Chargers-Seahawks Betting Preview: How to Play Two Explosive Offenses

Chargers-Seahawks Betting Preview: How to Play Two Explosive Offenses article feature image
Credit:

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Russell Wilson

Betting odds: Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle Seahawks

  • Spread: Seahawks -1
  • Over/Under: 48
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets


Betting market: The market is split on this game. Spread bets are split almost 50-50, while moneyline bets are 54-46.

Earlier in the week, the Seahawks had moved from -2 to -1.5 at Pinnacle and from -1.5 to -2. Finally on Thursday night, there was some agreement among the major books as Seattle moved to -1. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Seahawks are on a roll: They’ve won four of their past five games and gone 4-2-1 against the spread, covering by 7.3 points per game.

Since 2003, it has been profitable to fade teams that are covering the spread  by five or more points per game after the first four games of the season. John Ewing

The Seahawks are allowing 18.7 points per game, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. After finishing 13th in points allowed per game last season, they’re back inside the top five, which is where they were for five full seasons (2012-16).

Meanwhile, Philip Rivers has led the Chargers to four straight wins, scoring 20 or more points in each game. Rivers is 23-12 ATS (65.7%) against a defense allowing fewer than 20 points per game in November or later (including playoffs), covering the spread by 4.3 points per game.

Rivers has profited bettors 10.7 units over that span, making him the most profitable QB in the league in that spot, just ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.

When Rivers starts on the road in this spot, he’s 15-4 ATS, covering the spread by 6.8 units. Evan Abrams

One of the biggest reasons behind Seattle’s defensive resurgence has been its ability to cause turnovers.

The Seahawks have 16 takeaways, tied for the third entering Week 9, and their +10 turnover differential ranks second behind just the Browns. (Yeah, I know.)

The Seahawks have won the turnover battle in five consecutive games. Over the past five seasons, 18 teams have won the turnover battle in five consecutive games. Those teams are only 6-12 ATS (and 6-11-1 against the first-half spread) in their next game.Abrams

Did you know? Russell Wilson is 12-0 against the AFC at home, although his team has been favored in all but one of those games (vs. the Patriots in 2012).

Overall, Wilson is the fourth-most profitable home quarterback ATS since 2003 (the start of our Bet Labs database). Stuckey

Biggest mismatch: Seahawks’ rushing offense vs. Chargers’ rushing defense

The Seahawks are as dedicated to the run as any team in the NFL, averaging a league-high 31.7 rush attempts per game.

And after an 0-2 start, the Seahawks have been even more dedicated to the ground attack, as Pete Carroll & Co. have clearly found an identity. They’ve averaged nearly 37 carries per game over their past five, going 4-1 with the only loss coming against the undefeated Rams in a game the Seahawks easily could have won.

To put that recent average into perspective, no team in the NFL has averaged more than 35 carries per game in the past five seasons.

The Seahawks are averaging only 4.2 yards per carry, but they’re controlling the game. The offensive line ranks in the top seven in Football Outsiders’ Power Success Rate, which means the Seahawks are also getting those short-yardage gains when needed.

Right tackle Germain Ifedi’s development has really helped the production of the O-line. Plus, running back Chris Carson ranks fourth in yards per attempt after contact, per Pro Football Focus.

Chris-Carson
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Seahawks running back Chris Carson.

Running the ball that much should be fruitful against a Chargers defense that doesn’t excel against the run (21st in DVOA run defense). Los Angeles’ defensive line ranks 23rd in Power Success Rate, which means that Seattle should be able to efficiently keep the chains moving.

The dedication to the run has also helped boost the efficiency of the Seahawks’ passing offense. The receiving corps looks a lot better than most had anticipated (including me) with the development of David Moore. When the Seahawks do pass, left tackle Duane Brown can contain Chargers pass-rusher Melvin Ingram.

Unless Joey Bosa is magically 100% and suits up (doubtful), the Chargers will really miss him on that side of the line, where the Seahawks excel at running the ball but are vulnerable to the pass rush. Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Chargers

Bosa (foot) is making progress, but he’s still not expected to suit up on Sunday. Melvin Gordon’s (hamstring) status remains unclear, too, though the Chargers’ featured back is at least practicing in a limited fashion.

The Seahawks have made a bad habit of jamming their early-week injury report with plenty of players who aren’t at risk of missing game time. Still, the statuses for safety Bradley McDougald (shoulder), cornerback Neiko Thorpe (groin) defensive end Dion Jordan (knee) and linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) will be worth monitoring.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

Seahawks defense: The Seahawks lost a lot of their defensive talent, which had everyone writing them off. Yet here they are in November with the second-ranked defense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA — third against the pass and sixth against the run.

It starts in the middle of the field with Bobby Wagner — one of the best linebackers in the game who is playing at a career-best level — along with Wright and Barkevious Mingo, who take away everything underneath in the passing game.

The biggest surprise has been the emergence of safeties Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson, who have played at an elite level and have managed to make the loss of Earl Thomas feel meaningless (for now).

The continued development of their corners has also helped, but the middle of this defense carries the torch.

Philip-Rivers
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

With Gordon (hamstring) potentially banged up, the Seahawks pass defense (fourth in the league in yards allowed per game) has the personnel to contain Rivers through the air.

Metrics that matter: Remember when the Browns were on a historically bad special teams pace? Well, the Chargers now rank 32nd overall in special teams DVOA.

Their kicking situation is in flux and their punting has been absolutely dreadful. They also have the second-worst kick-return unit and third-worst punt-return coverage. Stuckey

DFS edge: Since Week 3, Carson is averaging 23.8 touches per game, which trails only Todd Gurley over that span. On deck is a Chargers’ run defense that ranks 31st in Pro Football Focus’ run-defense grades.

Carson is a better play on FanDuel given its half-point PPR scoring compared to full PPR on DraftKings. He’s $6,500 on FD with an 18.1-point Projected Ceiling. — Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Over 48

The Chargers have quietly been one of the NFL’s best — and most-balanced — offenses, ranking second in passing, ninth in rushing and third overall, according to DVOA.

This total is lower than I expected after looking at explosive-play metrics on both sides of the ball. While Seattle ranks as DVOA’s No. 2 overall defense, it struggles to limit explosive plays (20-plus yards) through the air, especially in comparison to how frequently Rivers & Co. produce such gains.

One of Seattle’s biggest weaknesses is its offensive line (particularly in pass protection), but Wilson should actually have some rare time to throw against a Chargers defense that will likely again be without Bosa and currently ranks 28th in adjusted sack rate.

The weather forecast doesn’t raise any wind-related red flags that would keep me away from this total. I’d happily bet this over at anything below 50. Scott Miller


Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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