Cardinals vs. Rams Wild Card Weekend Picks: NFC West Rivals Meet on Monday
The Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams wrap up the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend on Monday night, and we look at the best betting picks.
The Rams and Cardinals split their regular-season meetings, with the Rams winning most recently by a 30-23 count on the road in Week 14. Arizona won the Week 4 battle in Los Angeles by a 37-20 score.
L.A., won five of its last six games to secure the NFC West title and finish fourth in the conference. Arizona wound up in the fifth seed after starting 7-0 and finishing 4-6.
Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL Wild Card Weekend matchup between the Rams and Cardinals (odds via PointsBet, DraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM, and SI Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Cardinals vs. Rams Game Info
Date/Time: Monday, Jan. 17, 8:15 p.m. ETTV: ESPNLocation: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CAWeather: Indoors
Cardinals vs. Rams Odds Analysis
The house is on the Rams.
The line has moved from Rams -3.5 at open to -4 despite 55% of the bets placed and 59% of the money being on the Cardinals. Most top sportsbooks are offering equal -110 odds on both sides, but PointsBet has reduced vig on the Cardinals with -105 odds. Those with multiple accounts can shop around and find the Cardinals +3.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook with -106 odds, and -114 odds on Rams -3.5.
The market’s a little more split on the total. It has stayed at the opening number of 49.5, with 72% of the public but only 53% of the sharps on the Over. DraftKings is offering a 48.5-point total with -110 odds on either side, while nearly all other competitors have kept it steady at 49.5.
Cardinals Betting Preview
Record: 11-6 SU, 10-7 ATS, 8-9 O/UKey Players: QB Kyler Murray, RB Chase Edmonds, WR Christian Kirk, LB Markus Golden, LB Chandler JonesNotable Trend: 1-3 vs. LAR since 2020 with an average margin of defeat of 8.3 points
Injuries take a large part of the blame for the Cardinals' struggles to end the regular season. Murray was limited to 14 games, defensive end J.J. Watt missed the final 10 games due to a shoulder injury that still has him highly questionable for Monday, and receiver DeAndre Hopkins was lost to a knee injury that has kept him on injured reserve.
The Cards went 1-4 straight up and against the spread over their final five games while going 2-3 against the Over/Under. On the bright side, they were 8-1 on the road this season.
Rams Betting Preview
Record: 12-5 SU, 8-9 ATS, 9-7-1 O/UKey Players: QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Odell Beckham Jr., DT Aaron Donald, CB Jalen RamseyNotable Trend: 1-5 ATS vs. teams with a winning record
Injuries are, and have been, less of a factor for L.A. Safety Jordan Fuller was lost to an ankle injury in Week 18, but Eric Weddle was brought out of retirement to replace him. Beckham has nearly seamlessly replaced Robert Woods as the No. 2 option opposite Kupp. Running back Cam Akers made an inspiring return from an Achilles injury to play in Week 18 and should lead the backfield through the postseason.
Cardinals vs. Rams Picks
Cardinals +4 (-105 via PointsBet) ???Under 49.5 (-105 via PointsBet) ????First touchdown Over 10.5 yards (-110 via DraftKings) ?????Kyler Murray Over 0.5 interceptions (+105 via BetMGM) ????Rams ML + Under 49.5 + Murray anytime TD + Akers anytime TD + Kupp Under 104.5 yards + Tyler Higbee Under 54.5 yards = +8000 (via SI Sportsbook) ?
SEE ALSO: Wild Card Weekend Odds, Lines, and Picks
Cardinals vs. Rams Predictions
Cardinals +4 (-105)
PointsBet is giving us our best odds for backing the Cards to keep this within a field goal. While they deteriorated both offensively and defensively as the season went on, it’s fair to expect the third meeting of the season between these rivals to be the closest battle.
Arizona has a vastly superior road record that includes a comfortable 37-20 win at SoFi Stadium early this season. While Hopkins was active for that game, he tied for the team lead with 67 yards and didn’t score, so head coach Kliff Kingsbury should be able to make do without him in this matchup.
The loss of Fuller also shouldn’t be understated for the Rams. He led the team with 113 total tackles, and a 37-year-old Weddle won’t be able to fill those shoes. Even with Watt unlikely to play, Cardinals’ stalwarts Golden and Jones should make life difficult for Stafford. He was sacked 13 times over his final five games.
While the house moved the line in the opposite direction of the early market action, we can risk the push for the most profitable odds in hope of a three-point game.
Under 49.5 (-105)
I would be sure to wait until Monday evening before placing this bet. The market is sure to drive the total up with this being the final game of Super Wild Card Weekend and it featuring several fantasy football stars. New bettors love to bet the Over on games they’ll be watching, and sports betting launched in Arizona this NFL season.
Both regular-season meetings between these two topped this line and cashed the Over. However, the combined score dropped from the first to the second game. An equal decrease in total points gets us to Under 49.5.
We’ll fade the vast majority of the public and side with the sharper side of the market.
First touchdown Over 10.5 yards (-110)
This plays into the hole left by Fuller in the Rams’ secondary. It also looks to capitalize on two teams that ranked in the top four of the NFL by average yards per pass attempt and in the top half of the league by yards per play.
With both teams knowing each other well, offensive gurus Kingsbury and Sean McVay will also be expanding the playbook for a new look while trying to catch the other by surprise.
Murray Over 0.5 interceptions (+105)
With running backs Edmonds and James Conner both at less than full health, Murray will likely need to throw more than his 34.4 attempts per game from the regular season. He’s also likely to be chased around by Donald, and Rams linebackers Leonard Floyd and Von Miller. We’re sure to see some off-balance, ill-advised throws from the third-year quarterback in his first playoff game.
Even with linebacker Ernest Jones not playing this week, the Rams have four defenders who had at least two picks in the regular season. Murray threw two on 49 attempts in the Week 14 head-to-head meeting.
Rams ML + Under 49.5 + Murray anytime TD + Akers anytime TD + Kupp Under 104.5 yards + Tyler Higbee Under 54.5 yards = +8000
We’ve played it relatively safe with our Cardinals-Rams picks thus far and it’s time to have some fun to end our Wild Card Weekend. We’ve touched on the Rams’ moneyline and thoroughly discussed the Under. Now let’s mix in our player props.
Murray is likely to get some goal-line attempts with his running mates hampered by injury. I also like for McVay to give Akers some goal-line work at home after his inspiring return to help spark the usually lifeless Los Angeles crowd in the playoff opener.
The Cardinals would be absolutely foolish to allow Kupp to beat them over anyone else. They managed to hold him to five receptions for 64 yards on 13 targets in Week 4 before allowing him to erupt for 13 catches and 123 yards in Week 14.
Finally, for a modest addition to our 80-1 overall return, Higbee topped this line just three times all season, and only three teams allowed fewer yards per game to opposing tight ends than the Cards.
SEE ALSO: All picks and odds. Be sure to check out SportsbookReview.com's community forums and betting tools.
Cardinals-Rams picks made on 1/13/2021 at 6 p.m. ET.