Before we get into specifics about props in this game, let’s talk briefly about how we expect this game to go. The San Francisco 49ers are currently 10-point favorites with a total set at 43, a surprising line for a divisional game.
This line sat at 49ers -8 for most of the week. I figured that was the line assuming Colt McCoy was starting and Deandre Hopkins was sitting. The good news for the Arizona Cardinals is Hopkins and Rondale Moore should suit up, but Marquise Brown is, reportedly, out. The bad news is 36-year-old McCoy will lead the charge after a victory last week over the Rams.
When we look at what the 49ers do right, it’s elite defense and controlling the pace of play on offense. As we’ve seen in their games against top-tier competition like the Chiefs and Rams, they can struggle to defend the pass. But stuffing the run game is their bread and butter. Most teams with backup quarterbacks usually want to establish the run and protect their quarterback.
But that will be hard for Arizona to do. Last week, James Conner carried the ball 21 times, averaging 3.3 YPC, against a comparable Rams defense. That was a game where they were actually in a positive game script. While Conner may see high volume in the early stages of this game, he is someone I’d rather target in the receiving game.
Colt McCoy OVER 21.5 Completions, +100 DraftKings
Whether you’re in a positive or negative game script, how does a team move the ball without the run game? This is where the short passing game comes in handy, and why I like McCoy’s completions in this game.
We’ve seen teams like the Miami Dolphins struggle to run the ball at times. But, their offense prioritizes the screen game and creates manageable second and third downs because of it. Tampa Bay is another team that does this well.
While Kliff Kingsbury is a #FakeSharp, he had a solid game plan last week, and his pieces actually fit that style of play. Moore leads the league in WR catches behind the line of scrimmage and is one of the most involved short-yardage receivers in the NFL. Hopkins’s ADOT shrinks from 8.9 to 6.5 with McCoy. He only had 91 air yards despite a 14-target game.
Conner and Rookie tight end Trey McBride will also be targeted for dump-offs when Bosa and the 49ers’ pass rush apply pressure. Meanwhile, Robby Anderson serves as a deep threat to open up the middle of the field.
I know betting on McCoy can be tough, but there is a clear path to cashing this. Last week, he went 26-37 (AVG 6.8) for 238 passing yards in a game that actually had a much worse game script for this bet than what we expect this week.
He was very dependable, posting an EPA per Dropback of 0.14, which is higher than seven of Kyler Murray’s last eight games vs. the Rams. McCoy posted a QB ADOT of 6.1, the fourth-lowest on the week. I’m expecting the Cardinals to dink and dunk their way down the field.
I don’t believe this game needs to be a blowout for this to cash. I’m a huge 49ers/Jimmy Garoppolo defender, but asking him to cover a 10-point margin is not something I’m comfortable with, especially in a game where if the Cardinals lose, they are officially out of the playoff hunt.
No single running back has run for more than 60 yards against this 49ers’ defense all season. If the Cardinals are competitive in this game, it’s likely because McCoy gets the ball to his playmakers, and they do the rest. I understand this is a scary bet, but the path to victory is clear.
WATCH MORE: Is Chris Jones Better Than Aaron Donald?