The Seahawks added TE Jimmy Graham in the Offseason and the former Saints star will be making his Regular Season debut for his new team in St. Louis against the Rams in Week 1 and we serve NFL picks for this contest.
Will Head Coach Jeff Fisher and his team be able to catch the Seahawks off-guard here on NFL Kickoff Weekend? Let’s take a look and try to come up with a wise pick or two based on the Trends and how these two teams both looked this Preseason.
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams [Sunday 18:00] (FOX, Directv 711, NFL RedZone, 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT): The Seattle Seahawks (12-4, 394 PF-254 PA) head to the Midwest on Sunday afternoon to face the St. Louis Rams (6-10, 324 PF-354 PA) in an NFL Kickoff Weekend and Week 1 NFC West meeting at the Edward Jones Dome. Right now (Monday afternoon), the Seahawks are pretty much 4-point favorites in sportsbooks around the globe although the MGM Mirage here in Las Vegas is still offering the Seahawks at -3½ although that number will likely be gone by Wednesday the way the money has predominantly come in on Seattle in this game.
The Total here is pretty much 41 or 41½ everywhere although the MGM Mirage—again—has a 42 (-110) on the Betting Board so if you like the Seahawks and the Under, that’s the joint and the time is Now, brother. React. On the Money Line, favorite Seattle is priced at -195 with St. Louis at +175 on the takeback (Pinnacle) while the Seattle Seahawks Team Total is 22½ (Ladbrokes) for this game while the St. Louis Rams Team Total has been set at 18½ (Ladbrokes). First Half Total markets haven’t really opened up yet with Betway the only sportsbook offering a line at this point in time: 21½ and First Half odds for this game as well as other Props bets for this game will be released later in the week.
The Seattle Seahawks (2-2 Preseason, 80 PF-72 PA) were just a simple play call away from winning their second straight Super Bowl last season. Always remember that when thinking or saying that this team may be on the road to regression and aren’t quite as good as they were two seasons ago (Super Bowl champions), or even last season. We just don’t know that yet. The simple Truths are that Seattle (+450 to win Super Bowl, bet365) is still the oddsmakers favorites to win the Super Bowl; still possess the best overall Defense in the NFL (league-low 254 Points Allowed last season); and, the Seahawks have been doing all of this with minimal help from WRs and TEs. And now Seattle and versatile QB Russell Wilson (23-9-2 ATS at Home) have a legitimate scoring target at TE with Jimmy Graham coming to the Emerald City in a trade for C Max Unger early in the Offseason and his presence should help make WRs Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse that much better although it would be a great idea for this franchise to actually get a killer WR (or two). Can you hear me (Seahawks General Manager) John Schneider?
With the addition of Graham, Seattle QB Wilson may be able to stay in pocket more this season in an effort to prevent him from taking any potential hits to the head downfield on tackles which could further complicate his level of Concussion, even though Rushing is one of his great strengths. If a QB, or any player for that matter in the NFL takes enough nasty hits to the head, then the length of his career will obviously be shortened and a few young NFL players are simply electing to retire from the game as hits to the head—like in Boxing—are all a part of the game and they feel like any further damage might have the potential to ruin the one thing we all need working right to make it through Life—our Brains. And expect reliable and mercurial RB Marshawn Lynch (280 rushes, 1,306 yards, 13 TDs) to again carry the Rushing load for the defending NFC champion Seahawks who will have the luxury/misery of having that last-second play call against the Patriots in the Super Bowl motivating/haunting them all year.
Seattle (6-2-1 ATS L9 overall) does have a theoretical problem here on Defense with SS Kam Chancellor still holding out and threatening to do so the entire season with one Seahawk telling ESPN, “I don’t think we’re going to have him all this season.” And Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll (54-32-2 ATS) has reportedly said that Seattle has fielded Trade offers for the Pro Bowl Safety who will be losing $267,247 for every Seahawks Regular Season game he misses. According to ESPN, another teammate said “We will win without him (Chancellor), and it will hit him.” And they probably will. This is a really good professional football team with a really strong and vocal fan base who doesn’t like losing football games.
St. Louis Rams
Not willing to try to balance the team’s future on the health of QB Sam Bradford anymore, the St. Louis Rams (0-4, 48 PF-93 PA in Preseason) traded their starting QB to the Philadelphia Eagles for their starting QB Nick Foles (6-7 ATS Underdog, 3-5 ATS Underdog). So, the Nick Foles Era has officially begun in the Gateway City which may mean, like so many other teams in the NFL, the Rams may be drafting and looking for a decent starting QB over the next couple of years. Some things never change and killer QBs are hard to find in professional football. Just ask the Chicago Bears who have been searching for one since the days of Jim McMahon.
The Rams (50/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) are often tabbed as a team which looks good on paper and plays in the image of their talented young Head Coach, Jeff Fisher (25-23 ATS), but the ugly Truth here is that the Rams have to play their NFC foes—these Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers—all twice. And let’s face it, all three of those teams are better—if even just a little bit—than St. Louis is. Yes, even San Francisco and even this season with the 49ers losing so many players. Just watch, although both the Rams and Niners could finish at 6-10 or maybe 5-11 if everything goes wrong this season. QB Foles does have some decent skill position players in WRs Brian Quick, Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt and TE Jared Cook, but the Rams have some issues at RB right now with starter Tre Mason rehabbing a Hamstring injury and top Draft pick Todd Gurley (Georgia) dealing with an omnipresent Knee injury and only participating with a yellow, no-contact beanie in recent St. Louis practices so far.
So, Benny Cunningham may get the start at RB on Sunday? The often inept Rams scored a measly 48 points (12 ppg) in their four Preseason games and NFL teams with anemic Offenses usually don’t make the Playoffs and usually finish well under the .500 mark. St. Louis (Underdog 7-3 ATS L10 in this series) will probably play in lower-scoring games this season as that’s probably the only way this frustrating team may be able to stay in games. Rinse. Repeat. And then wait for the 2016/17 season.
Series Numbers, Recent Relevant Trends and Game Expectations
Little kids handicap sporting events the simple way: The Good teams always beat the Bad teams. With ego-laden adults and professional and recreational sports bettors, it seems more sophisticated with numbers and Point Spreads and all, but it often seems most NFL bettors can be put into one of two categories: Those who look at the games from and Underdog perspective and seldom bet favorites or like to lay points and those who look at the games from a Favorites perspective and try to find a way to always justify laying points and backing the Favorites. This is good for the sportsbooks. And always will be. And although the perception the General Public (sometimes called “Squares”) always wagers on the favorites and lays lumber while the Wiseguys and Professional bettors (sometimes called “Sharps”) predominantly wager on the Underdogs and would rather kiss the Wife than to lay any points in a football game, the reality is that a few gamblers and handicapper are actually like Rhombuses and like being labeled like they like getting Herpes.
Here, the little kids’ philosophy seems the best look: The Good team beats the Bad team. Easily. And the Seahawks (+140 Point Differential in 2014) are Good and the Rams (-30 PD) are sort of Bad and the one thing St. Louis will have going for them here is the site as the Seahawks will definitely have the better Offense and Defense on the gridiron Sunday. It’s really that simple. Expect the Rams to continue having trouble trying to score points in this one and Seattle to come out mad, fueled by that bad Super Bowl play call, Chancellor’s absence and memories of the 28-26 loss here last season, and to smoke the Rams (3-13 ATS L16 Week 1 games) here.
As far as the Total goes, the Trends support backing the Under here—which like most Week 1 openers has dribbled down a couple points (from perceived Sharp money)—with the Under in Seattle games 9-2 ATS L11 vs. the NFC West and Unders in St. Louis games vs. the NFC West at 7-3 ATS over the L10. The Rams (2-7 ATS L9 vs. NFC West) did win this meeting last year but that seems all the more reason to back the NFC champs at the fair price as they won’t want to be surprised in Week 1 and the Seahawks are an impressive 15-6 ATS in their L21 games on the Road and are 11-5 ATS in their L16 games against St. Louis. Seattle also had the largest Margin of Victory (+8.8 ppg) in the NFC last season and the second-best in the entire NFL, only behind (of course) the Super Bowl champion Patriots (+10.9 ppg), so disposing of the lowly Rams in Week 1—no matter how much heart they have—should be no real problem this time.
Predicted Final Score: Seahawks 27 Rams 13
NFL Picks: Seahawks -3.5, Under 42 (MGM Mirage)