Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams Matchup Preview (10/3/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams Matchup Preview (10/3/21)

As NFL fans, these are the types of games we drool over. Matt Stafford and the high-flying Rams offense against Kyler Murray and the air-raid Cardinals offense.

If you haven’t heard, Murray is the new betting favorite to win MVP. He’s the most entertaining player in football right now, especially considering Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are a lousy 1-2.

The Rams beat down on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers last weekend, and they’re all of a sudden looking like the new Super Bowl favorites.

The Rams have won, and covered, in the last five meetings between these two, including in January of last season, when the Rams won 18-7 in Arizona as one-point favorites. However, Los Angeles has never looked more dangerous, hence why they’re sitting as five-point favorites.

Entering this matchup, both teams are 3-0 straight up (SU) and 2-1 against the spread (ATS). The Rams are 2-0 ATS at home while the Cardinals are 2-0 ATS on the road.

So, is it worth laying the points with Sean McVay? Or do the Cardinals provide value as underdogs?

Let’s dive into this Week 4 matchup and find the most profitable betting angle.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Odds

It’s so tough to pick this game.

The Rams opened as -4.5 point favorites but were bet up to -5 at some books (even up to -6 at Caesars), but the sharp money is on Arizona (45% of the tickets, 59% of the handle). Meanwhile, the total has been bet up from an open of 49 to 54.5, tied for the highest on the board (Kansas City-Philadelphia). However, most of the sharp money is coming in on the under (33% of the tickets, 85% of the handle).

For what it’s worth, there have been four matchups between 3-0 teams since 2006. The home team is undefeated ATS in those matchups, which include:

  • 10/1/2006: Seahawks (-3.5) def. Bears 37-6
  • 10/4/2009: Jets (-7.5) def. Saints 24-10
  • 9/30/2013: Dolphins (-7) def. Saints 38-17
  • 9/29/2019: Bills (+7) lose to Patriots 16-10

However, Kingsbury is also 8-3-2 as a road dog in his career, which includes their Week 1 demolition of the Titans as 2.5-point underdogs.

It’s too tough to pick a side, but I would consider a play on the under.

Both these teams are struggling to run the ball. However, the strength of both these defenses is in the passing game. Therefore, I could see both teams struggling to find a rhythm, leading to difficulties with moving the ball. It’s also worth noting that the Rams defense paces the NFL in Red Zone Defense DVOA.

My Predictions: Lean under 54.5 (-108 at Unibet)

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, October 3
Time: 4:05 PM ET
Location: SoFi Stadium – Inglewood, CA
TV Coverage: FOX

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams Live Stream

Where can you watch Cardinals vs. Rams online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Cardinals vs. Rams Free Online Now.

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Arizona Cardinals: DeAndre Hopkins (Q), Kelvin Beachum (Q)
Los Angeles Rams: Darrell Henderson (Q),

Arizona Cardinals Analysis

Arizona leads the league in points per game (34.3) so far this season, and everything revolves around Kyler.

He’s the most dangerous playmaker in the NFL. Through three games, he’s completed 76.5% of his passes at over 10 yards per attempt while adding over four yards per carry on the ground. He does things like this:

And this:

But I digress.

Before the season, I was hoping Kliff Kingsbury would focus more on the air-raid attack. Well, Arizona rushes at the 10th-highest rate in the NFL (43.4%), but they’ve been much more effective through the air. The Cardinals are averaging just 3.9 yards per carry while grading out at 17th in PFF’s Run ratings and at 25th in PFF’s Run Block ratings.

I’d like the Cardinals to pass the ball more moving forward. But that’s not my biggest issue with the team.

Arizona is 3-0, but they’ve had just the 26th-hardest strength of schedule to date. Not only do they have six more games against their uber-tough NFC West opponents, but they also have games against the Packers, Browns, and Cowboys to worry about. It’s been a great start, but things could go off the rails quickly.

The Arizona defense is still slightly underrated, but only because they’re elite in the passing game. They grade out at second in PFF’s Pressure ratings and rank third in Pass Defense DVOA. Chandler Jones already has nine sacks and 12 QB hits this season, while the coverage scheme grades out at third in PFF’s coverage grades despite losing Patrick Peterson.

Watch out for Isaiah Simmons at linebacker. Last year’s No. 8 overall pick is making big strides in his sophomore season, and he was particularly good against Minnesota.

Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart

QB: Kyler Murray
RB1: Chase Edmonds
RB2: James Conner
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR2: Christian Kirk
WR3: Rondale Moore
TE1: Maxx Williams

Los Angeles Rams Analysis

There isn’t a weakness on this Rams team.

They’re the highest-graded overall team per PFF and currently rank third in Football Outsiders’ Total DVOA. They rank first in Offense DVOA while being PFF’s third-highest graded defense.

You could point to anyone on this roster, but I want to highlight four players in particular:

  • QB Matthew Stafford: Stafford grades out as PFF’s seventh-best quarterback, but he’s ranks second in QBR and first in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR). There were questions of how he’d fit into McVay’s heavy play-action offense (the Rams ran the most play-action pass plays in the NFL in 2020), but he’s done so with perfection, completing over 70% of his passes for over 10 yards per attempt and a 9:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. For example:

  • WR Cooper Kupp: His favorite target has been Cupp, who’s pulled in a whopping 25 of his 33 targets through three games, recording a team-leading 36% Target Marketshare. Currently, he leads the league in receptions, yards, and touchdowns while grading out as PFF’s top wide receiver. He also leads the league in DYAR for wide receivers. If he keeps up his current pace, he’ll post career highs in snap count percentage (96.9%) and percentage of snaps out of the slot (74.5%), but he’ll also post a career-high in yards per reception (14.7).
  • CB Jalen Ramsey: Among cornerbacks, Ramsey ranks 10th in PFF’s coverage grades. While he’s allowed a good amount of receptions (14 on 21 targets), he’s allowed just 8.4 yards per reception on those catches. Plus, his average depth of target (6.2) is the 11th lowest among qualified cornerbacks.
  • DE Aaron Donald: No one has a higher PFF defensive rush grade, and only Cam Heyward has a better PFF overall defensive grade. He’s recorded two sacks and 14 hurries through three games, both of which are tied for first among defensive linemen.

Between those four guys, the Rams have elite playmakers at four of the most important positions in football.

If you want to nitpick, the rush game could be better. They rank just 30th in yards per carry this season, and while the offensive line grades well, a backfield of Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson doesn’t exactly spark confidence. Plus, they currently rank 29th in Special Teams DVOA.

But, who cares when you’re 3-0 and have a home game to move to 4-0.

Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart

QB: Matthew Stafford
RB1: Sony Michel
RB2: Darrell Henderson
WR1: Cooper Kupp
WR2: Robert Woods
WR3: Van Jefferson
TE1: Tyler Higbee

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams Daily Fantasy Picks

The obvious picks are Cooper Kupp and DeAndre Hopkins. Both are elite receivers getting a huge amount of targets in a high-powered offense.

However, the best DFS value pick in this matchup might be AJ Green. DeAndre Hopkins has gotten 18 targets for 18% of the Cardinals Target Marketshare, but so has AJ Green. Green has been just as involved in the offense as Hopkins, and while he’s turned those targets into fewer receptions (Hopkins 13, Green 10), Green’s averaged way more yards per reception (Green 18.1 YPR, Hopkins 12.2 YPR) and currently trails only Christian Kirk as the team leader in receiving yards.

Green is going to be a part of Kingsbury’s offense moving forward. But, he might still be very undervalued in the DFS markets. I’d target him now before the price goes up and the value gets sucked out.

Week 4 Matchup Previews
  • Bills @ Rams
  • Saints @ Falcons
  • Browns @ Panthers
  • 49ers @ Bears
  • Steelers @ Bengals
  • Eagles @ Lions
  • Colts @ Texans
  • Patriots @ Dolphins
  • Ravens @ Jets
  • Jaguars @ Commanders
  • Giants @ Titans
  • Chiefs @ Cardinals
  • Raiders @ Chargers
  • Packers @ Vikings
  • Buccaneers @ Cowboys
  • Broncos @ Seahawks
Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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