Rams Dismiss Cardinals in Playoffs Opener, Post Solid Covers

LA Rams Defeating Arizona Cardinals NFL Background

  • Rams cover the spread in convincing with over Arizona
  • Reed’s Pick-6 spurs bettors who post defensive bets
  • OBJ, Cooper Kupp connect on scores to post offensive bets

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matt Stafford finally enjoyed his first playoff win, and the Rams were solid on both sides of the football in defeating the Arizona Cardinals, 34-11, in the first Monday night playoff game in NFL history.

Stafford hit Odell Beckham, Jr. and Cooper Kupp with a pair of touchdown passes while the defense made quick work of the Cardinals in holding them to 183 total yards for the night.

Los Angeles came into the game as a (-3) favorite and wasted little time covering the number as Stafford hit OBJ with the 4-yard touchdown pass with 3:50 left in the first quarter to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.

From there, the Cardinals never challenged as the Rams’ lead dropped out at 28-0 in the third period. The favorites finished 5-1 on wildcard weekend, with the San Francisco 49ers (+3) as the lone dissenter with their 23-17 win over the Cowboys in Dallas.

The Turning Point

The total stayed UNDER 49.5 points as the Cardinals’ offense was repeatedly stymied, and quarterback Kyler Murray was ravaged by the relentlessness of the Rams’ defense.

The unit pinched him into the pocket and wouldn’t let him get outside to play make.

This caused the play that flipped the momentum in the game into the Rams hands and it never changed.

On 3rd-and-7 from his own four-yard line, Murray dropped back into his end zone and he didn’t survive a massive Rams’ blitz.

Instead of tucking the ball and taking a safety, he flipped it into the right flat where a nimble David Long, Jr., picked off the attempt and returned it three yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 Rams lead with 7:59 to go in the second quarter.

Murray finished with only 137 passing yards as he had only 28 at half-time as both of his interceptions were in the first half. The second one is attributed to him, but went off James Connor’s hands and into the waiting arms of Marquise Copeland.

Bettors who placed money on a Rams defense or special teams touchdown reaped the rewards with a (+450) number on that prop bet.

The UNDER is now 26-10-1 in the Rams’ last 37 games where they are favored.

Rams Offense Pays in Several Ways

Beckham was listed at (+850) to score the first touchdown as he did. Beckham, who came to the Rams at mid-season, has now scored in six of his nine games as a Rams wide receiver.

Stafford, who had been interception prone throughout the later portals of the season, completed 13 of 17 passes for 202 yards.

The former Detroit Lions QB covered the bet (+850) for him to score a touchdown any time during the game. His 1-yard run with 11:59 remaining before halftime capped a drive of nine plays and 68 yards and it gave Los Angeles a 14-0 lead.

Stafford was also posted by some online sportsbooks with a (+900) to hit pay dirt.

Of course, dynamic wide receiver Cooper Kupp would get into the act as well. Kupp caught a 7-yard touchdown pass and covered the (-145) that was posted for him to score. This gave Los Angeles a 28-0 lead with 10:36 to play.

Kupp went over 100 yards receiving in 11 games and caught 16 touchdown passes during the season. He also had gone OVER on his receiving yards props in 14 of 17 games.

However, Monday night was different as he had 61 yards on seven catches and went UNDER the total of 100.5. The Cardinals finally got on the board late in the third quarter when running back James Connor scored from two-yards out. He was posted at (+160) to score at anytime and he had scored 15 rushing touchdowns and three via the pass in the regular season as he had five games where he scored two times on the ground.

Rams coach Sean McVay has caged the Cardinals throughout his five seasons as the Rams coach as he is now 10-1 SU and 9-1-1 ATS vs. Arizona.

Rams, Buccaneers Ready for Rematch

Los Angeles handed Tampa Bay its first loss of the season way back in Week 3 on Sept. 26, 34-24, at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passed for 432 yards and Matt Stafford went for 343 yards and four touchdowns. Tampa Bay came into that game as a 1-point favorite while the two teams covered OVER 55 late when Brady hit Giovani Bernard on a 7-yard TD pass with 1:10 remaining.

Tampa Bay is installed as a 3-point favorite this Sunday with the Rams at (+3) (-115) while the Buccaneers are (-3) (-105).

The OVER/UNDER on the game is much lower than in the first meeting as it is started at 49.5 points and it is now posted at 48.5 points.

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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