Bet Niners Home Cover -6 vs. Cardinals for Week 17 NFL Picks

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 6:27 PM GMT

The Arizona Cardinals close the season on an NFC West showdown with the San Francisco 49ers. NFL odds are hot off the press so join us as we breakdown the matchup, examine the betting angles and serve up NFL picks.

Arizona  Cardinals (11-4, 4-3 away)
When making your NFL picks keep in mind that the Arizona Cardinals boast a positive 11-4 SU record and are through to the playoffs but they were found seriously wanting in a 35-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, which doesn't bode well for an enduring post-season campaign. Most worrisome about the Cardinals is how offense sparked out under Ryan Lindley, the third-string quarterback called upon to pick up from where both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton left off.

When Palmer suffered a season-ending ACL injury, Drew Stanton was an adequate enough replacement. His no nonsense, sensible football was an extension of Palmer's game, doing enough to keep the Cardinals in the game and allowing the defense to do its part. With Lindley calling the shots, however, it quickly became apparent he was in over his head. The weight of expectation and the occasion all too much for his inexperienced shoulders.  The Cardinals needed a win over Seattle to clinch the No.1 seed in the Conference. By losing to Seattle, however, the Cardinals need to win in San Francisco and hope Seattle loses to the Rams in order to clinch the division title. The alternative is a wild-card spot and a first-round road game.

Lindley's lack of experience, poise and maturity in the pocket proved deciding as he completed only 18-of-44 passes for 216 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. The Legion of Boom ran roughshod over Lindley, sacking him four times. And his mistakes and overall ineffectiveness taxed the respectable Cardinals defense to its limits, which was all the Seahawks needed to runaway with the game in the second half.

Predictably, the Cardinals have decided to turn to Logan Thomas for their final game of the season in San Francisco. Whether that's going to be a step up or down from Ryan Lindley remains to be seen. What we do know is odds makers and NFL bettors alike aren't holding out much hope for the Cardinals now; it's just one injury too many for them to recover from this season. So the Cardinals are headed to San Francisco as the hefty 6-point road underdogs in early NFL odds.

 

San Francisco 49ers (7-8, 3-4 home)
San Francisco 49ers' season is long over; officially ending two weeks ago behind a home loss to the Seattle Seahawks but many started writing them off from the postseason picture earlier. There was just something different about this year's instalment of the Niners. They didn't look anything like their former two-time NFC champions or Super Bowl finalist selves.

In any event, Niners played one of their best games last week against the San Diego Chargers despite the 38-35 overtime loss. It was a good showing because the Niners were more aggressive, offensive and in general played freely without the burden of expectation. Of course, sealing the performance on a win would have been a fitting validation for John Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick. It's unfortunate that they couldn't hold on to their lead and close the game on a high note. Then again, credit must be given Philip Rivers and Company for rallying to victory. With the Chargers still alive in the AFC playoff race, they had more motivation to win out than the Niners did in the end.

As things currently stand, the Niners are riding a four-game losing streak. Nothing would be better than finishing the season on a positive note and their upcoming matchup against a fourth-string quarterback inspired Cardinals may just be their ticket to a win in week 17 NFL betting and the difference between a season that ends 8-8 rather than 7-9 SU.

 

NFL Betting Verdict:         
Last week's late collapse against the Chargers was unfortunate, another late game collapse that has been symptomatic of their anaemic season. Still, the Niners showed plenty of positives particularly on offense that bode well for their upcoming matchup as the 6-point home chalk on NFL betting odds.

If the Niners come out to play, replicate that offensive performance of week 16 against the Cardinals in the season curtain closer, they could run away with this game. The Cards defense won't make it easy for the Niners, but their offense, now down to a fourth-string quarterback, doesn't look to have the answer to keep up with Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore if the pair gets going as they did last weekend.

NFL Picks: Niners -6.0 at 5Dimes

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