The Arizona Cardinals have a shot at starting a season 4-0 for the first time in nine years on Sunday afternoon.
In Arizona NFL betting, the Cardinals are a 6-point underdog on most Arizona sportsbooks. The obstacle in their way is the Los Angeles Rams, who also are 3-0 this season, after the Rams beat the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 34-24, on Sunday.
The Cardinals’ fourth game since sports betting in Arizona launched kicks off from Los Angeles at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time on Sunday, with FOX carrying the contest live nationally.
Cardinals Underdogs for First Time Since Week 1
Arizona was previously favored to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars (-8) and Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) and they did. In Week 1 Arizona defeated the Tennessee Titans as a 2.5-point underdog.
The Cardinals are 2-1 against the spread this season, having covered against the Jaguars (31-19 win) but not the Vikings (34-33).
The Rams, on the other hand, have beaten two of their three opponents by double digits, the Chicago Bears (34-14 in Week 1) and Buccaneers (34-24). IN Week 2 Los Angeles defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 27-24.
Sizing Up the Rams
Los Angeles is undefeated this season, though the yardage totals are pretty close.
To date, the Rams have averaged 388 yards per game offensively, while surrendering 374 yards per game on defense.
First-year Rams QB Matthew Stafford has done much of the damage offensively, averaging 314 passing yards per game this season, with nine touchdowns through the air to one interception.
The Rams’ rushing attack has been stagnant, by comparison, averaging 83.7 yards per game this season, led by third year back Darrell Henderson Jr., who has 123 yards and two scores this year.
An early strong point for the Rams’ offense has been the connection between Stafford and veteran wideout Cooper Kupp. The fifth-year NFL wideout leads the NFL in receiving yards (367) and receiving touchdowns (5) and is tied atop the league for receptions (25).
Whether the Cardinals’ defense, which ranks eighth in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (202 ypg), can stifle Stafford and Kupp remains to be seen.
What appears set is the Cardinals’ pass rush, which is tied for fourth in the league in sacks per game (3.3), having plenty of opportunities to disrupt the Rams’ pass game on Sunday afternoon.
Kyler Murray’s NFL MVP Odds Update
Cardinals’ third year QB Kyler Murray is racing his way into NFL MVP contention. He ranks third in the league in passing yards (1,005) and is tied for the fifth-most passing touchdowns (7) through three games.
The former Heisman Trophy winner is the MVP odds favorite at DraftKings (+750) and BetMGM (+700) and is co-favorite at FanDuel with five other players at +800.
Murray is on pace to set a career high for completion percentage (76.5%) and passing touchdowns per game (2.33), while his three rushing touchdowns this season are tied with Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold, Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb, Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry and Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson for the league lead.
Bad Luck Against Rams
One thing going against the Cardinals on Sunday, besides the current betting odds, is the team’s long losing streak against the Rams. The Cardinals have lost their last eight games against Los Angeles, dating back to 2017, with each of the teams’ meetings last year being double-digit defeats.
Arizona’s last victory over Los Angeles came on New Year’s Day 2017, when they crushed the Rams in Los Angeles, 44-6.
Since then, the Cardinals have been outscored by the Rams, 251-91, failing to score more than 10 points in five of the team’s eight losses to Los Angeles.
It appears that operators expect both sides to have no trouble scoring on Sunday, with BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel all listing the over/under at 54.5.
Whether the Cardinals can go to 4-0 for the first time in nine years remains to be seen. What appears set is a can’t-miss showdown between the Cardinals and Rams on Sunday afternoon in the City of Angels.