Cardinals vs Rams MNF Wild Card Picks and Predictions: LA Takedown

After splitting the season series, Arizona and Los Angeles complete their season trilogy tonight. The Rams looked stronger down the stretch and oddsmakers are giving them the edge — we agree and highlight why LA is smart money in our NFL betting picks.

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2022 4:48 PM ET Read Time: 5 min

Monday Night Football doesn't end in the regular season this year — that honor goes to Wild Card weekend, which wraps up with a clash between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams tonight. These NFC West rivals split a pair of meetings earlier this season and NFL betting lines opened with the Rams as 4-point home favorites for the grudge match.

Here are our best free NFL picks and predictions for Cardinals vs. Rams on January 17, with kickoff at 8:15 p.m. ET. 

Cardinals vs Rams odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Rams opened as 4-point favorites for this game with the Over/Under at 50.5. Early money has come in on the Under, shifting the total to 49.5. While the line has mostly stayed steady as of Saturday morning.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Cardinals vs Rams predictions

Predictions made on 1/15/2022 at 9 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

Best Cardinals vs Rams bonuses

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Cardinals vs Rams game info

Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Date: Monday, January 17, 2022
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN, ABC

Cardinals at Rams betting preview

Weather

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Key injuries

Cardinals: James Conner RB (Questionable), J.J. Watt DE (Questionable), Chase Edmonds RB (Probable), Marco Wilson CB (Questionable), Rondale Moore WR (Questionable), Jordan Phillips DL (Questionable), Justin Pugh OL (Questionable), Isaiah Simmons LB (Questionable), Zach Allen DE (Questionable), DeAndre Hopkins WR (Out), Robert Alford CB (Out), Maxx Williams TE (Out).

Rams: Matthew Stafford QB (Probable), Leonard Floyd OLB (Probable), Darious Williams CB (Probable), Taylor Rapp S (Questionable), Van Jefferson WR (Questionable), Jordan Fuller S (Out), Ernest Jones LB (Out), Darrell Henderson Jr. RB (Out), Sheldon Joseph-Day DL (Out), Robert Woods WR (Out).

Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Cardinals are 3-8 against the spread vs. a team with a winning record. Find more NFL betting trends for Cardinals vs. Rams.

Cardinals vs Rams picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Cardinals stumbled into the playoffs going 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five games, a stretch that began with a 30-23 loss at home to the Rams in Week 14. Arizona outgained Los Angeles 447-356 in that contest but a pair of turnovers proved costly. It was a complete reversal from their Week 4 showdown when the Cards handily won 37-20 and benefited from a pair of Rams giveaways. 

The Rams squandered a 17-3 first-half lead against the 49ers last week and ended up falling 27-24 in overtime. That snapped a five-game winning streak where the Rams went 4-1 ATS. 

These teams were actually neck-and-neck in many analytical stats. The Rams finished the regular season fifth in the league in DVOA defense according to Football Outsiders and the Cards were one spot behind them in sixth. On offense, the Rams ranked eighth in EPA/play and ninth in Success Rate, while the Cards were ninth and eighth, respectively.

That said, there was a big difference between the play of these squads after that Week 14 Rams victory. The Cardinals struggled on both sides of the ball during the final four weeks of the season ranking 19th in the league in EPA/play on offense and 24th in EPA/play on defense. The passing game looked limited without All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins and the line took way too many penalties which stalled drives. 

Despite last week's loss to the Niners, the Rams enter the postseason with much better momentum than Arizona. They also have a recent history of dominating this division rivalry with the Cards winning and covering just once in the last 10 meetings. 

Prediction: Rams -4 (-110)

We mentioned that Arizona slipped offensively during the second half of the season but L.A. also regressed. The Cardinals ranked second in the league in DVOA offense through Week 9, before ranking 22nd the rest of the way. The Rams ranked third until the mid-way point of the year, then fell to 15th from Week 10 onward. 

A big reason for that was turnovers with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing eight interceptions and losing a fumble in the final four weeks of the season. Thankfully, the Rams defense continued to play well down the stretch with Von Miller picking up five sacks in the final four games to give L.A. another strong pass rusher to complement Aaron Donald.

Donald is the best defensive lineman in the world and he absolutely wrecked the Cardinals offense with three sacks and constant pressure in Week 14. There's no reason to think the Cards will be able to slow Donald down this time and they'll also have to deal with shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who missed that previous showdown due to COVID-19.

With the Under 17-5 in the Rams' last 22 games as a home favorite, and also cashing in 13 of the Cardinals previous 17 games on the road, back it again on Monday night. 

Prediction: Under 49.5 (-110)

We mentioned that Stafford has a troubling tendency to throw picks at crucial times, and that has us more confident in this prop bet than our ATS bet. The Rams QB finished the regular season with the third-most passing yards in the league but his questionable decision-making and gunslinger mentality seem to have carried over from his Detroit days. Stafford has thrown a whopping eight interceptions in his last four games.

Although he didn't get picked off in that Week 14 showdown against the Cards, he had an interception in their previous meeting and has now thrown at least one interception in 10 of his last 14 games.

Stafford has also thrown a total of four interceptions in three playoff games in his career and we're wagering on him making another mistake with the pressure ramping up in the postseason. 

Pick: Stafford Over 0.5 interceptions (-120)

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