Rams-Cardinals Betting Preview: Can You Trust L.A. as a Massive Favorite?

Rams-Cardinals Betting Preview: Can You Trust L.A. as a Massive Favorite? article feature image

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jared Goff, Sean McVay

Betting odds: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

  • Spread: Rams -15
  • Over/Under: 44.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

>> All odds as of Friday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: The Rams aren’t that popular for such heavy favorites, with barely 61% of bets coming in on L.A. as of writing (see live data here).

They have, however, moved from -13.5 to -15. Sharps have bet both sides of this spread, though the Cards have been more popular at this current line.

The over/under has seen far more interesting betting activity. The under is getting an insane amount of support with almost 80% of bets and more than 90% of dollars. It’s dropped from 47.5 to 44.5 since opening.Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Rams lost to the Eagles as 13.5-point favorites last week. Since 2003, teams that lost their previous game as a double-digit favorite have gone 40-24-3 (63%) against the spread in their next game. John Ewing

Averaging 30 points per game in the NFL is hard. It also comes with lofty expectations.

The Chiefs, Rams and Saints are averaging that many points and have recently worn that mark like a scarlet letter.

Combined, the three teams are 2-6 ATS in December, following a very profitable trend: Since 2003, teams averaging at least 30 points per game in December or later are 60-89-3 (40.3%) ATS, including 4-14 ATS over the past two seasons.

The Cardinals are averaging only 13.7 points per game — the fewest in the NFL. Since 2003, teams averaging at least 30 points per game are 11-4 straight-up but 1-14 ATS when facing teams averaging fewer than 17 points per game in December or later, failing to cover by 5.8 points per game. Evan Abrams

Playoff picture: The Rams looks like they’re locked into the NFC’s No. 2 seed. They could, in theory, jump the Saints, but that would require New Orleans to go 0-2 down the stretch and for LA to win out.

The Saints’ remaining schedule is tough — Steelers and Panthers — but both games come at home. Scott T. Miller

Biggest mismatch: Cardinals’ Offensive Line vs. Rams’ Pass Rush

Before we dig in, let’s take a look at how the first three matchups between these teams have gone since Sean McVay arrived in Los Angeles:

  • Week 7, 2017: Rams 33, Cardinals 0
  • Week 13, 2017: Rams 32, Cardinals 16
  • Week 2, 2018: Rams 34, Cardinals 0

The Rams are one of just seven defenses with a pressure rate of at least 50%, while the Cardinals join the Texans as the only offenses to allow a pressure on at least 40% of their dropbacks.

Expect to see Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Dante Fowler wreck havoc on Sunday afternoon as Josh Rosen has the week’s second-worst combined pressure and turnover rate. Ian Hartitz

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Aaron Donald

Which team is healthier? Rams

The “expectation” is that Todd Gurley (knee) will suit up on Sunday. The only other Rams who should be monitored are backup running back Justin Davis (shoulder) and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (illness).

The Cardinals aren’t too banged up, either. Only safety Budda Baker (knee), wide receiver Chad Williams (ankle), tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (illness) and wide receiver J.J. Nelson (illness) appear at serious risk of missing this game. Defensive linemen Markus Golden (ankle) and Rodney Gunter (foot) aren’t 100% either.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Hartitz

DFS edge: Patrick Peterson shadowed Sammy Watkins twice against the Rams in 2017, but he played all 66 snaps at left cornerback in Week 2 of this season. That strategy would result in roughly 16.6% of his snaps against Brandin Cooks, who hung a 7-159-0 line in the teams’ first meeting of 2018.

Cooks is set up exceptionally well in the University of Phoenix Stadium’s dome setting, as he’s averaged a 5.1-72.1-0.5 line in 33 games indoors compared to a 4.7-68.5-0.3 line in 39 games outdoors. Robert Woods is also set up well in the slot against Baker — Pro Football Focus’ No. 44 cornerback.

Cooks and Woods are $6,500 and $6,600 on DraftKings, respectively, and each boast a Projected Plus/Minus of at least +1.5. Hartitz

Bet to watch: All of our experts are staying away from this game at the moment, but we’ll update this file if that changes as more props get posted closer to kickoff.

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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