Arizona Cardinals vs Cincinnati Bengals
Point Spread Pick: Cardinals -4.5 (November 22nd 2015)
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The Arizona Cardinals are the real deal this season. They simply do not have any weaknesses now that Carson Palmer has finally been able to stay healthy. He is having an MVP-type year, completing 64 percent of his passes for 2,749 yards with 23 touchdowns against seven interceptions. But he also has a running game now as the Cardinals are averaging 124 yards per game and 4.4 per carry. Chris Johnson has emerged with 734 yards and three touchdowns, and Andre Ellington is back healthy and making big plays, too.
Even though they have two losses, you could make the argument that the Cardinals are the best team in the NFL when you look at the numbers. They rank 1st in yardage differential, outgaining teams by 105.0 yards per game this season. That’s 30 yards better than the Patriots, who are in second place. They rank 1st in the NFL in total offense (421.1 yards/game) and 3rd in total defense (316.1 yards/game). If that’s not a sign of an elite team, then I don’t know what is.
I believe the Bengals are one of the most overrated teams in the NFL due to their 8-1 SU & 7-1-1 ATS start. That theory worked for me as I faded them when they were laying 10.5 points to the Texans on Monday Night Football, and they proceeded to lose outright 6-10. Now they will be playing on a short week after playing on Monday, so they will be at a disadvantage here.
The Bengals have put up some pretty solid numbers as well as they rank 8th in yardage differential, outgaining teams by 37.3 yards per game. But there’s no question they are overrated and fortunate to be 8-1 as they had a lot of success in close games up until that loss to the Texans. I don’t like their chances of going on the road and staying within five points of the superior Cardinals here.
What the Cardinals did to the Seahawks proves they are for real. They amassed 451 total yards against one of the league’s top defenses. They outgained the Seahawks by 108 yards. They overcame three turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and another that set the Seahawks up for a 1st-and-goal and another score. Yet they still won 39-32 on the road in arguably the toughest place to play in the league.
Arizona is 8-0 ATS in its last eight games after outgaining opponents by 100 or more total yards in two consecutive games coming in. The Cardinals are 23-10 ATS in their last 33 games overall, including 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games. Arizona is 18-6 ATS in its last 24 games following a win. The Cardinals are 17-3 ATS in their last 20 home games vs. good passing teams that average 235 or more yards per game in the second half of the season. Arizona is 30-10 ATS in its last 40 games vs. team with a winning percentage of 75% or better. Bet the Cardinals Sunday.
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