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Rams-Cardinals opening odds: LA favored in spite of themselves

The loser of this game might as well call it a season and look ahead to 2023

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams can’t seem to buy a point right now, but where better to find money-for-points than Las Vegas? Despite losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-13 and the defending champions dropping to 3-5 through eight games, the Rams are still favored by three points against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

There’s no cure for a hangover like the Cardinals.

While the Indianapolis Colts fired head coach Frank Reich on Monday morning, the Cardinals are holding off on letting go of Kliff Kingsbury less than one year after signing the head coach to an extension this past summer. But the Cardinals are in last place in the NFC West at 3-6 and a loss to the Rams on Sunday would all but end their season and start the wheels in motion for yet another Arizona rebuild.

At the very least, some sort of reset.

The Cardinals are now more famous for how many games they’ve lost in the last year than they are for the 7-0 start they had under Kingsbury and Kyler Murray in 2021. Since then, the Cardinals have lost 13 of 20, including a 31-21 defeat at the hand of the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Arizona is 31st in scoring defense, but also 32nd in net yards per pass attempt.

That calls into question not only Kingsbury’s offensive gameplans, but Kyler Murray’s ability to throw the football effectively. Not a good situation for a franchise that also just extended the quarterback to a massive contract with no outs in the near future.

But the Rams have no room left to brag, even if they did win the Super Bowl nine months ago.

The Rams find themselves at 3-5, 29th in scoring offense, 25th in net yards per pass attempt, and 31st in rushing yards and yards per carry. The offensive line is bad, the receivers (other than Cooper Kupp) are bad, the tight ends are bad, and the running backs are bad.

When DraftKings notes that the Rams are three-point favorites, do they literally mean a 3-0 final score prediction? It could be!

What L.A. does have in its favor is total domination over Arizona. The Rams have beaten the Cardinals 11 times in their last 12 tries, including in the wild card round last season and earlier this season. That makes three straight games in which the Rams beat the Cardinals by at least a touchdown, and each of L.A.’s last 11 wins over the Cardinals were by a minimum of seven points.

That includes quite a few blowouts.

However, this has not been the same Rams team that we’ve seen since Sean McVay’s arrival in 2017. They’re much worse. But the Cardinals are also much worse than they were last season, so seeing the Rams get somewhat back on track in Week 10 would not be surprising. It could also be the final nail in Kingsbury’s coffin and he could join Reich sooner than anyone expected after his recent extension.

I would side with the Rams here.

But if the Rams do lose, then McVay—also with a newly-signed extension, but McVay has miles of rope thanks to his career up to this point and is not going to see the hot seat any time soon—will have to answer for why L.A. is in last place instead of the lowly Cardinals.