The Arizona Cardinals will head West to visit the Los Angeles Rams for a fascinating early NFC West matchup. Let’s take a look at some Cardinals vs. Rams player props, with stars like Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp back in action together.
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With two explosive pass offenses squaring off, and very little high-end defensive talent on either side, this one could be a classic thriller of a West Coast shootout. Let’s take a look at who specifically might be in for a big day.
Matthew Stafford Over 227.5 Passing Yards (-115 BetMGM)
After a challenging 2022 in which he visibly struggled with throwing arm injuries, the very tough Matthew Stafford is back to his best this season, even though the final stat line might not always show it. His touchdown to interception ratio is deceiving as he’s thrown five of each, but he’s racked up a league-high 14 big time throws, well ahead of a couple of players in second with 11, compared to just five turnover worthy plays as per PFF, so positive regression should be on the way.
Of course, we’re not here to talk about touchdowns or interceptions, but if more of those big time throws start yielding results, and a few less of the turnover worthy plays end up in opposing hands, either development could be a big positive for his yardage total as well.
As far as his yardage output so far this season, Stafford’s track record over the first five games of the season has been promising for sure. In three of those five outings, he’s tossed for over 300 passing yards, which would have him comfortably clear of the number being offered.
He was just a few yards away from hitting 278 in a strange contest against the Bengals, meaning that last week, against the defending NFC Champion Eagles, a very solid defense, is the first time that this over would have been a truly bad bet, as he didn’t come close at all. That lower-profile performance against Philly could be working to our favor, as the recency bias from that tougher outing could be driving this number down.
A quarterback is often only as productive as his weapons allow him to be, so the return of Cooper Kupp is absolutely enormous for this number. We’ll talk about him more later when we get into a prop for Kupp himself, but getting back his top wideout to play alongside breakout star Puka Nacua now gives Stafford a pair of targets he really trusts, which is exponentially harder to cover than just one.
Of course, part of the reason this is a good bet isn’t just that Stafford and his wideouts are capable of strong performances, but also that the Cardinals are poised to allow them. When it comes to pass defense snaps, Arizona is 28th in DVOA, 27th in EPA, and an ugly 30th in success rate; this is the perfect opportunity for a great bounce-back from Stafford and his crew after a tough outing against a great team.
Cooper Kupp Over 7.5 Receptions (+105 BetMGM)
Now let’s dig a bit deeper into the role that specifically Kupp might play in Stafford’s big outing. It’s worth noting that these two props are likely to either hit together or miss together, as it’s relatively tough although not impossible for a receiver to have a productive day when his quarterback does not, so consider using them as legs in a same-game parlay.
Many observers, including myself, feared that Kupp might come back as a shell of himself after dealing with a hamstring injury that seemed to linger in a concerning way, but he was his usual, productive self even as Stafford had a less-prolific outing against the Eagles. He received targets on 12 of Stafford’s 37 pass attempts, and hauled in eight of those for 118 yards, so it’s safe to say that he’s fully healthy and re-integrated into this offense, despite the meteoric rise of Nacua.
This is a relatively low number for the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year, who averaged well over this bar in that historic season, and even last year when the team struggled much more and he was less than fully healthy. This might be because bettors believe that the Rams could run away with this game and move away from the pass, but their defense really shouldn’t allow them to do so, as they will struggle to shut down a solid Arizona offense. Grab it while you can; if Kupp keeps lighting up the stat sheet, it’ll be higher in weeks to come.
Brett Maher Over 2.5 Extra Points Made (+100 BetMGM)
As always, this pick is largely about game flow; Maher needs the Rams to score in order to have chances to hit extra points. And they absolutely should do just that; they have turned 64.29% of their red zone drives into touchdowns, a very solid sixth-best figure in the league despite having played defenses like the Eagles and 49ers. The Rams were 2 for 2 in the red zone against Philly last week, and the return of Kupp should not hurt in this department. This game is also being played at home, where the Rams’ red zone percentage is even better at 75%.
Of course, Maher also needs to hit the opportunities he’s given, and he has every ability to do that as well. He’s hit all 10 of his point after tries so far this season, while he ripped in 50 of a league-high 53 attempts a season ago for the Cowboys. Simply put, Maher is a veteran who should be making these kicks, and against a below-average Cardinals defense, the Rams should give him the chance to do so.