Seattle Seahawks (0-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-0)
To start the season, this week has 8 games that feature road favorites (and no game that features a line higher than a touchdown). Almost every single one of those 8 road favorites is heavily backed by the public. I hate making big plays on road favorites that are heavily backed by the public. Those always scream “trap game” to me. Whenever the public is heavily on a road favorite it’s usually for the wrong reason. That reason is that the lines can seem to be too low because homefield advantage is underestimated, as most people don’t understand that home vs. away is worth about 6 points on average.
Unfortunately, a lot of those road favorites are small road favorites over teams that they’re clearer better, so it’s so tempting to take all of the road favorites. I’m not afraid to do take a road favorite; in fact, my pick of the week is Miami -3.5 in Washington, but that’s fine because Miami is underrated and that’s just too low of a line. Teams like Indianapolis (projected for 12 wins) would seem to be an easy choice as mere 3 point favorites on the road over Buffalo (projected for 6 wins). The same is true with Carolina (8 wins) as 3.5 point favorites over Jacksonville (3 wins), Minnesota (9 wins) as 2.5 point favorites over San Francisco (4 wins), Philadelphia (10 wins) as 3 point favorites over Atlanta (5 wins), and Cincinnati (9 wins) as 3 point favorites over Oakland (3 wins).
I don’t want to pick all of the road favorites though and I’m taking St. Louis (6 wins) as 4 point home underdogs to cover against Seattle (13 wins) here 4 reasons. For one, the line is 4, so it’s easier for the Rams to cover without winning. Two, Super Bowl losers tend to struggle week 1 of the following season, going 5-16 ATS in that spot in the past 21 instances. Three, the Seahawks will be without Kam Chancellor with a holdout for at least the start of the season. Four, Seattle hasn’t been the same team away from Seattle over the past few years, going 48-21 (outscoring opponents by an average of 7.84 points per game) at home since 2007, as opposed to 26-42 (getting outscored by an average of 3.35 points per game) on the road. None of these are minor reasons, but I like the Rams here for a no confidence pick. Seattle is a much better team on paper, but, if I have to take a side, I’m going with the Rams.
Seattle Seahawks 16 St. Louis Rams 13
Pick against the spread: St. Louis +4