The Cardinals look to continue their strong start on the season by clinching their fourth straight win at the expense of the St. Louis Rams in week 4. Here’s our preview, complete with free NFL picks.
St. Louis Rams (1-2 SU, 0-1 Away)
After masterminding the biggest upset in week 1 with a 34-31 come-from-behind overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Rams have come crashing back down to earth behind a back-to-back losing streak. Losses to the Redskins (away) and Steelers (home) left much to be desired, mostly on offense –the Rams have mustered up just 16 points and conceded 36 points.
With such questionable production on both sides of the ball, it’s no wonder many NFL bettors, after considering week 1’s outcome a potential statement-making win in the NFC West, now look upon it as a fluke result. And if they don’t figure things out soon, they’re season will be in dire straits before they get to a week 6 Bye. After the Cardinals, they face the Green Bay Packers in week 5. Yikes.
Overall, the Rams are 1-2 SU and ATS with a 5.7-point margin of defeat in three games. In week 2’s 24-10 road loss in the nation’s capital, the Rams entered the NFL odds board as the road faves, trading as high as the 3.5-point road chalk at some sports betting counters.
Where the Rams can be formidable is on defense. They have combined for 13 sacks over the last three rounds, marking the highest tally in the league. They’ve given opposing quarterbacks plenty of fits already, not least of all Big Ben, who sadly hobbled off the field in the third quarter after spraining his MCL in the Steelers’ 12-9 win over the Rams last week. Ben is slated to miss 4-to-6 weeks of the season, which is sure to cap any postseason upside the Steelers might have enjoyed before week 3.
The sight of Big Ben limping off the field last Sunday is an unpleasant reminder for all Cardinals fans. [Insert dramatic shiver]. It’s not without some irony that Carson Palmer tore his ACL last season in a 31-14 win by the Cardinals over the Rams at home.
Arizona Cardinals (3-0 SU, 2-0 Home)
The Arizona Cardinals are riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak to start the season. Not only are they a perfect 3-0 SU but also 3-0 ATS with a staggering 25.7-point margin of victory.
The Cardinals opened their season with a 31-19 win at home over the Saints, coming through as nominal -135 home favourites straight up and the 2.5-point home chalk rather handily. In week 2, they extended their winning form with a 48-23 rout of the Chicago Bears, all while installed as the 2-point road faves and trading on a -123 tender in straight up betting.
In the last lap around the league, the Cardinals hosted divisional rivals San Francisco 49ers. Bookmakers must have had a premonition it would be a lopsided affair as they installed the Cardinals as the 6.5-to-7-point home chalk, but even they didn’t expect the complete and utter domination that unfolded on the day. The 47-7 win marked a 40-point win margin – the largest margin of victory of the entire week; heck, the 2015-2016 season so far.
A lot of the Cardinals success hangs in the balance of Carson Palmer’s undeniable quality. In Palmers’ last 18 starts, the Cards are 16-2 SU, which obviously underscores just how important he is to Bruce Arians’ winning formula. In 2014, the Cardinals went 6-0 SU to start the season, and were atop the NFC West with an 8-1 SU record when Carson Palmer suffered his ACL injury. After which they only won three more games on the season, finished runners-up to Seattle in the NFC West and went out in the wildcard round of the playoffs.
NFL Betting Verdict
With the way Carson Palmer and the Cardinals are playing on the field and paying out at sportsbook counters through the first three rounds, it’s hard to go against them on our NFL picks. Even when they are trading as the significant 6.5-point home faves across many sports betting platforms. The stats speak loud and clear: 3-0 SU and ATS with an average winning margin of approximately 26-points. Rams are tough on defense, but right now the Cardinals are tough to beat.
Another NFL pick we’re looking at for this game is the OVER 42 at -110 with Bet365. The total appears to be too low when considering this is a home game for the Cardinals. It doesn’t quite tip its hat to Carson Palmer and the offensive line either, who just crushed the Niners 47-7 in week 3 NFL betting, covering the 7-point home chalk and cracking the 44-point total singlehandedly.
Palmer has 9 TDS through three games, tied with Tom Brady on that score and just 1 sack. What’s more, the Cardinals are averaging exactly 42-points per game scored. Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals crack this total by their own merit.
NFL Picks: Cardinals -6.5 (-110) at Westgate and OVER 42 (-110) at Bet365.