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Cardinals vs. Rams odds, prediction, betting trends for NFL wild-card playoff game

Sporting News logo Sporting News 1/17/2022 Vinnie Iyer

When the Cardinals meet the Rams to end the wild-card round of the 2021-2022 NFL wild-card playoffs on "Monday Night Football" (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN2), they will be playing the rubber match as NFC West division rivals.

The Rams (12-5) won the West and earned the right to host this game as a No. 4 seed while the Cardinals (11-6) finished as the No. 5 and top NFC wild card. Both teams lost in Week 18, but the Rams (at Baltimore) and Cardinals (at Dallas) had big wins in Week 17.

Quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford started early as MVP candidates, but turnovers and key injuries to the receiving corps caused fading down the stretch. Who will emerge and advance to the divisional playoffs? 

Here's everything to know about betting on Cardinals vs. Rams in the 2022 NFL playoffs, including updated odds, trends and our expert's prediction for the wild-card game.

MORE WILD-CARD PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up

Cardinals vs. Rams odds for NFL playoff game

  • Spread: Rams by 4
  • Over/under: 49.5
  • Moneyine: Cardinals +168, Rams -200

The number has been just above a field goal for the Rams for the third matchup of the season. That adds up to home-field advantage plus a little extra juice because of prime time. The total has been limited because of both teams' offensive mistakes of late.

(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)

Cardinals vs. Rams all-time series

The Rams lead the rivalry between two former St. Louis teams 46-39-2. The Cardinals and Rams split the season series. Arizona won at Los Angeles 37-20 in Week 4. Los Angeles won at Arizona 30-23 in Week 14. The Rams, before the 2021 season, had won eight straight and now the mark is 9 of 10.

Three trends to know

—Around 51 percent of spread bettors are on the Cardinals to cover the small spread. The four points make it tough to navigate given this is more of a tossup game.

—Around 51 percent of over/under bettors believe the point total being right there near but not above 50 points is a little too low, but the game is also lso close to call there.

—The Cardinals are 4-6 against the spread and 4-6 straight up in their past 10 games with half of those games going over the point total. The Rams are also 4-6 ATS but 5-5 SU in their past 10 games. The total also has gone over in only half of those games.

Three things to watch

Murray's running

The Cardinals need to let loose their young passer more with his dynamic legs. The Rams can account for much with Jalen Ramsey in coverage and Aaron Donald dominating up front, but Murray gettting to the edge and open field quickly when things break down is hard to defend. Murray has wanted to be more of a pocket passer, but his rushing element can be huge at times.

Stafford's downfield passing

Stafford has been locked into awesome go-to wideout Cooper Kupp all season. The big plays also have come at times to Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson. But he has tended to force too much deep, missing Robert Woods a lot to complement Kupp. He's better when methodical and spreading the ball around shot. Stafford and Sean McVay should be wary of being too aggressive passing, because the Cardinals' defense thrives on takeaways.

The running games' health

The Cardinals will hope they will have the 1-2 punch of James Conner and Chase Edmons back healthy together. The Rams should use more of Cam Akers (Achilles') a week after his return to help effective Sony Michel. Arizona is more dependent on rushing success to win the game.

Stat that matters

8-1. The Cardinals posted that incredible road record during the 2021 regular season. They were only 3-5 at home. Their only loss came at Detroit, of all places, in Week 15. The Rams are only 5-3 at home and wree 7-2 on the road. The Rams were the wild card from the West in 2020, but won a simliar matchup against the Seahawks on the road last year.

Cardinals vs. Rams prediction

Murray vs. Stafford part three is truly a tossup, coming down to who makes the key plays needed in crucial situations. Both teams will make their share of defensive flashes and get some good running support. But it ultimately comes down to the QBs, and Murray has proved he plays better against top teams on the road, while Stafford's track record against winning teams in big games isn't good at all, and it's not just because he played for the Lions. Murray comes through for Kliff Kingsbury, while Stafford's mistakes for McVay catch up to him here.

Cardinals 30, Rams 27

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