When the Arizona Cardinals go for their first 4-0 start since 2012 on Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams, also undefeated, will be standing in their way.
The Rams have beaten the Cardinals eight times in a row, dating back to 2017, and Los Angeles is about a 4.5-point favorite with most Arizona sportsbooks.
The Cardinals and Rams will kick off from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time Sunday, with FOX carrying the contest live nationally.
Sports betting in Arizona launched on Sept. 9, just in time for the start of the NFL season.
Cardinals Sizable Underdogs
The Cardinals are not favored to win for the first time since Week 1, when they knocked off the Tennessee Titans on the road as 2.5-point underdogs in Arizona NFL betting.
For those looking to make a moneyline play, DraftKings and FanDuel have the Cardinals at +175, while BetMGM has Arizona at +160.
Rams Rolling at Home
A major reason for Arizona being a sizable underdog in Week 4 rests with the Rams’ performance at home this season.
In two home games, the Rams have outscored their opponents, 68-34, including a 10-point win against the defending champs on Sunday.
The Rams’ 34-24 victory over Tampa Bay saw veteran QB Matthew Stafford throw for 343 yards and four touchdowns, outgaining the Buccaneers, 446-407 offensively.
It was the latest strong performance turned in by the 13th-year QB, who’s averaging 314 passing yards per game this season.
Stafford, who was traded to Los Angeles for fellow No. 1 overall pick and QB Jared Goff during the offseason, currently ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards (942) — just behind Cardinals QB, Kyler Murray, who has 1,005 yards this year.
The other threat that the Rams have offensively is wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who leads the NFL in receptions (25) and receiving yards (367), while tied atop the league in receiving touchdowns (5).
Can’t Stop Kyler Murray
Murray currently is odds-on favorite to win the NFL MVP award in 2021 at DraftKings (+750) and BetMGM (+700) and is among the favorites at FanDuel (tied for fifth at +850).
That’s because the former Heisman Trophy winning QB currently ranks third in the NFL in passing yards (1,005) and is tied for fifth in passing touchdowns (7) in three games.
His three rushing touchdowns this season are tied for the league lead, along with Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold, Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb, Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry and Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson.
No Stopping the Rams
The Rams have had their way with the Cardinals of late, winning eight consecutive games against Arizona, five of which were decided by 10 points or more.
The Cardinals last beat Los Angeles on New Year’s Day 2017, when Arizona shellacked the Rams, 44-6.
Since then, the Cardinals have been outscored by L.A., 251-91, and have failed to score more than 10 points in five of those defeats.
Sunday’s game should feature a bit more scoring than we’ve seen in those games, with an over/under of 54.5 listed on BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel.
Whether the Cardinals can knock off the Rams for the first time in 1,737 days will rest on the ability of Murray and company to turn the tide against the Rams’ high-powered defense.
We’ll know whether they’re able to do that in the early afternoon hours of Sunday, under the bright lights of sunny Southern California.