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Week 1 NFL Cardinals at 49ers

September 10, 2007

NFL Football Week 1 - Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers 10:15 PM EST

The 49ers are a 3-point favorite with a total of 45.5 at sportsbook.com.

With an important Monday night divisional game opening up the schedule, the winner will have much more reason to be pumped up about its chances going forward.

Matt Leinart, QB for the CardinalsHope is no strange feeling in the desert, as seemingly every fall the team is expected to improve. However, this year could be different with QB Matt Leinart at the controls and new head coach Ken Whisenhunt bringing a more run-oriented, defense first philosophy.

In the Bay Area, the expectations are driven by the addition of several key veterans to a youthful team that won seven games a year ago.

Comparing key numbers from '06, Arizona was outscored by about 4 PPG and outgained by about 35 YPG, while San Francisco was -7.9 PPG and -42 YPG.

Perhaps the optimism is misguided in the latter, meaning the wrong team might be favored here? Still, note that the favorite (SF -3) is on a 6-1 SU & ATS in H2H games played at Monster Park.

The two constants for the Cardinals since they've moved to the desert are losing and changes. Whisenhunt was brought in to coach Arizona with the hopes that he can be the man to corral outstanding talent at the skill positions and build a defense that is at least functional in a division that has teams that can score points.

Second year QB Leinart has a good pair of wide outs to throw to in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. This is the best trio of younger players in the NFC.

Two years ago Niners Mike Nolan inherited arguably the weakest talent pool of any team in the NFL. Now heading into his third season, Nolan is quoted as saying, "It will be a disappointment to me if we don't make the playoffs."

Running back Frank Gore is the main man as part of a power running game, which has an unheralded yet effective offensive line.

Alex Smith is developing into a good quarterback who benefits from the running game. The defense is adding bodies on a regular basis and will try to improve in second season of 3-4 attack-style defense.

Key Trend - Arizona is 18-81 ATS when they lose outright.

The home team is 9-5 ATS over the years and the favorite is 5-2 against the spread recently. The Cardinals are 2-0 SU and ATS at San Francisco after failing to win three previous times.

Visit the NFL football betting forum to discuss this Monday night matchup picks.


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