Our NFL handicapper breaks down the Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams game and identifies where the value play is, considering that this could be a tight one!
The defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks visit the St. Louis Rams in Week 1 NFL action on Sunday morning, as the Seahawks try to get the awful taste out of their mouth from the last time they played a football game that mattered. And although the Rams did beat them at home last year, it’s important to remember that the Seahawks are 17-3 against them in the last decade. This would partially explain why the Hawks are favored on the road, and the line has risen from 3 points to 4.5 at some sportsbooks such as Bovada. Most Rams vs. Seahawks games have been low scoring affairs as the Rams defense has been a strong suit in the last few years, to compliment the Seattle defensive dominance of recent years. The under has been 8-2 over these teams last five meetings. Another reason for that under record is the Seahawks’ pattern of starting sluggishly in 10 AM PST games on the road. But being that this is the first game of the season, the Hawks should be rested and I don’t see that being a problem in this game.
Both of these teams have issues with consistent offensive line play, which should be a serious factor in this game. As I look at that problem, I am really focused on which team has the ability to deal with the deficit best. In this case, it is the Seattle Seahawks in spades. Is there any running back in the league that succeeds after contact better than Marshawn Lynch? Actually, statistically, there is not. The Rams might have that though by Week 4 when rookie Todd Gurley comes back from ACL injury. Russell Wilson is a mobile quarterback and can evade would be tacklers that get through the O-Line, Nick Foles? Eh, maybe not. Bottom line is the Seahawks are built to deal with poor offensive line play and the Rams are not.
Kam Chancellor being out really won’t matter much in this game. The passing game will be won or lost on the outside and the matchup that could be interesting, if they can get it, is Rams WR Tavon Austin against newly signed CB Cary Williams of the Seahawks. The corner on the opposite side of Richard Sherman usually gets picked on and this is a huge question mark coming into the season for the Seahawks. All indications are that Seahawks SS Earl Thomas is 100% and ready to go for this game after coming off of his shoulder injury so the deep parts of the field will be covered.
SBR’s own Megan Rochester pointed out that Super Bowl losers are 2-13 ATS in Week 1 following their loss. Let’s just pile on and add that the Seahawks are 2-4 ATS against the Rams in St. Louis. However, I’d like to point out that four of those recent spreads against St. Louis have been 11 points or higher, and the margin of victory in the last ten games for the Seahawks versus the Rams has been 6.3 points. It’s been a dominant stretch for the Seahawks against St. Louis since they joined the NFC West.
Although this game has a chance to go down to the wire, I think the Seahawks are being a little disrespected here with this line. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some home underdog action, but I think that loss in the Super Bowl will get the chip back on the Seahawks’ shoulder this season. So, as a whole I like the Hawks in this one if you buy it down to 3 points on the NFL odds board at Heritage. However, I’m here to present some value, and that is the first half total line, which currently sits at 20.5. With the strong under record, Pete Carroll’s penchant to defer, and recent history of first half scores between these teams, the under of 20.5 in the first half looks like a no brainer. Take that as your play in this game and Week 1 NFL pick.
NFL Pick: Under 20.5 in the First Half