NFL Picks: Public Fascination With Cardinals Continues in Week 13

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 10:32 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 10:32 PM GMT

The Arizona Cardinals are this year's most popular NFL pick, and they're already scooping up most of the action for Sunday's road game against the St. Louis Rams.

Jason's 2015 record as of Dec. 2: 45-41-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 25-31 Total

There's so much to like about the Arizona Cardinals. They're comfortably on top of the NFC West at 9-2 SU, with a profitable 6-5 ATS record. They've got quality players all over the field, a strong head coach in Bruce Arians – good thing the Cardinals are one of those “small-market” teams that nobody pays attention to, except for sharp bettors.

Yeah, about that narrative... not only are regular folk in love with this year's Cardinals, they're heavily invested financially as well as emotionally. That's according to the public money charts, where Arizona is this year's No. 1 NFL pick. No, not the Green Bay Packers (No. 2) or the New England Patriots (No. 6). The Cards haven't been this popular in, well, forever.

 

Johnson: Out
Have they taken it too far? This Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX), Arizona is on the road to face the St. Louis Rams, and the Rams are getting 5.5 points on the NFL odds board as we go to press. Our consensus reports show two-thirds of bettors on the Cardinals, supplying 72 percent of the action. As a road chalk, Arizona is 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS this year, but this bird may have already run out of golden eggs.

The last time we saw the Cardinals in action, they were beating the San Francisco 49ers 19-13 as 7.5-point road faves, leaving them 2-4 ATS in their last six games. Worse, the Cards lost their top two running backs to injury. Chris Johnson (4.2 yards per carry) is on injured reserve with a broken leg and ineligible to return until Super Bowl 50, if Arizona makes it that far. Andre Ellington (6.9 yards per carry in limited action) is back on the shelf with a nasty case of turf toe and isn't expected to play this week.

 

Johnson: In
That leaves No. 3 RB David Johnson (4.0 yards per carry, 19 catches) to do the heavy lifting against the Rams. Can the rookie from Northern Iowa get the job done on Sunday? Maybe, but there isn't much room for error. Stepfan Taylor (3.2 yards per carry lifetime) is next on the depth chart after David Johnson, and Kerwynn Williams (4.6 yards per carry lifetime) has been promoted from the practice squad to provide some support.

Williams did a fine job last year against the Rams in a relief appearance, helping Arizona win 12-6 as a 6-point road dog, but that was with Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley handing him the ball. The game plan will be different this week with Carson Palmer at quarterback. It's a sketchy enough situation for the Cards that we're willing to put them in the “fade” bucket this week – although you might want to wait until closer to kick-off for a better price, based on the way the public has been hammering Arizona this year.

NFL Picks: Take the Rams +7 (–140) at 5Dimes

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