NFL Betting Preview NFC West Battle: St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals

St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona

Sunday, November 9, 2014, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Arizona -7 (-120)
Current Line: Arizona -7 (+100)
Opening Total: 45 (under -128)
Current Total: 43
Opening Money Line: Cardinals -320 / Rams +265
Current Money Line: Cardinals -300 / Rams +250

The Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football and look to continue a four game winning streak as they host the St. Louis Rams Sunday.
The Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football and look to continue a four game winning streak as they host the St. Louis Rams Sunday.

No team in NFL history has ever played a Super Bowl in their home stadium. The 7-1 Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football right now and could do just that as Super Bowl XLIX will take place at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. However, that isn’t until February and the Cardinals have more pressing concerns. Arizona hosts the NFC West Division rival the 3-5 St. Louis Rams Sunday.

Since 2001, Arizona leads the series 13-11 against St. Louis. The teams split the season series last year with each winning at home. St. Louis won 27-24 and Arizona won 30-10. The Arizona win snapped a 3 game losing streak to St. Louis. The Cardinals make the return trip to St. Louis December 11 in a Thursday night game.

St. Louis is coached by Jeff Fisher. The Rams have wins at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-17 and last week at the San Francisco 49ers 13-10, along with a home win over the Seattle Seahawks 28-26. St. Louis has home losses against the Minnesota Vikings 34-6, Dallas Cowboys 34-31, and  49ers 31-17,  along with road losses at the Philadelphia Eagles 34-28 and Kansas City Chiefs 34-7. The Rams are 3-5 ATS and the total is 4-4 this season. St. Louis was a 10.5 point favorite against the 49ers last week and the total was 44.

Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The only loss for the Cardinals came at the Broncos 41-20. Arizona has won 4 straight games since that game. The Cardinals have home wins over the San Diego Chargers 18-17, San Francisco 49ers 23-14, Washington Redskins 30-20 and the Eagles 24-20. Arizona also has road wins at the New York Giants 25-14, Oakland Raiders 24-13 and last week at the Cowboys 28-17. The Cardinals are 6-2 ATS and the total is 2-5-1 this season. Arizona was a 1.5 point underdog against Dallas and the total was 45.

St. Louis is being outscored 28-19 this season. The Rams are #27 in points allowed and #28 in scoring. St. Louis is averaging 319 yards per game on offense including 218 passing and 101 rushing yards. The Rams are #22 or worse in all three categories. St. Louis is allowing 362 yards per game on defense including 225 passing and 136 rushing yards. The Rams are#8 in pass defense but #30 in rush defense. St. Louis is 42/103 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 41/97. St. Louis has 14 sacks and has allowed 24 this season. The Rams are -3 in turnovers. St. Louis has 2 defensive/special teams touchdowns but has allowed 6 this season.

Quarterback Austin Davis took over at quarterback for the Rams for Shaun Hill. Hill himself took over from Sam Bradford who tore his ACL in the pre-season. Davis has completed 64.2% of his passes for 1,785 yards with 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 36 rushing yards. Running back Zac Stacy has 66 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown along with 15 catches for 135 yards. Tre Mason has 49 catches for 222 yards and a touchdown along with 3 catches. Benjamin Cunningham has 44 carries for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 20 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Brian Quick had 25 catches for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Jared Cook has  29 catches for 343 yards. Kenny Britt has 18 catches for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lance Kendricks has 17 catches for 135 yards and 4 touchdowns. Eleven defensive players are listed on the injury report for the Rams.

Arizona is outscoring teams 24-20 this season. The Cardinals are #6 in points allowed. Arizona is averaging 330 yards per game on offense including 240 passing and 91 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals are #23 in total offense and #28 in rushing. On defense, Arizona is allowing 366 yards per game including 287 passing and 80 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals are last in pass defense and #3 in rush defense. Arizona is 56/122 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 46/114. The Cardinals have forced 8 sacks and allowed 13 this season. Arizona is +10 in turnovers. The Cardinals have two defensive and special teams touchdowns and have allowed a defensive touchdown.

What has made the Cardinals’ great start even more remarkable is the fact that Arizona has used 3 quarterbacks this season. Carson Palmer missed three games with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. He was replaced by Drew Stanton. Even rookie Logan Thomas took some snaps against the Broncos when Stanton was injured. Palmer has started the last 4 games. He has completed 61.7% of his passes for 1,385 yards with 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Stanton has thrown for 529 yards with 2 touchdowns. Thomas was only 1/8 against the Broncos but the one completion was an 81 yard touchdown pass.

Running back Andre Ellington has 149 carries for 559 yards with 2 touchdowns, plus 33 catches for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a foot injury. Jonathan Dwyer will also get a few carries. Running back Stepfan Taylor is out indefinitely with a calf injury. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 35 catches for 513 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michael Floyd has 23 catches for 389 yards and 2 touchdowns. John Brown has 24 catches for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end John Carlson has 18 catches for 184 yards and a touchdown. Eight defensive players are questionable to out for the Cardinals including 5 linebackers.

St. Louis is 5-0 ATS in week 10, 4-1 in November, 17-35 after passing for 150 yards or less, 24-51 against teams with winning home records, 16-38 after gaining 250 yards or less, 2-5 in road games and on grass, 1-4 after a straight up win, and 0-4 after a cover. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games in this series. The under is 9-3 in this series recently including 5-1 in Arizona.

Arizona is 5-0 ATS against NFC teams, 4-0 overall, 11-1 against teams with losing records, 10-2 after a straight up win, 5-1 against teams with losing road records, 9-2 after a cover, 4-1 on grass, and 5-2 at home. The Cardinals are 9-4 ATS in the last 13 games against the Rams including 5-2 in Arizona.

St. Louis isn’t very good, but they can be frisky on the right day as evidenced by upsets over the Seahawks and 49ers in the last 3 weeks. Those games were sandwiched around a blowout loss to the Chiefs though. You never know what Rams team is going to show up. The Cardinals should win this game with ease. However, after huge wins over the Eagles and Cowboys, the Cardinals play two more playoff contenders in the Lions and Seahawks after this game. I think this game against the Rams has letdown written all over it.

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