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Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 4
The Cardinals (1-2) attempt to bounce back from a 20-12 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at home in Week 3 when they head east to face off with the Carolina Panthers (1-2). Matt Rhule's squad is coming off its first win of the season, as they got past the division-rival Saints in Week 3 by a 22-14 score. However, the health of star running back Christian McCaffrey is a significant concern as kickoff approaches, considering he only managed a limited Friday practice due to a quadriceps injury and is shaping up as a true game-time decision.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers for Week 4
Moneyline: Cardinals +100 (PointsBet Sportsbook)/ Panthers -115 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Point spread: Cardinals +1.0 (PointsBet Sportsbook)/ Panthers +1.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Total: Over 43.5 points (PointsBet Sportsbook)/ Under 43.5 points (PointsBet Sportsbook)
The Panthers opened as three-point home underdogs when the early pre-Week 3 line was released, but that number quickly dropped to just one point following last Sunday's results. The public then bet Carolina all the way up to three-point favorites and the line remained in that neighborhood for some time. However, as McCaffrey progressively missed practice throughout the week, the number predictably went all the way back over to Panthers +1 before toggling back and forth between that figure and -1 depending on which sportsbook one references.
The total has also seen plenty of movement, but it's been more consistent in its direction. The number was originally as high as 46.5 when the game was first released and then dipped as low as 42 earlier in the week. It's since rallied to get to its current 43.5, even with the McCaffrey news and the fact the Cardinals' Marquise Brown also went into the weekend questionable with a foot injury.
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Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers Betting Picks This Week
The Baker Mayfield era hasn't exactly gotten off to the most scintillating start thus far, with Carolina averaging the third-fewest total yards per game (276.3), including the second fewest passing yards per contest (161.3). Mayfield has completed an unsightly 51.9 percent of his passes, and his meager 550 total passing yards thus far include a big boost from a 67-yard catch-and-run TD by Laviska Shenault a week ago.
If McCaffrey is unable to play in this game, matters could clearly get ugly for Mayfield, as his numbers with the star running back available are already dreadful enough as it is. Ten of Mayfield's 42 completions thus far have gone to McCaffrey, who's also helped keep defenses honest with his average of 4.9 yards per carry.
The Cardinals are giving up 281.0 passing yards per game, but a lot of that figure is influenced by the 360 yards they allowed to Patrick Mahomes in Week 1. Since then, Arizona held Derek Carr to a respectable 252 yards while limiting Davante Adams to a 2-12-1 receiving line, and they kept Matthew Stafford to 249 yards in Week 3, only 44 which were recorded by Cooper Kupp on four receptions.
On the other side, Kyler Murray does project to have Rondale Moore back in the fold for his season debut after the speedster was sidelined by a hamstring injury the first three games. Assuming Brown can also play through his foot issue, which only seemed to crop up Friday, Murray will arguably be playing with his most explosive receiving corps yet this season when also factoring in the impressive Greg Dortch, who should see more snaps with A.J. Green (knee) ruled out.
The Panthers have been tough against the pass but much more giving against the run, allowing 134.7 rushing yards per game and 4.58 RB yards per carry. James Conner has struggled to a minuscule 3.0 yards per carry thus far, but this is a game where and backfield mates like Darrel Williams and Eno Benjamin could find some running lanes and give Kyler Murray a much-needed assist.
Ultimately, the disparity in talent at the quarterback position should play a big part here, especially if a McCaffrey absence allows the Cardinals defense to hone in on Mayfield and the passing attack. With an even money price available on the moneyline, it's worth taking the Cardinals, which are 16-11 straight up on the road since Murray arrived in 2019.
Cardinals at Panthers Best Bet: Cardinals moneyline (+100 at PointsBet Sportsbook)
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Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers Prediction
Cardinals 24, Panthers 17
As already outlined, this has the feel of a game where both offenses have their share of struggles, considering the fact each side's best skill player will be less than 100 percent if they do suit up. Carolina's offense is inconsistent enough even with McCaffrey available and at full health, and if he's out altogether, it could get ugly for Mayfield, even against a Cardinals defense that's underachieved at times.
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