It's another big Thursday Night Football game, this time between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, two NFC West rivals.
We've got a market report on the game from South Point director Chris Andrews and best bets from Adam Burke, William Hill and Dave Tuley as Week 3 kicks off.
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5, 54.5) at Seattle Seahawks
Market report from Chris Andrews: I opened the Rams -1.5. Sharps laid -1.5, laid -2 and some are still laying -2.5. I don’t want to go all the way to the key number of 3, but I’ll probably have to. There’s only been a trickle of Seattle money so far at less than a field goal. The public likes taking TV favorites on game day. Sportsbooks will be rooting for the dog here, like usual. I’ve had action both ways on my opening total of 54.5.
Burke: The NFL schedule makers did the Rams and Seahawks dirty here. Back-to-back division games in the hard-nosed, hard-hitting NFC West and on a short week to boot. Even though these two teams get extra rest going into Week 6, I’d honestly consider fading both of them (Rams cross-country at Giants; Seahawks cross-country at Steelers).
As far as the game at hand here, I respect the sharp money on the Rams side and agree with it. Los Angeles caught no breaks last week against the Cardinals, but Arizona caught some breaks and took advantage of them. The teams were virtually even from a yards per play standpoint and the game turned on Sony Michel’s fumble early in the second quarter.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, were a wrong-side winner per the box score, as they nearly got doubled in yards by the 49ers. The injury report isn’t very encouraging for Seattle either, as DK Metcalf, who was limited going into last week’s game, is still limited on the short week. Tyler Lockett isn’t on the report, but was dinged up going into last week’s game.
The Rams’ defensive scheme didn’t work much last week against a mobile QB in Kyler Murray, but at least they don’t have to change the plan too much this week -- they’ll just have to execute it better. The Seahawks go from a run-first team to a pass-first team and do so with some edge rushers at less than 100 percent in Carlos Dunlap, Darrell Taylor and Benson Mayowa.
Between the injuries and last week’s box scores, the move up to 2.5 from respected money makes sense. As long as the Rams stay below that key number of 3, they’re worth an investment.
Pick: Rams -2.5
One thing the Cardinals did that no other team has done is neutralize Cooper Kupp. Kupp only caught five of his 13 targets in Week 4. He had caught 25 of 33 over the previous three games. The key to slowing down the Rams is to slow down Kupp. It is easier said than done, but an obvious blueprint to follow.
Somebody else has to step up for the Rams and that somebody seems to be Van Jefferson. Jefferson has as many targets as Robert Woods the last two games, but has hauled in three more passes. After getting six targets in the first two games, Jefferson has had six targets in each of the last two games.
His over/under receptions number is 3.5 this week and with a team that needs to throw to win, that looks light, especially in comparison to Woods, whose number is 5.5.
Pick: Van Jefferson Over 3.5 Receptions (-120)
Hill: These two teams obviously know each other well, playing twice a year each season, and even met for a third time last year in the wild-card round. Each team held serve on their home field during the regular season in 2020 with the Rams winning in Seattle quite convincingly in the playoffs, a game started by John Wolford and finished by Jared Goff, nonetheless.
Despite the big names and the lofty reputation, the Los Angeles defense has not played particularly well this year, and may just be a subpar unit that was propped up by former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley (who now coaches the Chargers). The Rams are fresh off of a performance last week that saw them allow 216 rushing yards and 465 total yards at home vs. the Cardinals. The Rams are allowing nearly 6 yards per play and are near the bottom of the league in several other defensive categories as well. Los Angeles’ issues on defense, Russell Wilson on the other side, along with a short travel week make this division game an obvious teaser piece through the key number of 7.
Pick: Two-team teaser: Seahawks + 8.5/ Patriots-2.5
Tuley: Thursday night brings a pretty good matchup with the Rams and Seahawks coming off losses and trying to keep up with the Cardinals (4-0) in the NFC West. We’ve written many times about home-field advantage being nearly nonexistent this season — even Seattle was 0-1 with its “12th Man” in an OT loss to the Titans — so we’re not too surprised to see the Rams as short road favorites. I lean to the home dog here, but as we’re seeing more and more, the best way to play this is starting six-point teasers heading into the weekend. This line has been creeping up from Rams -1 to -2 as of Tuesday afternoon, so I’m loving that we can tease the Seahawks to + 8. However, I’m holding out to see if we get to + 2.5 and + 8.5.
Prime candidates to tie to the Seahawks include Washington from + 2 to + 8 vs. the Saints (might be able to tease up to + 8.5), the Browns + 1.5 to + 7.5 at the Chargers, the Cowboys -7 down to -1 vs. the Giants, the Bills + 3 (or possibly + 2.5) to + 9 or + 8.5 at the Chiefs and the Ravens -7 down to -1 vs. the Colts. Note: in Point Spread Weekly we also included the Vikings teased down from -8 to -2 vs. the Lions, but most books have moved the Vikings to -9 or -9.5 in the past 24 hours to discourage such teasers.
Pick: Seahawks starting teasers to Sunday’s NFL action