San Francisco 49ers (9-4) at Seattle Seahawks (7-6)
A week ago on the early line, the 49ers were just 1.5-point favorites in this game in Seattle, but the line has since shifted to 3.5, a significant shift, given that 1 in 6 games are decided by three points exactly, with one in four games being decided by 1-3 points. Normally I like to go against significant week-to-week line movements as they tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play. In this case, the 49ers blew out the Buccaneers last week, while the Seahawks lost as home favorites to the Panthers.
The 49ers’ win over the Buccaneers was legitimate, but I don’t know how much stock I would put into the Seahawks’ loss to the Panthers, considering the Seahawks were likely caught looking forward to this much bigger game on a short week, with favorites covering at just a 43.3% rate all-time before Thursday Night Football. The 49ers were technically in the same spot last week, but the situations weren’t quite the same, as the Seahawks were facing a last place team before facing a divisional rival who blew them out earlier this season, while the 49ers were facing a better team and starting a third string quarterback in his first career start, a situation in which teams usually tend to be more focused, as they usually can’t afford not to be.
The Seahawks were also missing their feature back Kenneth Walker last week, whose absence led to the Seahawks getting nothing from their running game, and they were facing a Panthers team that is significantly better now with Sam Darnold and Steve Wilks as quarterback and head coach than they were with Baker Mayfield and Matt Rhule earlier in the season. Walker is back this week for the Seahawks and I would expect a much better effort from the Seahawks in a much bigger game for them, while the 49ers could have a little bit of a hangover effect from last week’s big blowout win and, as a result, are unlikely to bring their best effort again, facing a Seahawks team they’ve already beaten once this season.
With all that in mind, I like the line value we’re getting with the Seahawks as home underdogs of more than a field goal. In fact, my calculated line is still San Francisco -1, with the 49ers possessing just a 2.5-point edge in both my roster rankings and in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency. The Seahawks have a couple key questionable players on defense, safety Ryan Neal and interior defender Al Woods, who I expect to miss this game after not practicing all week, which will limit this bet, but my calculated line takes those absences into account, so the Seahawks are still bettable at +3.5 and, if Neal and/or Woods happen to play and this line stays put, I would consider increasing this bet.
San Francisco 49ers 24 Seattle Seahawks 23
Pick against the spread: Seattle +3.5