Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-2)
I love to exploit home/road discrepancies so the Seahawks are one of my favorite teams to bet. Since 2007, they are 29-14 ATS at home and 14-28 ATS on the road. Riding that trend is the reason why I’ve selected every Seahawks game correctly this year and for significant units as well. Going on the road to St. Louis this week, I plan to continue using that trend, especially since NFC West teams are just 23-36 ATS on the road over that same time period.
Now onto what happened last week for the Seahawks. Bogus win aside, you can have whatever opinion on what happened, one thing is for sure, the Seahawks really struggled moving the ball. Marshawn Lynch is the only player on this offense I really trust. Russell Wilson is definitely a likeable guy, but the fact is he’s a 3rd round rookie quarterback not getting any help from his receiving corps or offensive line who is subsequently completing 57.3% of his passes for an average of 5.8 YPA, 4* touchdowns and 1 interception.
Last week, against a Packer defense that has had more than its fair share of problems stopping people recently, Wilson was just 10 of 21 for 130 yards and 2 scores and that’s including a 24 yard touchdown that was questionable at best. Aside from the touchception, Wilson only made one big play through the air all night, a 41 yard touchdown strike to Golden Tate. Wilson showed good arm strength on the throw, but it was really just a long pitch and catch aided by a blown coverage. It doesn’t make up for the fact that he didn’t really do anything else notable all night. Aside from that last score, the Seahawks scored just 7 points at home last week.
While the Packers’ defense has had its fair share of issues stopping people recently, the Rams have done a great job of fixing their defense this offseason. Despite playing a fairly tough slate of offenses, Detroit, Washington, and Chicago, their defense actually ranks middle of the pack in terms of yards per play allowed. Facing their easiest test yet, they should be able to put the clamps on a mediocre Seattle offense that ranks 30th in the league in yards per play, especially since Seattle won’t have the 12th man on their side this week.
St. Louis’ offense is pretty mediocre too, but they’re actually averaging 0.5 yards per play more than the Seahawks. The Seahawks have an amazing defense though and St. Louis’ offensive line is held together with scotch tape right now, so don’t expect the Rams to move the ball much, though they do have the better quarterback. Seattle’s point per play differential is .6 yards better than St. Louis’s and an old handicapping formula says to divide to that by .15 and add 3 either way for home field advantage to determine the “real line.”
Using that, Seattle should actually be favored by just 1 points, rather than 2.5 and that doesn’t even take into account that Seattle’s home/road discrepancy over the last few years suggests that more than 3 points should be added for home field advantage in games involving them. At home, they’re outscoring opponents by 4.3 points per game and, on the road, they are getting outscored by 8.7 points per game since 2007.
This is going to be an ugly low scoring game that either side can win and St. Louis has a much better shot than people are giving them. Not only is this line off by at least a couple of points, the public is leaning pretty heavily towards Seattle. The public is getting killed this year, as they normally do, so that’s a pretty bad sign for Seattle. One other trend that works against Seattle is that teams coming off a close (1-3 points) win as home dogs are 19-31 ATS since 2002. Those teams tend to be flat after such a close and emotional upset win and that should be only magnified this week after how last week ended and what happened after it.
If we still had the replacement refs, this would have been my pick of the week because home dogs have been dominating this year under them because they tended to side with the home crowd on calls (Seattle knows that better than anyone). Home dogs were 12-7 SU and 13-6 ATS under the replacement refs, which is insane, but there’s no guarantee that will continue now that they’re gone. Still, that trend is noteworthy and I still like St. Louis to get the win and cover here for a significant play. We’re getting points with a home team that has the superior quarterback against a likely distracted team that sucks on the road in a year where home dogs are winning often.
Public lean: Seattle (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if St. Louis covers)
Sharps lean (sharps is defined as anyone with a 66.7% winning percentage or higher in Las Vegas Hilton): STL 19 SEA 1
Update: Biggest sharps lean of the week, by far. Feeling really good about St. Louis now.
St. Louis Rams 17 Seattle Seahawks 13 Upset Pick +125
Pick against spread: St. Louis +2.5 (-105) 4 units