Monday Night Football Picks: Seahawks vs. Rams

Jason Lake

Thursday, October 24, 2013 7:04 PM GMT

No, the St. Louis Rams didn’t sign Tim Tebow. But they will have a college football hero under center when they face the Seattle Seahawks, and the NFL betting lines are in Seattle’s corner.


Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to October 21 inclusive:

19-17-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

4-5 Totals

Would you let your kid play quarterback? There are worse jobs out there, but this particular job requires a really good health plan. QBs are falling left, right and center in today’s NFL; we’ve just learned that Minnesota Vikings QB Josh Freeman has concussion-like symptoms after Monday night’s beating at the hands of the New York Giants, which throws a monkey wrench into my Packers-Vikes preview. Phooey.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Rams have lost QB Sam Bradford (torn left ACL) for the rest of the season, leaving them without one of their few positives for the next episode of Monday Night Football. And wouldn’t you know it, Monday’s matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) is against the Seattle Seahawks, who lead the entire NFC at 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS. Good luck with that.

The Only Place I Get Hurt Is Out There

Despite Bradford’s injury, the NFL betting lines are up for this contest at most online sportsbooks, and the Seahawks are listed as 10.5-point road faves with about two-thirds of bettors picking Seattle. However, check out our expanded consensus numbers; at press time, the Rams (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS) have a slight edge in raw dollars. This is because the average bet size on St. Louis is $87, compared to $40 for the ‘Hawks.

Very interesting. Sharps tend to prefer double-digit dogs, particularly at home, where they’re 47-30-2 ATS since 1998. And the Seahawks are more vulnerable away from The Clink, although you wouldn’t know it this year at 3-1 SU and ATS, their only loss coming at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5. Still, St. Louis has the properties of a solid football bet this week. Except for that quarterback thing.

Telegram Sam

Bradford’s been under the microscope ever since he was picked first overall in 2010. He was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, but his sophomore season was a dud, and Bradford’s reputation has yet to recover. There’s a lot of haters out there in NFL betting public. And they don’t seem to care for advanced statistics, like Bradford’s passing DYAR numbers from Football Outsiders:

2010: minus-178 (No. 39 overall)

2011: minus-329 (No. 43)

2012: plus-388 (No. 16)

2013: plus-359 (No. 8) 

Looks like the numbers of a quality player who’s following the typical learning curve for a quarterback. Even if you throw in Bradford’s minus-28 rushing DYAR, he comes out only marginally behind Wilson’s 359 Total DYAR (283 passing, 76 rushing) through Week 7. You can’t just ignore Bradford’s absence this Monday.

The Bells of St. Clemens

So now we have to take Kellen Clemens into consideration. Looking at Chad Millman’s latest PSVAR ratings (Point Spread Value Above Replacement), he’s got Bradford listed at plus-4 over Clemens. But that’s the same four points Millman was giving Bradford before the season started. How about making it 5.5 points, which is Wilson’s comparative worth over Seattle back-up Tarvaris Jackson?

Even that might be not enough points. Clemens was very good in college as part of the Oregon Ducks program (during the Mike Bellotti Era), and was drafted in the second round by the New York Jets in 2006. He then made eight largely forgettable starts for the Jets in 2007 with a 60.9 passer rating and minus-200 passing DYAR (No. 41 overall). Clemens also started the last three games for the Rams in 2011, showing some improvement (73.8 passer rating, minus-6 passing DYAR), but St. Louis lost all three games at 1-1-1 ATS.

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I just can’t pick the Rams in this situation. They’re No. 26 in overall efficiency through Week 7, and that was with Bradford at the helm. Seattle’s at No. 2 overall with the top-ranked defense. For my NFL picks, I’ll take my chances with the prolate spheroid and the chalk.

NFL Pick: Take the Seahawks –11.5 (+105) Will Hill