San Francisco 49ers (7-6) at Seattle Seahawks (9-4)
This line moved from Seattle being favored by 6.5 last week to them now being favored by 10. I normally hate going with huge line movements, especially doing so also means siding with the public, because significant line movements tend to be overreactions and traps for the public who go with them. However, in this case, the line movement might be appropriate. The 49ers lost to the Raiders last week and not in a fluky fashion. They lost by 11 and they lost the chain battle as well, moving them at a 67.86% rate, as opposed to 75.86% for Oakland. The Raiders looked like the ones favored by 8 in that one, not the other way around. Sure, they were probably caught looking forward to this contest, but that’s still an inexcusable performance.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, won by 10 in Philadelphia in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score. The Eagles got a touchdown basically handed to them off a fluky blocked punt and the Seahawks won the chain battle, moving them at a 75.61% rate, as opposed to a pathetic 52.38% rate for Philadelphia. That moved the Seahawks into 4th on the season in rate of moving the chains differential, moving them at a 75.19% rate, as opposed to 70.44% for their opponents, a differential of 4.74%. The 49ers, meanwhile, rank 17th now, moving them at a 70.73% rate, as opposed to 70.97% for their opponents, a differential of 0.24%. Even with the huge line movement, this line is still very appropriate at 10 in favor of Seattle.
Rate of moving the chains differential has this line at about 8, but that’s before you take into account Seattle’s fantastic homefield advantage. Since 2007, the Seahawks are 46-20 at home, including playoffs and they aren’t just having success straight up as they are 44-21-1 ATS. They outscore opponents on average by 7.80 points per game at home. This is opposed to a 26-42 record away from home (30-37-1 ATS), getting outscored by 3.26 points per game. Given that, we might actually still be getting line value with the Seahawks at 10. In 3 trips to Seattle in the Russell Wilson era, the 49ers have lost by margins of 29, 26, and 6 and that was when they were better than they are now.
The Seahawks are also in a great spot as they were projected to be 6.5 road favorites next week in Arizona and that was before the Stanton injury. Teams are 89-63 ATS since 2012 before being 3+ road favorites, 57-36 ATS before being 4+ road favorites, 23-8 ATS before being 7+ road favorites. That’s a little misleading because a game like that coming up usually means that a team has no upcoming distractions. While that line might be appropriate for the Seahawks trip to Arizona, it’s still fair to suggest that the Seahawks might be a little distracted by their upcoming trip to face an Arizona team that still somehow leads the division at 11-3.
On top of the line movement and the public action being on Seattle, the 49ers have three things working for them. For one, divisional home favorites are 25-49 ATS since 2002 against a divisional opponent that they previously beat as road underdogs during that same regular season. It’s a weird trend and it’s a little complicated, but it makes sense when you think about it. In divisional matchups where the homefield advantage decides who is the favorite, generally those two teams are essentially even. Divisional opponents that are essentially even generally split the season series. That seems to happen even if the road team pulls the upset in the first matchup, as the road underdog wins about half the time (39-38) in the rematch and covers at that aforementioned 2/3rds rate. The only problem is that these two teams are clearly not even. The 49ers were only favored by 1 in the first matchup anyway. The Seahawks should have no problem sweeping this season series and could easily win this one by double digits.
The second thing the 49ers have going for them is that teams are 59-39 ATS since 1989 off of a loss as road favorites of 7 or more, including 16-2 ATS as underdogs. On top of that, the 49ers are in their 2nd straight road game. Teams are 111-76 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 94-54 ATS when it’s their 2nd straight (and not 3rd straight) road game and they next play a home game. Historically, teams cover at about a 65% rate in that situation. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 182-195 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.32 points per game, as opposed to 269-385 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.28 points per game. I still like the Seahawks, but it’s hard to be that confident in them.
Seattle Seahawks 24 San Francisco 49ers 10
Pick against spread: Seattle -10