NFC West Best Bet: Rams at Cards
When: Sunday, September 25, 4:30 p.m.
Where: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Point Spread: LAR -3.5/ARI +3.5 (BAS – Bet on games at -105 instead of -110! This will save you HUGE money over the long haul and is 10x more valuable than any bonus!)
Total: O/U 48.5
Technically, the Rams moved to Los Angeles in 2016 when they left St. Louis, but just like the Dodgers, they’ve got a second home in Glendale, Arizona. But while the Dodgers are actual residents of Glendale in spring training, the Rams have simply made Glendale their home away from home by beating up on the team that actually occupies Glendale on a full-time basis.
Not only did the Rams smash the Cardinals in the wild-card round on their way to winning their first Super Bowl as a Los Angeles franchise, but they’ve gone 11-2 against Arizona since making the move to Southern California. But the Rams have been even better against the Cardinals in the desert, as both losses to Arizona came at home. They’ve won seven straight against the Cardinals in Glendale, with the past five coming by double digits. The last time the Cardinals bested the Rams at home was in 2014 when the Rams were still a St. Louis franchise.
The Cardinals looked like they were well on their way to getting Kliff Kingsbury an early firing through the first seven quarters of the season, as they gave a listless effort against Kansas City and trailed Las Vegas by 16 with nine minutes to go (and the Raiders had a 97% chance to win the game), but they somehow pulled out two touchdowns to force overtime and returned a fumble for the winning score to even their record. But against the Rams, the Cardinals have never looked comfortable. They managed one strong showing against Los Angeles early in 2021, but things quickly returned to form afterward. Can they carry the momentum from the comeback against the Raiders and finally stand up to the Rams at home?
How the Public is Betting the Los Angeles/Arizona Game
The public thinks history will repeat itself, while the money says the Cardinals might turn this thing around. Enough money has come in on Arizona to push this from -4 to -3.5 for the Rams, with the total falling from 51 to 48.5.
Tackle Tremayne Anchrum Jr. (calf), running back Kyren Williams (ankle), center Brian Allen (knee), linebacker Daniel Hardy (ankle), safety Quentin Lake (quadricep), linebacker Travin Howard (groin), guard Logan Bruss (knee) and defensive tackle Bobby Brown III (suspended) are out. Wide receiver Van Jefferson (knee), cornerback Troy Hill (groin), and defensive back Cobie Durant (hamstring) are questionable.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (suspension), offensive lineman Marquis Hayes (knee), wide receiver Antoine Wesley (groin), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (foot), safety Charles Washington (chest), quarterback Colt McCoy (calf), and guard Cody Ford (ankle) are out. Running back James Conner (ankle), wide receiver Andy Isabella (back), cornerback Trayvon Mullen Jr. (toe), and wide receiver Rondale Moore (hamstring) are questionable.
When Los Angeles Has the Ball
After facing Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr to open the season, the Cardinals and their poor pass defense would probably love to face a ground team. No such luck, as the Rams present more of the same in large part because they have to throw it. Los Angeles doesn’t really get much out of the run game, averaging a mere 59 yards per game on the ground to date. That could have something to do with opening up with Buffalo, but the Rams’ running game was pretty ineffective against Atlanta as well, which was a large reason why the Falcons were able to get back in the game when Los Angeles was trying to put them away.
Having Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, and Allen Robinson presents a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, but the Rams seem to have a bit too much of the old Houston Oilers in them to this point of the season in that they can’t really find an off switch. When Matthew Stafford is clicking with his receivers and the Rams are putting up points, they’re tough to beat. When the passing attack doesn’t get the job done, Los Angeles doesn’t have a plan B.
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When Arizona Has the Ball
The last time Kyler Murray saw the Rams’ defense, he was running from the pressure in a playoff loss that wasn’t even close to competitive. Murray didn’t look much better against the Chiefs before rescuing the game against the Raiders and taking some serious pressure off the Cardinals. Dropping the first two games with Los Angeles and San Francisco occupying the NFC West would have devastated Arizona’s chances to do anything this season. However, the Cardinals look like they still have a ways to go before they can think about challenging either of the West giants for division supremacy.
So far, Marquise Brown has proven a nice fit in Arizona’s offense, but the Cardinals are having to throw far too much to get the offense going. Against the Raiders, Arizona threw 49 passes, which probably isn’t where they want the game to be, given that Murray isn’t always the most accurate quarterback around. Against the Rams last year, he had to run for his life too often, and even though this Los Angeles defense isn’t as strong as last year’s, the Cardinals still have to prove they can keep him from having to make decisions on the run.
There once was a time when betting on Arizona in the desert was a great value play, either because of the heat (before the move to Glendale) or because the Cardinals had such a strong home-field advantage in Glendale that they played above their capabilities at home. That isn’t the case now; Arizona is 0-6 ATS in its past six home games. The Cardinals are also 2-6 ATS in their past eight games overall, so the problem isn’t limited to the Valley of the Sun.
Not only have the Rams won seven straight in this building, but they’ve covered every time and are 9-1-1 ATS against the Cards over the past five seasons. However, the Rams haven’t covered since beating the Buccaneers in the NFC divisional playoffs and give up a lot of points in September; the over is 6-1 in their past seven September games.
With temperatures set to hit 96 degrees, the Cardinals aren’t even going to mess with the idea of opening the roof. They’re playing this game indoors.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The Cardinals might have looked good for one quarter against Las Vegas, but the Rams did it for three against Atlanta and have been the better side for a while now. I think they feel right at home in this stadium, and the passing attack will be too much for Arizona’s secondary to stop.I like the Rams here. Check out this killer offer! Receive a 125% real cash bonus up to $400 when you use bonus code PREDICTEM at GTBets AND get a free half point every time you bet your favorite football and basketball teams!