Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams Betting Analysis and Predictions
Two former No. 1 overall draft picks will be leading their offenses when the Arizona Cardinals take a short trip to Los Angeles to take on their NFL West division rivals Rams at SoFi Stadium tonight.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was the top pick in the 2019 draft. Across the field, the Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and the No. 1 overall pick in 2009 and is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. The two field generals have one thing in common: they have never won a playoff game. That will change tonight.
How Stafford and the Rams Have Fared
Stafford’s Detroit Lions teams made the playoffs three times in his 12 seasons there, losing each time in the wild card round. Stafford has been looking for that first playoff win since Murray was in the seventh grade. This will be Murray’s first playoff game, with his Arizona Cardinals missing the postseason in each of his first two seasons.
Over the past five seasons., the Rams have earned a 55-26 straight-up (SU) record and 43-35-3 against the spread (ATS) record, good for 55.1% winning bets. The 55 wins are the second-most in franchise history and only the Kurt Warner-led ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ has been better over any five-year span. Over the same five-year span, the Rams have compiled an outstanding 25-13 SU record in home games and posted a 19-17-2 ATS mark.
How the Cardinals Have Fared This Season
The Cardinals had no home-field advantage this season. They went 3-5 SU and 2-6 ATS in home games while sporting an 8-1 SU and ATS mark on the road. Only the 2010-11 Miami Dolphins have had this disparity in home vs. away games.
In Week 4, the Cardinals went on the road and defeated the Rams 37-20 and covered the spread as 4.5-point underdogs. They won and covered their first seven road games this season and inexplicably lost 30-12 as 13 point road favorites to the Detroit Lions.
Stafford's Play Improves in Games
Stafford is akin to an MLB starting pitcher in that if a team did not score runs early, that ace was going to dominate the game. Stafford progressively gets better from start to finish. His passer QBR rating by quarter starts pedestrian-like with an 86.5 rating in the first quarter. He steadily improves throughout the game, posting a 98.6 QBR in the second quarter, 108.0 QBR in the third and the league-best 126.4 in the fourth quarter.
He threw 17 interceptions this season but has thrown not one interception in the fourth quarter. The entire offensive unit knows this trend and their play is elevated in the second halves of their games.
The Rams are 26-12 ATS when facing a conference opponent spanning the last three seasons. Rams coach McVay is 24-14 ATS in games played on turf. In the second half of the season, Cardinals coach Kingsbury is a money-burning 4-14 ATS when facing a solid passing attack sporting a 61% or better completion percentage.
Cardinals at Rams Pick
I lean to the Rams to win, cover the 4.5-points and advance to the next round.
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