Here's what usually happens when the Arizona Cardinals visit St. Louis - Rams bettors lose.
Over the past seven seasons, the Cards have never lost here, while going 5-2 ATS. Their two ATS losses were a 21-13 win (just missing the 9-point spread) and a 34-31 (just missing the 3.5-point spread).
Neither fact is lost on bettors who see them as small 1.5-road favorites for the Thursday night game, as the Cardinals look to remain undefeated at Edward Jones Dome.
"Arizona has been excellent dating back to 2011, but they are a troublesome 3-13 SU in their past 16 road games overall, so some bettors are treading lightly here," said Scott Winstone, sportsbook manager at Top Bet.
Already one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 season, the Arizona Cardinals added another wild chapter with their overtime win over the Miami Dolphins last week. Down 21-14 with time winding down, Arizona recovered a Miami fumble and drove down the field to score a tying touchdown on a Kevin Kolb pass on 4th and 10 in the closing moments. [ See latest NFL lines here at SBNation ]
They then intercepted the ball in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal. Arizona is now 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS after winning but failing to cover last week.
The St. Louis Rams, on a much smaller scale, have also been a pleasant surprise this season. Off to a 3-1 ATS start, the Rams improved to 2-0 SU and ATS at home with an upset win over Seattle last week. The team has played well under new head coach Jeff Fischer, and only failed to cover the spread in a Week 3 loss on the road to the Chicago Bears.
While the Rams have played well overall, the offense hasn't done much averaging 19.8 points per game, and will likely struggle against Arizona's suddenly very strong defense (15.3 points per game). Bookmakers and bettors still aren't quite ready to buy in to Arizona's hot start, but the signs were there as the Cardinals ended last year on a 7-2 straight up run.
Arizona is 11-2 SU and 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games.
Arizona has also enjoyed plenty of success over St. Louis in recent years, going 10-1 SU and 8-3 ATS in its last 11 meetings with the Rams. We aren't quite ready to call Arizona a legitimate Super Bowl contender yet, but the Cardinals do have the look of a playoff team at this point, and should be able to handle the Rams and this small spread.
PICK: Arizona -1.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)