St. Louis Rams (6-8) at Seattle Seahawks (9-5)
The Seahawks’ home dominance is well documented. Since 2007, they are 55-23 at home (outscoring opponents by an average of 7.88 points per game), as opposed to 31-45 on the road (getting outscored by an average of 1.72 points per game). However, their home dominance might be too well documented, to the point where it gets priced into the line. After going 15-5 ATS in their first 20 home games in the Russell Wilson era (since 2012), the Seahawks are just 9-7 ATS at home since.
I don’t think that’s the case here though, as the Seahawks are “only” favored by 13 points, when I think they could be favored by more, given how well they play at home and that the Rams rank 30th in rate of moving the chains differential. The Seahawks, meanwhile, rank 4th in rate of moving the chains differential and are on an absolute tear in recent weeks, as is typically the case with this team in the 2nd half of the regular season. They are 26-6 ATS in the last 8 games of the regular season since 2011, the start of the Pete Carroll era.
All of this being said, I can’t be confident in the Seahawks for two reasons. The first is how banged up they are. They lost talented rookie running back Thomas Rawls for the season two weeks ago and starting running back Marshawn Lynch is not ready to return yet. On top of that, offensive tackle Russell Okung, safety Kam Chancellor, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin are all gametime decisions and, with the team pretty much locked into the #5 seed and an easy opponent, the Seahawks may opt to hold them out or limit their playing time, to avoid long-term injuries with the playoffs around the corner.
The second is that the Seahawks are in a bad spot. While this is essentially the Rams’ Super Bowl, the Seahawks have a much more important game on deck, a trip to Arizona that is going to be a big barometer for them as they head into the post-season. The Rams, meanwhile, go to San Francisco, where they are expected to be 2.5 point road favorites against the awful 49ers, according to the early line. Double digit underdogs are 55-32 ATS since 2002 before being favorites and, on the other side, double digit favorites are 54-72 ATS before being underdogs, over that same time period. Combining the two, double digit favorites are 11-29 ATS since 1989 before being underdogs when their opponent will next be favorites. The Seahawks are actually 2.5 point favorites in Arizona on the early line for whatever reason, but that could change between now and then and the logic holds either way. Seattle is still my pick, but it’s a no confidence pick.
Seattle Seahawks 20 St. Louis Rams 6
Pick against the spread: Seattle -13