Note: The analysis below was written prior to Cam Newton being ruled out for Sunday’s game. However, the selection remains the same as I had anticipated that Kyle Allen would get the start for the Panthers. The Cardinals remain one of Oskeim’s free NFL sports picks for Sunday, September 22.
Oskeim Sports’ previews Sunday’s NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. Oskeim recommends taking the Cardinals on the moneyline as one of his free NFL sports picks for September 22. Oskeim also provides additional free NFL sports picks at the bottom of this article.
Sources inside the Carolina organization have told me that the team has ‘quit’ on quarterback Cam Newton, who remains questionable for Sunday’s game with a foot injury. Newton has been going to team meetings and rehabbing his sprained left foot but he hasn’t seen the practice field as of Thursday.
I fully expect backup quarterback Kyle Allen to get the start on Sunday as he has been taking all of the first-team snaps during practice. Reading player’s statements to local media also suggests that Allen will be under center against the Cardinals.
I have been extremely impressed with how the Cardinals have played in the first two games of the 2019 campaign. After walking away with a disappointing tie against the Lions in its season opener, Arizona bounced back with a focused effort at Baltimore last Sunday.
Specifically, the Cardinals lost 23-16 as thirteen-point underdogs against a Baltimore franchise that is 21-5 all-time against teams from the Pacific and Mountain time zones.
In the event Newton plays, it’s important to keep in mind that he is a shell of his former self. Consider Newton’s recent health issues: shoulder surgery in the offseason, a foot injury in the preseason and an aggravation of the foot injury in Week 2. The veteran signal-caller entered this season with four-plus carries in 111 of 123 career games but has a total of five carries for negative yardage in 2019.
Newton is no longer a threat with his feet and his ability to throw the ball downfield has all but disappeared. Indeed, Newton has been off-target on a career-high 28% of his throws this season. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Newton has completed just 56.2% of his passes against an expected completion percentage of 65.5%. The 9.3% difference between those two marks is the largest in football through two games.
If Allen gets the nod for Carolina, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury will have plenty of intel to work with. Kingsbury recruited Allen to Texas Tech but didn’t land the quarterback. “He was like the number one prospect in the country so he probably threw all our letters away and red-buttoned me every time I called him but I remember watching him, he was very, very talented,” Kingsbury said.
Since drafting Newton, Carolina is 2-4 ATS in games he does not start. Overall. Newton is 6.1 points per game better than Allen so his absence is significant.
Arizona quarterback Kyle Murray has enjoyed a smooth transition from college to the NFL. Murray was drafted by the coach he has known since he was 15 years old and is working within the same offensive scheme that he’s had since eighth grade.
And, the rookie has wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald at the other end of his passes. Fitzgerald has 100 yards in his first two games of the season for the first time in his 16-year career (his 217 receiving yards are his second-most through two games).
Murray is only the second NFL quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in his first two games of his rookie season. And he should have the services of running back David Johnson, who practiced in full on Wednesday after suffering a left wrist injury in Baltimore.
Johnson is set to have a breakout day against a subpar Carolina defense that is yielding 133 rushing yards per game. I also like the fact that rookie quarterbacks are a profitable 23-11 ATS in the first three weeks of the season since 2013.
From a technical standpoint, the Panthers are 2-8 ATS in their last ten road games and 2-8 ATS in their previous ten games overall, while the home team is a perfect 6-0 ATS in this series. Carolina has lost nine of its last ten games dating back to Week 8 of last season and has failed to cover the point spread in eight of its previous nine games as a road favorite (keep an eye on the line).
Since 2005, Arizona is 14-0 ATS (+11.57 ppg) off a road game in which no player had double-digit rushing attempts, winning every game straight-up despite being an underdog in each of the last seven. Since 1996, the Cardinals are 12-0 ATS (+9.12 ppg) at home versus non-divisional foes following a loss as underdogs in which they rushed for at least 45 yards less than their season-to-date average.
Finally, Arizona applies to a very good 26-7 ATS system of mine that invests on certain home teams in games priced between +3 and -3. This situation is 16-4 ATS in the last 20 circumstances and 7-1 ATS in the last eight.
Take the Cardinals as one of Oskeim Sports’ Free NFL Sports Picks and invest with confidence.
Oskeim Sports’ Free NFL Sports Picks for Sunday, September 22:
- Arizona Cardinals (ML) (-125) over Carolina Panthers
- New York Giants (+6.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers