Cardinals Hope Arians Can Have Big Impact As They Open 2013 Season Versus Fisher, Rams
The St. Louis Rams took a major step forward in their first year under head coach Jeff Fisher, posting a 7-8-1 record that included going 4-1-1 in a stacked NFC West division. The Arizona Cardinals are coming off another disappoint year, but are hoping the arrival of first-year head coach Bruce Arians will go a long way in turning things around. Arians earned NFL Coach of the Year honors after helping to lead the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs as offensive coordinator and interim head coach as Chuck Pagano dealt with cancer, and Arizona took that as an indication he is ready for the big job. The Cardinals open at St. Louis week one, and this sports betting contest could end up having major playoff implications for both teams.
Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams
Sunday September 8, 2013 – 4:25 PM ET
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
NFL Sportsbook Line: Rams – 4.5
Arians helped Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck earn NFL Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, and wasted little time bringing in an accomplished quarterback in Carson Palmer. Palmer threw for over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns on an Oakland Raiders’ team that had far fewer weapons than he will have in Arizona, and that could mean big things.
NFL Betting Preview: Arizona Cardinals
No Cardinals’ player should have been happier than Larry Fitzgerald when the news broke that Palmer was headed to the desert, as he finally gets an accomplished passer that can help him reach his potential after another down year. Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts will also get their touches after dealing with some brutal quarterback play last season, and if the offensive line can hold up the Arizona passing game will be very dangerous. The biggest hit to this Cardinals’ team could be the loss of defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who helped that unit finish in the top-10 last season. Horton joined the Cleveland Browns in the offseason, but that was the single biggest loss on that side of the football.
NFL Betting Preview: St. Louis Rams
The Rams’ defense played an integral role in its success a year ago, finishing in the top-half of the NFL against both the run and pass as young stars like Robert Quinn, James Laurinaitis, and Janoris Jenkins emerged. St. Louis added linebacker Alec Ogletree on that side of the ball without losing any key pieces, and the real change comes on the offensive side of the ball where the receiving core looks very different. The Rams said goodbye to Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, electing to add through the draft with electric first-round rookie Tavon Austin and his former West Virginia teammate Stedman Bailey. The biggest hit could come in the form of running back Stephen Jackson’s departure, as he NFL’s active rushing leader is replace by Darryl Richardson.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
St. Louis took a major step forward in the NFC West last season, but whether or not that online sports betting progress can continue is another story entirely. Arizona certainly has the weapons on both sides of the ball to earn a straight up win on the road in week one, and there are plenty of reasons to think they will at least cover the 4.5 points that they are being spotted in this one.
NFL Betting Pick: Arizona Cardinals + 4.5