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New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals Betting Odds, Analysis, NFL Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2016

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski before a preseason NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Associated Press

The Arizona Cardinals will try to take advantage of Tom Brady’s absence and win their regular-season opener against the New England Patriots on Sunday night as solid home favorites, with the line tilting heavily in their favor once Brady's suspension became official.

The Cardinals hope to win their eighth straight game during the month of September by pressuring Brady’s replacement Jimmy Garoppolo in his first career start.

    

Point spread: The Patriots opened as one-point favorites but are now underdogs; the total was 51 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (see line updates and matchup report).

NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 27.0-15.0 Cardinals (NFL picks on every game)

     

Why the Patriots can cover the spread

Garoppolo may not have any previous starts in the NFL, but he was a highly touted second-round pick out of the same school (Eastern Illinois) that produced Mike Shanahan, Sean Payton and Tony Romo. The experience he has gained from learning under Brady is immeasurable, and bettors may be surprised to see how well-prepared he is at Arizona.

The Patriots have won five of the past six meetings with the Cardinals both straight up and against the spread, according to the Odds Shark NFL Database. Head coach Bill Belichick will lean more on his defense to keep them in this one.

    

Why the Cardinals can cover the spread

Arizona traded for former New England Pro Bowl defensive end Chandler Jones in the offseason, and he will be one of the key players in this game. Not only does Jones know the Patriots well, but he knows the weaknesses of Garoppolo and will be one of the Cardinals chasing him around.

Offensively, quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald form a balanced trio, and it will be difficult for New England to stop all of them. Johnson is a rising star who took over the starting job late last year, and he alone gives Arizona a big advantage on offense.

    

Smart pick

The revenge factor for Jones is one storyline, and Garoppolo’s first start is obviously another. But this is also a great coaching matchup. Bruce Arians of the Cardinals is one of the few in the league who can match wits with Belichick.

Arians will make sure his players are extra motivated to defeat a team that is considered one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. At PredictionMachine.com, the Cardinals are straight up winners in this game in 73.2 percent of the simulations; watch for them to beat the spread as well.

   

Betting trends

The Patriots are 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six games against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals are 7-0 SU in their last seven games in September.

The total has gone over in six of the Patriots' last seven games as an underdog.

    

All NFL betting lines and point spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis or download the free odds tracker app.

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