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Cardinals vs. Rams 2013: Week 1 picks, odds & predictions

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The St. Louis Rams open the regular season at home against the Cardinals on Sunday. Which team are the experts picking to win?

Norm Hall

The return of football also means it's time to make hapless predictions, fork over money based on those predictions and fall into existential despair when it doesn't work out. FOOTBALL!

So what about the St. Louis Rams' home opener this week against the Arizona Cardinals? What are the odds? What are the experts saying? Who are you picking?

The Rams opened the week as four-point favorites. Since then, they've inched up to 4 1/2-point favorites over the Cardinals. For the home team, that's slightly better than even odds. A majority of bettors are taking the Cardinals to cover, per Odds Shark. The Rams are just 2-10 against the spread in their last 12 home openers, and St. Louis is 1-6 against the spread when favored.

The over/under for the game is 41 1/2 points. A slight majority of the action is on the over. But under has been the best choice when betting on the Cardinals. Arizona is 5-1 for the under in its last six season openers, and its 7-1 for the under on the last eight trips to St. Louis.

And who are the experts picking to win this one? Take a guess.

Nine of ESPN's 11 pundits took the Rams to win this week. CBS' NFL crew was a solid nine-for-nine picking the Rams to win. Here's more on what the networks are saying about the Rams' chances this week.

I picked the Rams to win and keep Arizona from covering the 4 1/2-point spread in my weekly picks column at SBNation.com. The Rams may not sack Carson Palmer nine times like they did Kevin Kolb when the Cardinals visited the Dome last season. But Chris Long and Robert Quinn should feast on LT Levi Brown and RT Eric Winston. Factor in Michael Brockers against a backup guard replacing Jonathan Cooper ... and, yeah, sorry about that "new" start, Palmer.

Seriously, homerism aside. Bruce Arians is like Mike Martz when it comes to the seven-step drop. Andrew Luck was the most hit and pressured QB in the NFL last year, and it wasn't even close. When he was calling plays in Pittsburgh, it cost Ben Roethlisberger a few times too, but his incredible ability to move around outside the pocket saved him from the kind of punishment a pocket status like Palmer will take.