Introducing Monday Night Wild Card football! The Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals face off for the third time this season in what will be a fiery affair. Let’s take a look at the Rams vs. Cardinals Wild Card matchup, the NFL odds, and make a pick and prediction.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams odds, prediction
- Spread: Rams -3.5 (Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Moneyline: Rams -190, Cardinals +160
- Over/Under: 49
The Cardinals will feel disappointed that they don’t go into the first round of the playoffs playing in front of their home fans. A whimpering end to the season has cost them that right, as they lost four of their final five games in the regular season.
Of course, injuries to star players have played a part in that. DeAndre Hopkins has been out for several weeks, as has J.J. Watt. While Watt is set to return after being activated this week, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has confirmed that Hopkins will be out.
Hopkins is aiming to work his way back in order to contribute in the postseason, but Arizona is going to have to win at least one without him in order to give him that chance. The Cardinals need to find their early season form once again if they want to stick around in the postseason for too long. Christian Kirk and Zach Ertz have been momentous for the Cardinals in recent weeks, and both will need to perform against a very strong Rams defense in order to help send Arizona through.
Rams stole the division from the Cardinals
The Rams trading Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford was one of the most interesting moves of the entire offseason. So far, so good. The Rams started the season 7-1, and while they might have hit a lull period during a three-game stretch mid-season, LA quickly got back on track.
They stormed their way up the rankings and stole the division away from the Cardinals, who had been in pole position all season. The Rams won five of their last six games down the stretch.
It is at this point that all of the talent and acquisitions the Rams have made need to show up the most. This team is loaded with stars. It looks like a Madden team once you’ve traded all the players you wanted onto your roster in exchange for seventh-round picks.
Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller, and of course, Stafford. The Rams also get their 2020 rookie standout Cam Akers back in time for the playoffs, and they’ve signed a familiar face in Eric Weddle to offer some support on the back end.
Cardinals vs. Rams betting trends
In the two regular-season meetings, these teams split the series 1-1. Each won one game outright and against the spread, while the over was cashed in both games.
The Rams have had some strange patterns during the season against the spread. They lost five in a row between Weeks 7-12, then won four in a row from there, and then lost the last two.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, have lost four of their last five ATS, only covering in their Week 17 win against Dallas. Losing four of your last five games is far from a confidence booster, especially when one of those defeats came at the hands of the Detroit Lions.
Cardinals vs. Rams prediction
It feels like such a shame to say this because of how exciting the Cardinals were early in the year, but I can’t see them being a match for the Rams in the playoffs. Not having Hopkins is a big loss, and either Kirk, Zach Ertz, or A.J. Green would need to have a big day to replicate the production.
On the other side, I love the resurgence of OBJ after so many had written him off as yet another flash in the pan. He’s been electric for the Rams, and the Cardinals secondary is going to struggle to contain both him and Kupp all night. I think the Rams pull away in a high-scoring game for the ages.
Cardinals vs. Rams Prediction: Rams 34, Cardinals 28