NFL Betting Guide: Wild Card Monday

It seems the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams just can’t get enough of each other this season as they tangle for the third time to cap off the first round of the NFL playoffs. The teams split their first two matchups, with the road team coming out on top in each game.

Here's how numberFire ranks each team heading into Monday's game using our nERD metric and Net Expected Points (NEP):

Team nERD nERD Rank Offensive
NEP Rank
NEP Rank
Arizona Cardinals 8.08 4th 9th 5th
Los Angeles Rams 6.63 7th 7th 10th

Inside the Standard Bets

Our model gives the edge to the Rams, projecting them to win outright 61.25% of the time, but we think this one will be close -- giving the Rams a 47.53% chance of covering the 3.5-point spread.

If you are going to take one of these teams to win outright, the Cardinals (+152, implied probability 39.68%) would be the slightly better pick, but our model doesn't have a strong lean on either team's moneyline.

The betting line opened with the Cardinals getting 4.5 points, and that line has since moved to 3.5. Our algorithm still thinks there is value in taking Arizona to cover (-112), rating it as a one-star bet, meaning a one-unit wager. The Cardinals have been great against the spread (ATS) on the road this year, covering in eight of their nine away games.

The best value among the standard set of wagers, per our model, is taking the under on a 49.5-point total. Our numbers estimate the likelihood of the under hitting to be 55.34% on -110 odds (52.38% implied) and project an expected return of 5.6%.

Player Prop Value Bets

While Tyler Higbee has been pretty productive over his last four games, the Cardinals' defense has been great against tight ends all season, allowing the fourth-fewest yards to the position. I think Higbee's recent success has put the line on his receiving yards prop up just a bit too high. It's at 38.5 receiving yards, and I like taking the under (-110) on it.

Ever since DeAndre Hopkins went out, the production from the Cardinals' wide receivers has been a bit chaotic. Rookie Antoine Wesley has been on the field for 72.3% of the team’s offensive snaps over the past four weeks and has averaged 5.25 targets per game.

Our projections put Wesley at 27.87 receiving yards, and with fellow rookie Rondale Moore listed as questionable to play, there may be more opportunity for Wesley in Arizona’s offense Monday Night. I like taking the over on his receiving prop line of 23.5 yards, especially given the +102 odds.

Final Notes

Going back to last season, the away team has won three of the last four matchups between these two division rivals.

Despite giving up the 12th-most rushing yards to running backs during the regular season, the Cardinals allowed just six rushing touchdowns, tied for the fewest.

Matthew Stafford has thrown at least one interception in each of his last four games and at least two picks in three straight. His last interception-free game came against Arizona in Week 14.