Cardinals +3 at Seattle on TNF: We’re betting coaching makes the difference

Thursday, 19 November 2020 17:41 EST

Again for Thursday Night Football does NFLbets lament, “Sure, give us an easy one, why don’tcha?” Instead, the NFL’s scheduling wizards conspired with NFL Network and the oddsmakers to kick off week 11 with…

Arizona Cardinals +3 at Seattle Seahawks

…a classic mirror game within the top-heavy NFC West. To wit: The teams are in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC West at 6-3 SU, and an identical 5-4 ATS. The Cardinals have the most rushing TDs, the Seahawks the most passing TDs.

The Seahawks have scored 30 or more points in 7 of 9 games thus far, while the Cardinals have done so in the last four games.

Most insanely, Arizona has scored an average of 29.6 points per game while the Seahawks have allowed 29.6 ppg.

And of course in week 7, Arizona won by 3 points in overtime at home, necessitating the above pointspread.

One discordance – and such a matchup is often very telling – The Cardinals bring the NFL’s no. 1 offense in yards allowed to play Seattle’s no. 32 defense in yards allowed – but Seattle actually scores more points than any team in the league, even after last week’s anemic 16-point multi-turnover debacle at the Los Angeles Rams.

Is this enough for a Cardinals cover? The Seahawks cannot be wanting a short-week game right now: They’re on a 1-3 SU/ATS jag while the Cards are enjoying a 4-1 SU/ATS run and Kyler Murray’s odds in the “2020 NFL MVP” race have melted away from 35/1 in October to 9/1 as of this writing. Pete Carroll admitted befuddlement at the Buffalo Bills’ game plan, Russell Wilson was flummoxed into 4 TDs by the Rams. Not confidence inspiring

As for Wilson’s own bid for MVP and Seattle’s for the playoffs, well … some secondaries have had success double-teaming D.K. Metcalf, including these Cardinals who limited him to a sick 23 yards on 5 targets/2 receptions. Without this sort of production, what more can the Seattle offense do? (Not to put to fine a point on things, but just twice has the Seattle defense managed to hold on opposing offense to fewer than 400 yards: Against a third-string quarterback in San Francisco and the laidback, always-ahead Rams last week.)

But here’s what makes NFLbets think this TNF isn’t as simple as Arizona steamrolling through Seattle. In three words, it’s the coaching. Since 2010, the Carroll ‘n’ Wilson combo is 9-1 SU/7-1-2 ATS on Thursday night; Murray is just 0-1 SU (but 1-0 ATS!) in his 1½ years as QB on TNF and Cliff Kingsbury is increasingly turning out to be Cliff Kingsbury.

Last week, Kingsbury first managed to help coach his team back from a completely unnecessary 23-9 deficit, then proceeded to have his offense pound the ball and round out the clock. The result was three Buffalo possessions as Arizona’s time of possession in the final quarter was 6:04. Only Bills mistakes allowed the Cardinals to take the lead twice. If coaching plays any factor in this one, you have to like Seattle’s chances. Similar shenanigans crippled the Cards’ chances against the Miami Dolphins the week prior as well.

So NFLbets is employing our safe bet option for these single-game days: We saying take the Arizona Cardinals +3 at Seattle but also take the Seahawks ML at -150 – or for even better odds at My Bookie, simply take “Seattle by 1-13 points” at +150.

–written by Os Davis