NFL Picks: Cardinals vs. Rams Betting Odds Analysis

David Lawrence

Thursday, September 5, 2013 6:02 PM GMT

The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams will very likely spend most if not all of the 2013 NFL season looking up in the standings at the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. Can one of these two teams pull off a surprise that will reshape the balance of power in the NFC West?

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The Cardinals can win because…

They will be playing a team whose quarterback is less than fully proven. St. Louis signal caller Sam Bradford has a lot of questions to answer. Bradford has been given a lot of money and a lot of confidence by the Rams organization. He has been given the kind of treatment – financially and situationally – that a franchise quarterback receives. However, has Bradford come even remotely close to living up to the Rams’ hopes for him? Not at all.

Experts making sports picks expected the Rams to breakout last season but they have only seen Bradford struggle in his career, making his 2008 Heisman Trophy at the University of Oklahoma seem like a distant memory. Bradford should not be trusted from a betting perspective. What’s more is that, if Arizona has a strength, it’s on the defensive side of the ball. The Cardinals are aggressive and fairly youthful. They should be able to generate a fair amount of pressure on Bradford, and if they can coax a few turnovers from the Rams, that’s all the visitors from Arizona would need to change the complexion of this game in their favor.

The Rams deserve to be the favorite, but one should not think that St. Louis is a remotely convincing choice. This is a game that feels like it’s up for grabs, much more so than many other games in week one of the NFL season.

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The Rams can win because…

Their defense should throttle Arizona’s offense to a considerable extent, so much so that the matchup between Arizona’s defense and St. Louis’ offense will seem more evenly balanced by comparison.

Handicappers making their NFL picks know that Arizona is trotting out a creaky veteran quarterback, Carson Palmer, this season. Palmer’s best days are long behind him, and while he might represent an overall upgrade from what was a horrible quarterback situation in the desert a year ago, he is still not an answer to the Cardinals’ problems. Palmer is not particularly mobile, and outside of receiver Larry Fitzgerald, he does not have high-end talent surrounding him.

The matchup between Arizona’s offensive line and St. Louis’ defensive line is a mismatch, with St. Louis pass rusher Chris Long leading the charge. Inside the Edward Jones Dome, the contained noise of game day is going to make it very hard for the Cardinals to hear each other as they get to the line of scrimmage. Arizona’s offense will have to use silent hand signals to communicate plays. This is likely to gum up the Cardinals’ offense and give St. Louis’ defensive front an advantage throughout the afternoon.

Outlook & NFL Football Betting Prediction:

The Rams do not have a proven offense, but their defense is so good that they should be able to win a low-scoring affair. Arizona’s defense will do well; St. Louis’ defense will do better and cover on the NFL odds.

[gameodds]16/226873/?r3=192-43-349-19/dec&r-1=192-43-349-19/us[/gameodds]

NFL Picks: Take the Rams on the spread -4.5 at Ladbrokes

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