Saints vs. Cardinals Preview + Free Pick August 6th, 2008
By: NFL Handicapping Staff
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New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Thursday, August 7
BetUS NFL Betting Odds: ARIZONA -2.5, Total 36
NOTABLE STAT: Arizona was 29th in rushing yards in 2007 (90 ypg)
KEY NFL FOOTBALL BETTING TREND: Arizona is 1-6 SU in its last seven pre-season games
Two teams who can be soild playoff contenders but have questions surrounding them on defense will get together on Thursday night when the Arizona Cardinals (8-8 SU, 8-7-1 ATS in 2007 regular season) play host to the New Orleans Saints (7-9 SU, 6-10 ATS in 2007 regular season) in the pre-season opener for both teams, taking place at 9 PM ET at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
In the Top Sportsbooks NFL pre-season football wagering NFL odds, the Cardinals are listed as a 2.5-point home favorite, with the total posted at 36 points.
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Here are some NFL betting trends as they relate to this online wagering matchup (reflecting numbers going into the 2008 season):
* NO has played its last five games OVER the total
* NO has won and covered four of its last six road games
* NO has played five of its last seven road games OVER the total
* ARIZ has won five of its last eight games SU
* ARIZ has covered two of its last six games
* ARIZ has played seven of its last eight games OVER the total
* ARIZ has won four of its last five home games SU
* ARIZ has played four of its last five home games OVER the total
* NO has won five of its last 13 pre-season games
* ARIZ has lost six of its last seven pre-season games SU
* ARIZ is 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven pre-season games
* ARIZ has lost four of its last five pre-season home games SU
For those of you who were expecting the Saints to show off some of their attractive new acquisitions, don’t hold your breath this week. Jeremy Shockey, just picked up from the Giants, along with linebacker Jonathan Vilma, formerly of the Jets, are being held out of this game. So are the top two wide receivers, Marques Colston and Devery Henderson, along with running back Deuce McAllister, who is coming off his knee injury, cornerback Mike McKenzie, safety Josh Bullocks and defensive tackle Brian Young.
The plan is that the remainder of the first-team players, on both sides of the ball, will probably be in the game through the first quarter. That means you’ll see a quarter from Drew Brees and then Mark Brunell, acquired in the off-season as a backup, will see action in the second quarter. Tyler Palko, the former University of Pittsburgh quarterback who actually played ahead of Joe Flacco at one time, is going to take the reins for almost the entirety of the second half.
It would probably be inaccurate to say that the Cardinals had a quarterback competition going on. Matt Leinart is the starter and Kurt Warner is the backup, and neither one of them is going to play all that much, because Coach Ken Whisenhunt, who has been hit with injuries in his offensive line, does not want to expose either one of them that much. That leaves it to Brian St. Pierre and rookie Anthony Morelli at the quarterback position, and that isn’t much. They will not be able to throw to Anquan Boldin or third-round draft pick Early Doucet, both of whom are being held out of the game.
Unlike Arizona, New Orleans actually has a real live battle going on at the wide receiver position, because things are rather wide-open behind Colston. Remember that Robert Meachem, who was chosen in the first round last season, is just getting on the field, and he will be joined by several veterans, including David Patten, who are looking to fill one of the roster spots.
It’s always tough to determine how much incentive there is for teams, especially in the first pre-season game. But New Orleans figures to have more veteran leadership for longer at the quarterback spot in this game, so we’ll grab the points with Saints, the 2.5-point underdog in the Top Sportsbooks NFL pre-season football betting odds.
JAY’S PLAY: NEW ORLEANS (+2.5) **
(Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)
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