Welcome to the Thursday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Thursday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to TNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Thursday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Facing the 49ers is already unpleasant enough for offensive coordinators this season. Facing them without the top two backs in their arsenal seems almost downright hopeless. Yet that’s the challenge that likely awaits Kliff Kingsbury and his offensive staff Thursday night. Both Chase Edmonds (hamstring) and David Johnson (ankle) appear very likely to miss the game for Arizona. Kenyan Drake was brought on board via trade Monday from the Dolphins. Yet if there was ever an offense one did not want to have to cram for on a short week, it’s Kingsbury’s rather unorthodox Air Raid attack. Therefore, expecting much of Drake on Thursday is probably unrealistic.
The ferocity of the 49ers defense was once again exemplified in their performance against Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen in Week 8. The young quarterback came into the game with an unblemished record (4-0) and TD:INT ratio (7:0) as a starter. He left Levi Stadium with sullied marks in both categories. The 49ers sacked him seven times, helping lead to three interceptions, on their way to a 51-13 shellacking. The Niners have now notched 27 sacks for 211 yards of losses this season. Their ability to constantly disrupt the pocket has led to San Francisco yielding an NFL-low 128.7 passing yards per game. And the matchup against Arizona’s porous offensive line could hardly be better — they’ve surrendered the second-most sacks (27) in the NFC. There’s not much use looking for a ray of hope on the ground either, not with the Niners yielding 95.7 rush yards per game.
San Francisco has no such troubles. The Cardinals defense is springing leaks everywhere, even with Patrick Peterson having returned from suspension two games ago. In Week 8, they helped Drew Brees look like he’d never missed a down with his thumb injury by allowing him to throw for 373 yards and three touchdowns. With the Arizona offense typically playing at a very fast pace, that also gives opposing passing attacks some extra cracks at the questionable secondary. But it won’t just be a Jimmy Garoppolo-centered approach for the Niners. With the Cardinals’ rush defense now surrendering 130.1 rushing yards per contest, even a potentially Matt Breida-less San Fran rushing attack should still be able to keep the chains moving with Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, Jr.
Even if the Niners suffer from a bit of overconfidence/early confusion against the Air Raid attack, talent will eventually rise to the top. San Fran matches up extremely well against the healthy members of the Cardinals offense — the Niners have even allowed the least rushing yards to QBs (30), dampening Kyler Murray‘s prospects to an extent. Consequently, I see a fairly sizable Niners win here.
TNF Point Spread
The spread originally opened as a six-point projected advantage for the 49ers on FanDuel Sportsbook. The fact it’s now sitting at between 9.5 and 10 points is indicative of how dominant the Niners looked against the Panthers in Week 8, as well as the current disheveled state of the Cardinals’ offense.
The 49ers are 5-2 (71.4 percent) against the spread this season, including 0-1 as an away favorite.
The Cardinals are 5-3 (62.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-1 (66.7 percent) as a home underdog.
The 49ers have won six of their seven games by at least nine points. The low end of the range would have likely been much higher had it not been for the monsoon-like conditions in Washington against the Redskins. I see San Francisco having more than enough to cover here, especially with Arizona short-handed.
The Pick: 49ers -9.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
TNF Over/Under Total
The stingy total isn’t surprising. Outside of the Patriots, the 49ers have been the most dominating defensive unit in the league. San Francisco is allowing an NFC-low 11.0 points per game on the strength of an NFL-low 224.0 total yards surrendered per contest. Even for a reasonably talented Arizona offense, the path to points here will be thorny to say the least.
The Over is 2-5 (28.6 percent) in the 49ers’ games this season, including 1-3 (33.3 percent) in their away games. Then, the Over is 4-4 (50.0 percent) in the Cardinals’ games this season, including 3-1 (75.0 percent) in their home games.
The Over has been on the losing end plenty in San Fran’s games. This shapes up as another. The Cardinals have some firepower, but without Edmonds and likely Johnson, the passing game will take center stage in a downright awful matchup for all the reasons previously cited. Therefore, I can see the Under very likely hitting here.
The Pick: Under 43 points at DraftKings Sportsbook
Best TNF Prop Bets
Any time touchdown scorer: George Kittle (+140 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Kittle has only a single touchdown reception on the season, despite seven red-zone targets, including two inside the 10. He even has one red-zone rush from inside the 10. Therefore, he’s due for some end-zone visits, and this is the team that could well facilitate at least one. Arizona has allowed the most receiving yards (677) and receiving touchdowns (eight) to the tight end position.
Winning Margin: San Francisco 49ers 16 to 20 (+700 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
In line with my belief the 49ers will win this game and cover the 9.5-point spread, I see this as a worthwhile prop to roll the dice on at such an appealing price. Factoring out the aforementioned water-logged Week 7 win over the Redskins that would have likely been by more than nine points had weather not been a factor, the Niners have won their other six contests by an average of 20.2 points. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have lost their four games by an average of 15.8 points, including by 17.5 in their pair of home losses. The numbers therefore line up for a potential 16-to-20-point margin of victory here for San Fran.