Seattle has been victorious 5 straight games now, winning all of those by double digits and with homefield advantage in the NFC at stake here against the Rams, expect the hosts to win and cover the big number Sunday.
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks -11½, 41, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Sunday 21:25 (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT): CenturyLink Field in Seattle is the site of this very important NFC West divisional game between the visiting St. Louis Rams (6-9 SU, 7-8 ATS) and the host and defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks (11-4 SU, 8-6-1 ATS), who can nab the top seed in the NFC and homefield advantage in the playoffs with a win here at Home on Sunday afternoon.
Odds makers have made the Seahawks overwhelming Favorites and on Monday afternoon, Seattle ranged from 11½- (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) to 13-point (Pinnacle, William Hill) Favorites with the Total Points set at 41 in most NFL odds except for a 40½ showing at BetVictor. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s Advanced Line—out last week here in Sin City—opened Seattle up at -10, so kudos to anyone who bet the Seahawks there early as -13s and beyond could appear by this coming Sunday morning and a potentially nice middle may be in your future.
The Money Line (Winner) odds have the Seahawks as -900 Favorites with the Rams priced at +580 on the take-back (Paddy Power) while the Seahawks Team Total Points has been set at 27 with the Rams Total Team Points at 13½ (Paddy Power). A random prop wager: First Scoring Play (Ladbrokes): Seahawks TD -130; Seahawks FG +275; Rams FG +550; Rams TD +600; Seahawks Safety +6,600; Rams Safety +10,000.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams (3-7 SU L10 Road) have been hampered by injuries most of the season but in this rugged division, head coach Jeff Fisher (25-22 ATS) could have Batman, Superman and Spiderman and his Rams still wouldn’t have finished above these Seahawks or the upstart Arizona Cardinals (11-4 SU) unless Spiderman caught everything with those potentially illegal webs of his. In Week 7 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, the Rams upset Seattle 28-26 as 6½-point Underdogs, but it will be a whole different story in the Emerald City this weekend with the Seahawks and their defense now playing as good as they were at this point last season and also knowing they can clinch the oh-so precious homefield advantage for the NFC Playoffs with a victory here. So, the Rams are in the wrong place in the wrong time but could really do the Green Bay Packers (11-4) a solid with the massive upset here as a Packers win over the Lions at Lambeau (Packers -7½, Bwin) combined with a Seahawks loss would give the Cheeseheads the homefield edge in the NFC.
Shaun Hill (119 completions, 1,414 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs) is closing out the season at QB for the hobbled Rams who rank 24th in the NFL in Passing (213.1 ypg) and 19th in Rushing (106.2 ypg). RB Tre Mason (168 rushes, 737 yards, 4 TDs) has had an above average season for St. Louis on the ground while WR Kenny Britt (44 receptions, 710 yards, 3 TDs) looks like he could be be a solid receiver with the right QB—Rams starter Sam Bradford missed the season with an knee injury—and TE Jared Cook (49 receptions, 597 yards, 3 TDs) has proven to be dependable. But this Rams organization really needs to bolster the offense next season to try make it easier on the defense which has done an admirable job this season (19th vs. the Pass, 14th vs. the Rush). But it won’t be easy in the NFC West in the foreseeable future with the Seahawks, Cardinals and San 49ers all wanting to each get theirs and all three on the St. Louis schedule twice each season. So, it’s no fun being the Rams QB with defensive-minded Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco always your opponent for 6 of your 16 (32%) regular season games.
Rams CBs EJ Gaines (head) and Marcus Roberson (ankle) were both listed as Day-to-Day early in the week for this last game of the season for St. Louis.
The Seattle Seahawks (23-2 SU L25 Home) have now won and almost covered 5 straight games (4-0-1 ATS), winning all 5 by double digits and an average of 16.2 ppg and allowing a total of just 33 points (3, 3, 14, 7, 6). So, if you didn’t know before, they’re back. And head coach Pete Carroll (52-32-2 ATS) deserves a lot of credit as the defending champs were 6-4 after Week 11 and looked wobbly and a loss away from being out of the picture. But since the return of MLB Bobby Wagner (turf toe) and SS Kam Chancellor (groin, ankle, hip), the Seahawks defense has been dominant and with revenge on their minds and a chance to lock in the homefield advantage in the NFC, expect the crowd and this Seattle team to be buzzing for the regular season finale. And the way this team looked on Sunday in Arizona in its 35-6 rout of the Cardinals, confidence won’t be a problem and it appears that mercurial RB Marshawn Lynch (266 rushes, 1,246 yards, 12 TDs) is again happy for the time being in Seattle and in beast-mode at the perfect time for the Seahawks.
The guy who makes it all go for Seattle is QB extraordinaire Russell Wilson (268 completions, 3,236 yards, 20 TDs) and the University of Wisconsin product has rushed for an average of 56.1 ypg, making the Seahawks the #1 Rushing team in the NFL (175.3 ypg). Wilson (112 rushes, 842 yards, 6 TDs, 7.5 ypr) has better rushing numbers than the Rams top RB (Mason) and he’s a QB of a somewhat one-dimensional offense so that speaks volumes about both his role and his productivity.
But no matter how great Wilson (17-7-1 ATS Home) plays, the Seattle defense somehow always steals the spotlight. The Seahawks rank #1 against the Pass (184.5 ypg) and #3 against the Rush (84.1 ypg), so if you’re going to beat this team, you have to sneak by them early on or midway through the regular season because it appears this team is peaking again and as good as Seattle played in those first 4 games of this 5-game winning streak, the Seahawks looked scary good on Sunday at Glendale against the Cardinals, amassing 596 Total Yards on offense and allowing just 2 FGs. Teams in the NFC who thought they might be able to find a way to Super Bowl XLIX on February 1 now have deal with the sobering reality that to do so, they will probably have to try to go through this Seattle team which doesn’t seem to miss WR Percy Harvin very much.
On the injury front for the Seahawks, C Max Unger (ankle), T Russell Okung (lung), DE Demarcus Dobbs (ankle), TE Tony Moeaki (shoulder) and WR Jermaine Kearse (hamstring) were all listed as Day-to-Day on Monday.
Best Betting Approaches and Trends
As mentioned, Seattle is 4-0-1 ATS in those L5 games it dominated, only pushing to the 49ers as 10-point Favorites in a 24-14 win two weeks ago in Seattle in Week 15. The Seahawks are an impressive 16-3 SU L19 and 10-5 ATS L15 against St. Louis but Seattle is just 1-4 ATS in its L5 against the Rams and the last meeting between the two teams on October 19 shows how pumped up this feisty St. Louis team gets for their divisional rival, although Seattle is 5-0 L5 meetings against them here at CenturyLink Field.
In terms of the Total and recent relevant trends in this series, the Under is 4-1 in the Seahawks L5 overall and 8-4 in the L12 here at Home. The Under is also 4-1 in the L5 in this series and also 4-1 in the L5 between these two teams here in Seattle. The Under is also 7-3 L10 Rams games on the Road. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.
With so much at stake for the Seahawks and the team playing so good, it’s impossible to recommend anything but continuing to ride the horse in the direction he’s going, so make Seattle your NFL pick. Seattle is 6-1 ATS L7 vs. the Rams here at Home, and adding in the that reality the Seahawks were embarrassed in the Gateway City earlier this season will only fuel the team’s fire. Betting the Under in the Rams Total Team Points is at 13½ (Paddy Power) may be a good idea here although be careful as St. Louis has absolutely nothing to lose and Rams QB Hill will still try to test the hosts talented DBs. In the end, Seattle should find a way to top the 30-point mark at Home for the loyal and maybe league-best fans while holding the Rams to between 9-16 (points), so laying the lumber in the Pacific Northwest in Week 17 only seems appropriate.
Also, the Seahawks First Half may be worth consideration and if you plan on betting Seattle, do so early as this line will probably only continue to rise, and as noted, is already at 13 (Monday night) at several sportsbooks offshore and in the United Kingdom (Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power).
NFL Pick: Seahawks -13 at BetOnline (Lines have moved, so keep this in mind.)