The San Francisco 49ers head on the road to face the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, and San Francisco has opened as a 2-point favorite. In some sportsbooks that opened the line earlier, it has already moved up to 2.5 points.
The 49ers provided an ugly collapse against the Chicago Bears, but one game is not enough to turn off the public. I'd imagine the line also has the 49ers favored because nobody seems to know when Carson Palmer will get back on the field. He suffered a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder, which left him unable to play against the Giants. Drew Stanton started in his place, and there is no indication if that will change this weekend.
I don't expect this line to move up much, but if Palmer is able to practice, I would be curious to see if it comes down. The Cardinals beat the Chargers and Giants in their first two games, putting them in first place in the NFC West. Beating the Chargers is a respectable win, even if it was ugly (I would have taken an ugly win over the Bears!), but beating the Giants does not hold as much luster. If Palmer is able to return, does the betting public start hitting the Cardinals?
These Cardinals are a tough team to figure out at this point. They lost some key components on the defensive side of the ball, but for now they seem to be doing OK without them. Sunday's performance aside, I would like to think the 49ers represent the Cardinals biggest challenge through the first three weeks of the season. If the 49ers can clean up the mistakes on offense and get their offensive line into gear, this is a very winnable game.