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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 15: Cardinals Vs Rams

Arizona Cardinals Vs. St. Louis Rams

Market Watch

Despite the Cardinals win over the Chiefs, this line has seen a significant line move since last week's look-ahead line. Westgate originally had the Rams at -2.5, but when that same number was put up on Sunday night early money immediately bet it to -3. On Monday morning, it was at -3.5, and we've now seen a move all the way up to -5.5!  Yet, only 51% of the wagers are on St. Louis.

Bottom Line

Are the Rams the "right side" here as the early money suggests? I guess it depends on what you make of Arizona lately. Despite seeing a dropoff in offensive production, they were able to pull out a solid win against KC in Week 14.

The defense is a legit top 5 unit and will hold the advantage over the Rams offense. Shaun Hill has given them more stability, but he still operates as a replacement level QB - not to mention he plays behind a below average OL that might have trouble dealing with the aggressive Cardinals pressure.

And it's almost the same story on the other side of the ball. The Rams defense ranks in the top 10 in most of the important categories, and they are ascending up the rankings after facing a really tough schedule in the first half of the season. That's not good news since we're asking Drew Stanton to get the job done.

And that is precisely why I think action is on St. Louis here. Stanton simply hasn't been able to run the offense the way Arians wants him to. Arians is usually aggressive down field no matter who his QB is, but even he has dialed things back to a more conservative approach due to Stanton's deficiencies.

Ultimately, I think this line is right where it should be, and I don't see much value in either side. Hill is more reliable than Stanton, the Rams are trending up, and they are at home on a short week.

That said, the Cardinals defense is more than capable of winning this game and/or keeping the score within 5 points.  And we also have to consider that Zuerlein is struggling right now, which isn't what you want in a game that shapes up to be a defensive battle.

I lean Rams, but I'd feel much better about making a play on them if the line was -3.

Read more: Week 15 picks.
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