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Cardinals vs. Rams: The best player prop bets for Wild Card Weekend

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January 14th, 2022

The Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams will face each other for a third time this season as the NFC West rivals go head-to-head on Super Wild Card Weekend. The Cardinals could have won the NFC West had they not lost their Week 18 game to the Seahawks, and now must go on the road against the 12-5 Rams.

The Rams were 3.5-point favorites at home in Week 4, but were stunned by the Cardinals, who won 37-20. Sean McVay’s team turned the tables in Week 14, however, as the Rams went to Arizona as 2.5-point dogs but came out on top 30-23.

Can the Cardinals win on the road again, or will the Rams march towards the Super Bowl continue? Here are the three best player prop bets for the big game.

Tue, January 18 2022, 1:15 AM

LA Rams

Moneyline

-200

Spread

-4

Total

O 49.5

ARI Cardinals

Moneyline

+165

Spread

+4

Total

U 49.5

Van Jefferson Over/Under 35.5 Receiving Yards

Robert Woods’ season-ending injury was quickly followed by the signing of Odell Beckham Jr., and it appeared that Van Jefferson’s break-out for the Rams would have to wait. But it’s certainly not worked out that way.

Since the Week 11 bye, OBJ has had marginally more targets and receptions, but fewer receiving yards than Jefferson, who is averaging 45 yards per game.

Van Jefferson vs. Odell Beckham Jr. performance since Week 11

MetricVan JeffersonOdell Beckham Jr.
Targets
36
45
Receptions
20
25
Yards
315
287
Yards per Game
45
41

With that in mind, it looks like a value play to be getting -110 on Van Jefferson to clear 35.5 receiving yards, compared to -113 on OBJ beating 46.5 receiving yards. Van Jefferson has beaten this line in 65% of his games this season, and went for 90 yards against the Cardinals in Week 4 and 58 yards against them in Week 14.

Since the Rams bye week, Van Jefferson’s depth of target has been 14.3 yards and he’s averaged more than five targets a game, so while Stafford has been a bit banged up he’s still making deep plays to Jefferson. This looks a line that is well within Jefferson’s range.  

Pick: Over 35.5 Receiving Yards (-110)


Kyler Murray Over/Under 38.5 Rushing Yards

In the first eight games of the season, Kyler Murray ran 49 times for 147 yards. That’s just 6.1 attempts per game (down from 8.3 in 2020), and 18.4 yards per game (down from 51.2 in 2020). There were several factors, not least being Murray’s injury at the end of last season, his desire to be a throwing-first QB, and the emergence of James Conner.

But in the last six games since the bye week, Kyler has found his legs again as Arizona mixed things up on offense. In those six games he averaged 6.5 carries a game and 46 yards per game – much more in line with his 2020 numbers. That spell included the longest rush of his career as he broke free for 57 yards against the Colts in Week 16.

There we saw Kyler’s incredible speed on full display, and that’s something Arizona may look for again on Sunday. Against the Rams in Week 14, Murray ran for 61 yards with an average of 8.7 yards per attempt – his second highest yards per attempt average of the season.

Baltimore’s Tyler Huntley ran six times for 54 yards against the Rams as recently as Week 17, so if Murray wants to take off, he should be able to find the room. Given his recent performances and the way the Cardinals are trying to balance the offense I’m happy to side with the Over.

Pick: Over 38.5 Rushing Yards (-113)


Zach Ertz Longest Reception Over/Under 19.5 Yards

Since DeAndre Hopkins went down with an MCL injury in Week 14 against the Rams, Zach Ertz has become a key player for the Cardinals. In the three weeks without Hopkins, Ertz has led Arizona in targets (43), and receptions (28). Christian Kirk was the only man to have more receiving yards (271) than Ertz (253).

It’s been a fantastic spell for Ertz, who has averaged 63 yards a game since Hopkins went down. But despite that good spell, it’s crucial to note he’s picking up high yardage totals on short gains. In the last six games his longest receptions have been 10, 14, 20, 11, 11, and 19 yards. His average depth of target since Hopkins was injured is just 8.2 yards, and he’s averaging just 3.5 yards after the catch.

Over the last two seasons Ertz has played 28 games and only 33% of the time has he had games with a reception of 20 yards or more. I suspect he will be busy on Sunday and can put up a great box score on the Rams. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got double-digit targets from Murray and brought in seven or more receptions. But for my cash they’re all going to be 5-15 yard gains, and while he’ll do a great job moving the chains for Arizona, he’s worth keeping on the Under in this prop.

Pick: Longest Reception Under 19.5 Yards (-117)

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