Last week’s pick was to take the Packers at +3 on their home field. Sorry guys.
There is a very short turnaround this week as the Seattle Seahawks get to come home and face their pesky nemesis, the Los Angeles Rams on a Thursday night. The Rams come into this game 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games against the Hawks, as they always seem to stifle them just enough to squeak by. But in those four wins that the Rams have put up over Seattle lately, none have been by more than six points.
In no game in the last three years against LA have the Seahawks held the lead at halftime.
The Rams season has completely derailed since going on a run in the first four weeks where they beat Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Arizona. They are 1-8 SU and 1-6-2 ATS since Week 4. Since their last win against the New York Jets they have lost four in a row SU and ATS, with the last 3 of those losses being of the “Seahawks at Lambeau on 12/11/16” type.
All of this has finally ended up costing Jeff Fisher his job, and what was once 13.5-point home chalk for Seattle has exploded to 16-points at offshore site 5Dimes. Conventional wisdom would say that this knee-jerk reaction in the betting markets is to be expected, but the money flows so far in this game suggest otherwise. As of Monday afternoon, nearly 60% of wagers have come in on the side of the Seahawks; however, over 84% of the actual value of the wagers is on the Rams. Either there are a multitude of sharp bettors, or one large whale that is skewing the market at this time. The fact that the line has stayed at -16 given the total value on LA tells me that it is one big whale, at least for now. Books think that the multitude of square bettors coming in on the Hawks will eventually even things out.
The O/U in this game has been posted at 38.5 points, which is tantalizing because of Seattle’s trends on the total while playing the Rams (or any NFC West team, for that matter). LA averages 16.5 points per game on the road this year, and are 0-3 O-U against the division this year. The Seahawks are 1-2 O-U against the division, but 4-2 favoring the Over at home. We all know about the Hawks’ woes on offense on the road so I won’t expand on it here. Mr. Castle’s excellent write up a few weeks ago concluded that Seattle averaged 27 points the week after scoring 14 or less in the last four seasons. Being at home for this game makes that rebound more likely than not.
The weather for Thursday night’s game looks to be just below freezing, but with no precipitation or wind expected. Wind is the big factor that would favor the Under and that doesn’t look to be an issue here.
On the injury front the Rams lost safety Maurice Alexander against the Falcons on Sunday so both will be without their starters at that position. Defensive end Robert Quinn is in concussion protocol as well. LA still picked up two sacks in their blowout loss against the Falcons though, as Aaron Donald and William Hayes each picked up one apiece. If they care to play hard, the Rams defensive line is still very capable of causing trouble.
One very big thing that will be different in this matchup will be that this will be Jared Goff’s first game against the Seahawks. Unfortunately for him it comes in Seattle, on a short turnaround, in freezing temperatures, with a new offensive game plan (maybe). Goff has been picked off twice in two games in a row now and is completing passes at a 55.1% rate in his four starts. We will put a moratorium out on talking about interceptions thrown by QBs playing in this game from this point on, for obvious reasons. Goff has no rushing game to lean on either, as the Rams are 30th in the league in putting up only 81.1 rushing yards per game. No wonder Todd Gurley is super pissed.
So, LA doesn’t have a passing game anymore, the rushing game is a non-starter, and their interim head coach comes into this game with an offensive game plan that begins with fake punts. It doesn’t look like they will have many chances to score, and Vegas agrees. The lines indicate that the team total Over/Under for the Rams will come in at around 11.5 to 13 points. I don’t think they’ll make it there, so I’ll be taking Under 38.5 points in this game. If Seattle’s offense comes around and covers the 3-score spread I’ll be fine passing on a wager on the Hawks -16, but in the meantime I’ll be set to enjoy watching our defense destroy the Rams at CenturyLink.