If you’re being honest with yourself, you are admitting that Kliff Kingsbury has been a success as an NFL coach. The Arizona Cardinals were a laughingstock when he took over. And frankly, a lot of people were laughing when he was hired. But now he has built this team into something formidable enough to be the #1 seed in the NFC at the moment.
BetAnySports customers will get a chance to see his Cards in action in this week’s edition of Monday Night Football, when they take on the Los Angeles Rams, who really have to win this game to stand any genuine chance of winning the NFC West. They will kick it off at 8:15 PM ET, and don’t forget that through Premier Lines, Ultimate Lines and Super Lines, you can get involved in real-time wagering that makes this whole thing super-exciting.
According to bookie software info, The Rams come into this game after a 37-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Matthew Stafford had 295 yards passing, but you know, in the three games prior to that, he had been intercepted five times, with two of them being returned for touchdowns. He does have 30 TD passes, and leads the NFL with 8.05 Adjusted Net Yards per attempt, so Sean McVay certainly did an advantageous thing in bringing him over from Detroit in exchange for Jared Goff.
But Los Angeles will be handicapped by the absence of running back Darrell Henderson, who’s been developing into one of the premier people at the position. Henderson was placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday. Arizona has given up 4.7 yards per carry, so someone else (Sony Michel?) will have to try and exploit this potential weakness.
Arizona is 10-2 (9-3 ATS) and they have the two-game lead in the NFC West over the Rams (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS), who have dropped five of their last six against the number.
Monday Night Football Odds
In the BetAnySports odds by which we will make our Monday Night Football predictions, the Cards are the favorites at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ:
Arizona Cardinals -3
Los Angeles Rams +3
Over 51 points -110
Under 51 points -110
And remember that you can get reduced juice before the game starts – as always!
Kingsbury was the head coach at Texas Tech before coming into the NFL, but his team is doing a couple of things the Red Raiders didn’t do very much; that is, run the football and play defense.
Only the Philadelphia Eagles have run it with a higher percentage of frequency than Arizona’s 48.3%, and the basic philosophy here is that you always want the defense to worry about defending it. James Conner, who came over from Pittsburgh, has averaged only 3.8 yards a carry,but he has scored 12 touchdowns on the ground, as he’s been proficient in red zone situations. The Cards lead the league with 19 TD’s on the ground, and that includes Kyler Murray, of course.
Their quarterback, the first player taken in the 2019 draft, does not get blitzed a whole lot (just 5.8 times per game, in fact), which is a testament to his elusiveness. But he has been dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out of a few games. Last week, in less-than-ideal conditions against the Chicago bears, he had 59 yards on the ground.
But this is a guy who can stretch a defense; his accuracy rate on passes that go 20+ yards beyond scrimmage is best in the NFL. And the Rams aren’t close to being as good as they were last season defending these kinds of downfield plays.
That’s a factor here. So is the Cardinals’ +12 turnover ratio. And of course, there is the Arizona defense, which has yielded 1.66 points per drive, third best in the league. They did a very good job on Cooper Kupp in the last meeting (a 37-20 Cards win), holding him to five catches on 13 targets and 64 yards. Consider that Kupp leads the NFL with 100 receptions and 1366 yards, and you know that’s a big accomplishment. They’ll likely take the same approach and make Matthew Stafford beat him with other weapons. Maybe Odell Beckham will be a guy who’ll play a prominent role.
Yes, we realize that Arizona has lost twice and is 2-3 ATS at home. But we consider this to be a pretty good matchup for them. Stafford has been only a 38% pointspread proposition in his career against winning teams. That’s interesting. We’ll lay the points.
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