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Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams Point Spread - Pick ATS

Arizona Cardinals (3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Rams (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Twickenham Stadium, London, England
TV: Fox
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: ARI +3.5/LAR -3.5
Over/Under Total: 47

The Arizona Cardinals face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Twickenham Stadium in London, England. This week 7 matchup will occur in a big rugby stadium, a venue with which the Rams are familiar, having played here last year in a 17-10 loss to the Giants. This will be the Cardinals first game abroad. Both teams are coming off wins last week. The Rams moved to 4-2 with a nice road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, 27-17. They look for more this week, but will need to beat a Cardinals team that is riding high after beating the Buccaneers, 38-33, last week. These teams split their 2016 games, as each road team won.

The Cardinals might get paid off for how well they hung in there with a lot of injuries. They secured Adrian Peterson before last week’s game and it paid off big with 134 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns. Replacing David Johnson’s production will not happen and there’s no guarantee that Peterson will stay healthy or continue to shine like he did against Jacksonville, but it was a great development for a team that really needed it. Still, with what looked like an easy win on Sunday, they even found a way to create drama. Ahead 31-6 in the 4th quarter and with everything going their way on both sides of the ball, Tampa started a big rally, scoring 4 touchdowns in the final quarter, one the result of a fumble returned for a TD. And Tampa was doing it with their backup QB leading the way. Still a win is a win and for the Cardinals to be at 3-3 with all the personnel issues is a victory in itself.

On Sunday, the Cardinals were finally able to cover a spread after not doing so in their first five games. A big part of that was the performance of QB Carson Palmer, who was very accurate and had 283 yards on 18-for-22 passing with three TD throws. Before, as Johnson was out of action, it was an off-target Palmer working behind a patchwork line throwing it to Larry Fitzgerald and whoever else happened to step up on a given day. The addition of Peterson gives the offense a new dimension and it was in evidence on Sunday. His presence opened up the offense, with Fitzgerald catching 10 balls for 138 yards and a score. John Brown caught a TD pass, as well.

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The Cardinals’ defense had things under-control for most of the game last week, with Tampa putting up 6 points going into the fourth quarter. Chandler Jones was applying the pass-rush. Tramon Williams and Antoine Bethea both had interceptions. The secondary was being fairly stout and clutch. Then they started to melt. A porous secondary resurfaced and they were soon holding on for dear life. And if not for a fourth quarter scoring drive by the offense, the game would have been in deep peril. They look for more consistency this week, albeit on a continent in which they are not accustomed.

The Rams have seen both their offense and defense win games this season. Earlier in the season, it was a high-powered offense getting the job done, as the defense wasn’t playing particularly well. Lately, as the offense has cooled, the defense seems to be congealing under first-year coordinator Wade Phillips. This is, however, their fourth road game in five weeks and with this one being of the extra-long variety, it’s something to ponder when breaking down this game.

We have seen some good things from the Rams’ offense this season. Their point-total last week was a bit inflated with two special teams touchdowns—one on a return from Pharoh Cooper in the first play of the game and the other a returned blocked punt for a TD. Jared Goff was not great aerially, with only 124 yards, but he was pretty solid running this offense. Todd Gurley was big with 116 yards on the ground. Tight End Gerald Everett caught his first NFL touchdown and Robert Woods continues leading all LA receivers in yardage. They look to increase Sammy Watkins’ role, as he has been quiet in recent weeks. Whatever the case, this offense might not fire week after week, but they’re a lot better off than they were last season.

The Rams’ defense seems to be getting better and better. They have given up just 16 and 17 points in their last two games. It seems like the changes in leadership are finally starting to resonate on this side of the ball. They did allow some big plays against the Jaguars on Sunday, namely a long TD run by Leonard Fournette. They also managed to tighten up when they needed to, especially on third down or when Jacksonville threatened to take the play away. Defensive tackle-extraordinaire Aaron Donald is really starting to take over games in spots. The pass-rush was extreme on Sunday, with Michael Brockers, Connor Barwin, Donald, and others registering sacks, while Nickell Robey-Coleman had an interception on the day. We see them a little more-vulnerable this season in terms of yielding yardage and they did give up nearly 400 to the Jags on Sunday. Still, they’re improving and should be getting even better, though they might be without a good corner in Trumaine Johnson, who is dealing with a concussion.

The London component to this game throws a different light on it, as it does all overseas games in this league. In other words, normal NFL affairs on the mainland are hard enough to gauge, especially in a sometimes-formless 2017 season. You take it to another continent and it can get downright strange. I see the Cardinals on a little upswing, with the Rams maybe ever-so-slightly diminished by this recent run of games away from home. I’ll take the Cardinals and the points.

Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Arizona Cardinals plus 3.5 points. Bet this game and all of your wagers at a sportsbook that lets you bet at discounted odds (-105 instead of -110), that offers live in game betting and that has the biggest variety of wagers (including high school football betting). Oh, and they offer FAST no hassle payouts as well! ---> 5Dimes! 

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