Another Week 2 matchup featuring an undefeated team facing a winless one — it’s the Arizona Cardinals taking on the Detroit Lions in afternoon Sunday action. Here’s our thoughts to take with you to the sportsbook on this contest.
|Game: Detroit (0-2) at Arizona (2-0)
Location: State Farm Stadium
Last week, the Arizona Cardinals smothered the Washington Football Team with a never-in-doubt touchdown cover. In the process, WR Christian Kirk injured his groin and looks like he won’t be a go.
The Lions faced the Packers last week as touchdown underdogs, looking in the first half like they could win outright if things broke in their favor. But coach Matt Patricia seemingly gave the team a demotivational speech at the break. Their three-touchdown loss margin, in the end, was the least you could expect for a team that was outgained by a nearly unthinkable 170 yards on the ground. Surrendering 31 unanswered points, including a pick six, sealed the Green Bay cover and the over.
NFL Betting Lines
Moneyline: Cardinals -250 | Lions +210
The moneyline here seems fairly priced, which doesn’t give much motivation to bet into it. We can’t back the Lions here, but wouldn’t be shocked if you played this game simultaneously in four different alternate universes that one of them wouldn’t break in the Detroit’s favor. So with an implied probability of ~72%, laying the -250 seems marginal.
Pick: Cardinals to win
Point Spread: Cardinals -6
For reasons above our pay grade, sharp bettors absolutely love taking points with these Lions. Surely someone’s model shows value taking the Lions at +6½ because once again that number is falling.
To be fair, Detroit has had a good week of practice which might see the return of a number of previously missing assets. Check back late on Friday on our NFL injuries page to see who is cleared to play, as Detroit has been flirting with bringing back CB Desmond Trufant, starting right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and, most importantly, star wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Any combination involving Golladay will clear out that six points, and possibly drop it below four. So take the Lions +6 now if that’s your thinking.
Pick: Detroit to cover
Over/Under: 55½ points
Here’s a good anecdotal example of how long-term betting systems get challenged in the NFL thanks to the evolution of the league’s rules. In a time not too long ago — within the last decade really — if you posted a total of 51½ (or god help you higher), the wiseguy corps would line up to bet the under on principle. Having opened at an already nosebleed 53, this game’s total has been steamed up to 55½ and it might climb still. (And it’s not even the highest total on the board this week.)
We originally leaned over the total when the number was 54½ and it looked like a couple of notable Cardinals’ defenders (Byron Murphy and Jordan Phillips) might be injured. Now they’re fully practicing, and Detroit may also have backup safety C.J. Moore back in the mix as well as Trufant. Simply put, we’d pass on over 55½ now and only expect it to get higher if Kenny Golladay is announced as a starter.
Since the line inflation here suggests Golladay’s return is probable, a sneaky* play would be on the under should he be ruled out before game time. Expect that line to come back down quickly if that’s announced after Friday’s practice, or any time leading up to the pregame inactive lists being published.