his most dangerous when he can move around.
Murray’s top receiving target, DeAndre Hopkins, is out. A.J. Green, Rondale Moore and Christian Kirk are serviceable, but none of them individually strike fear into an opponent. Chase Edmonds is still out, removing another threat out of the passing game. James Conner becomes the best red-zone option for Arizona if Murray is out.
If Murray plays, which I expect him to, he’ll be nowhere near 100%. Without Hopkins, you have an Arizona offense that will struggle to reach a median outcome.
The Seahawks Love Close Games
Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have been playing close games since Wilson was drafted. Since 2018, the Seahawks have only lost eight games by more than seven points, and each of those should have ended closer than the final score suggested.
Despite having Wilson, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Seattle has insisted on running the ball at rates near the top of the league. Since 2018, the Seahawks have run the ball on half of their early downs, 24th in the NFL. Despite leading the NFL in EPA per dropback on early downs, Carroll and his staff insist on pounding the rock with whatever running back is there.
This isn’t a ground game like Baltimore or San Francisco, both of which are very creative. The Seahawks’ is very vanilla.
When trailing, Seattle unleashes Wilson and his receiving weapons. In this game, if Wilson is healthy, that may be the right thing to do. Arizona’s pass defense has been better than expected this season, but it’s hard to say it has an edge over Metcalf and Lockett.
Arizona’s defense as a whole is overrated. The Cardinals have been forcing turnovers at a fairly unsustainable rate and lead the league on third-down percentage. Arizona is 20th in success rate allowed on early downs, but fifth overall when including late downs. At some point, that will start to regress.
If Seattle does come out pounding the rock, Arizona is just 25th in early-down success rate allowed against the run. This number has been falling ever since losing J.J. Watt for the season, as he was the team’s best run defender.
NFL Pick: Cardinals vs. Seahawks
When McCoy started against the 49ers, San Francisco closed as a 5.5-point favorite. Based on that and where the lookahead number was (Arizona -2.5), the market seems to be pricing this as about a 70% chance that Murray plays.
Based on what we’ve seen practice wise, this seems fair to me, although I think it’s more likely he plays in a limited fashion.
The Seahawks have been heavily bet this week for a reason. People are willing to take that chance on Murray not playing, or at least playing in a limited fashion. We’ve also seen the total come down for that same reason.
There’s a lot of uncertainty in this game, but one thing we know is that Seattle plays close games. We also can expect a less effective Arizona offense with Murray limited and Hopkins out. With a total that has fallen to an average NFL total this season, that makes Seattle an excellent teaser option, if you can get them through 3 and 7.
Another appealing option is Conner as an anytime TD scorer. With Hopkins out and Murray’s ankle injury limiting his running in the red zone, we can back Conner to score at -120. Conner has scored a touchdown in seven out of 10 games this season, and with a decent volume increase without Edmonds, he should have opportunities to find the end zone here.
Pick: Tease Seahawks from 1.5 to 7.5 | James Conner anytime TD Scorer -120 | Bet to: No lower on teaser | Conner to -140
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