Thursday Night Football Betting: Will the Seahawks and Rams Give Us a Shootout?
After suffering a lopsided loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week, the Los Angeles Rams hit the road on a short week to face the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC West matchup. It's an important game for both sides.
The road Rams are a 2.5-point road favorite with the over/under at 54.5 points, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
Let's dive into what we think could be some interesting betting angles for this contest.
Tale of the Tape
While we are just four games into this 17-game season, there are some clear lines being drawn by both teams. Let's start with each team's defense.
The Rams, who were one of the top-ranked units a season ago, have been obliterated recently. Over the past two weeks, they've allowed 911 yards of total offense and 61 points. That's a far cry from a team that allowed the fewest yards and points a year ago. The Cardinals were able to score on seven of their first nine drives last week. All in all, the Rams are the 12th-worst defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics.
But Seattle's defense says "hold my beer." The sixth-worst unit by our numbers, the Seahawks have been shredded by the pass and rank as the fourth-worst pass D and sixth-worst overall defense. From a fantasy perspective, they are allowing the 8th-most points to signal-callers, the 11th-most to wideouts and the 3rd-most to running backs. It all adds up to a defense that is pretty poor all around.
On the positive, the two offenses have been very good -- both clocking in as top-10 attacks (LA 2nd and Seattle 10th).
The Rams' offseason trade for Matthew Stafford has paid dividends early on. Looking through the lens of our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Stafford has posted a mark of 0.52 Passing NEP per drop back, which slots in first among all passers with at least 100 drop backs.
Russell Wilson has been solid in his own right, logging a mark of 0.27 Passing NEP per drop back, the eighth-best clip.
At the running back spot, neither team is likely to have who they assumed would be their starting running back heading into 2021.
A week after playing fewer snaps than usual, Chris Carson hasn't practiced this week due to a neck injury. At this point, he looks very iffy -- at best -- to play tonight. If Carson sits, all signs point to backup Alex Collins being the workhorse in Seattle's backfield. Collins did have nearly 1,000 yards rushing (973) for the Baltimore Ravens in 2017 and looked lively a week ago, racking up 78 total yards and a score on 12 touches (10 carries).
For the Rams, Darrell Henderson seems to have assumed lead-back duties when he's healthy. A week ago, he had 19 touches for 117 all-purpose yards.
Historical Betting Trends
As I mentioned early on, the Rams are 2.5-point road favorites, and the total is at 54.5 points. Our model sees a lot of betting value on multiple fronts.
Interestingly, we think the Seahawks have a great chance of winning this game outright. We predict them to win the game by a score of 25.65-22.68. Seattle covering the spread is a three-star bet, per our algorithm, and we give that a 64.13% chance of happening. We also rate the Seahawks on the moneyline as a three-star wager and give Seattle a 60.2% chance to win.
There is a lot of value on the total, too. We give the under 68.11% odds of hitting, and it's a four-start bet.
In the prop market, I'm all over Russell Wilson. With the Seahawks' murky running back situation, I expect a lot of Wilson -- both passing and running. I am into Wilson scoring a rushing or receiving touchdown (+350).
With our model forecasting this game to be a lot lower scoring than what oddsmakers are expecting, Matthew Stafford's passing yards prop is a way to take advantage of that. The line is at 305.5 yards while we have him throwing for 268.2 yards.
Historical Betting Trends
-- The over has hit in the Rams' last six games.
-- LA is 14-5-1 ATS in their last 20 games following a loss of 14-plus points, and they are 6-1-2 ATS in their last nine games after they've allowed 30-plus points.
-- The Rams have gone 6-2 in their last eight games versus Seattle.
-- In their last 10 games as a home 'dog, Seattle has gone 9-1 ATS.