49ers vs. Seahawks Odds & Picks: The Right Side of This NFC West Showdown
Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson vs. the 49ers in 2019.
49ers vs. Seahawks Odds
Two weeks ago, the 49ers appeared to be in the midst of a full-fledged Super Bowl hangover with a flurry of injuries on both sides of the ball and back-to-back home home losses to the Eagles and Dolphins.
Things change quickly in the NFL.
After a win over the Rams and a 33-6 thrashing of the Patriots, the 49ers now sit at 4-3 with a chance to throw a wrench in the NFC West standings with a victory over the Seahawks (5-1), who suffered their first loss of the season last week against the Cardinals.
Despite the loss, the Seahawks are still in the driver’s seat for this division and oddsmakers installed them as 3-point favorites with a total of 53.5 for Sunday.
Let’s find out where the edge lies in this NFC West divisional battle.
San Francisco 49ers
The strength of the 49ers offense is their running game. Despite injuries to Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, San Francisco’s running game continues to dominate, as it’s averaging 137.7 yards per game, eighth among NFL teams.
Kyle Shanahan has built a running back factory reminiscent of what his father Mike Shanahan built with the Broncos in the late 90s/early 2000s. Mike developed five 1,000-yard rushers — Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis and Reuben Droughns — with the Broncos. Now his son is certainly living up to his name.
Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty have stepped right into the 49ers rushing attack and haven’t skipped a beat. Last week against the New England Patriots, Wilson rushed for 112 yards on 17 carries and Hasty had nine carries for 57 yards. Wilson is out with an ankle injury, however, and the 49ers will have to figure out another way to attack this Seahawks defense as they’re ninth in defensive run efficiency.
Against a struggling Seahawks secondary, this means Jimmy Garoppolo will have to step up. Unfortunately, he’ll have to do it without the services of wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who suffered a hamstring injury in last week’s win over the Patriots.
Although George Kittle may be among the best tight ends in the league, the 49ers don’t have true outside receivers. Brandon Aiyuk is a solid weapon but more of an an all-purpose weapon than a true No. 1 wide receiver. Much of the 49ers’ offensive success depends on Shanahan scheming guys open, and Garoppolo is at the bottom of the league intended air yards (6.2), ranking 31st among all quarterbacks.
Despite a flurry of injuries on defense, losing Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams and Kwon Alexander, the 49ers are still eighth in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA. However they’ve played the fourth-easiest schedule of opponent offenses and the second-easiest schedule of opponent passing offenses.
It’s worth nothing that the 49ers have played four of the league’s seven worst passing offenses in the Jets, Patriots, Giants and Eagles, and the Niners actually lost their game to the Eagles at home. Ryan Fitzpatrick also threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns with a 154.5 quarterback rating against this unit which makes it clear: The 49ers will have their work cut out for them against Russell Wilson, D.K Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
For the Seahawks, everything starts and ends with Wilson.
To make up for the rest of Seattle’s deficiencies, Wilson has to play perfect football for this team to win. For the most part, he’s more than lived up to his end of the bargain, leading the Seahawks with an MVP-caliber season. He’s first in touchdown passes (22) and quarterback rating (119.5) while throwing for 315 yards per game.
Given his stellar play, the Seahawks are first in points (33.8 ppg), yards per game (425.2), yards per play (6.6), early down success rate, total success rate and red-zone touchdown percentage, converting on 85.7% of trips inside of their opponent’s 20 yard line. They’re also second in offensive DVOA and eighth in explosive play rate.
Metcalf and Lockett are both on their way to 1000+ yard seasons, as Metcalf has caught 24 passes for 519 yards and Lockett has 45 receptions for 542 yards.
Wilson was well on his way to another legendary game against the Arizona Cardinals before throwing three interceptions, doubling his entire total for the season, with two inside the red zone and one effectively giving the game to the Cardinals in overtime. If there’s any consolation, it’s that Wilson is 31-8 straight up following a loss. His .795 win percentage after a loss is the best win percentage for any quarterback in the last 50 years since the NFL and AFL merger.
Seattle’s injury report is troublesome. On offense, running back Carlos Hyde (hamstring) and guard Mike Lupati (back) are doubtful.
The real issues are on defense, a unit that was already trending toward being one of the worst in the league. The Seahawks are 28th in defensive DVOA and have no pass rush, as they are 25th in pressure rate (19.7%). This is a beat-up secondary as cornerback Shaquill Griffin is out (concussion/hamstring), safety Ugo Amadi is doubtful and both strong safeties in Jamal Adams and backup Ryan Neal are questionable.
Although the Seahawks traded for Carlos Dunlap, who is top 20 in pressure rate, he won’t be available this weekend. If there are any positives for this defense, they’re ninth in defensive run efficiency.
Against a 49ers offense that relies on the run, Garoppolo will have to beat them.
The 2020 season has been the year of the offenses as some of the best teams have struggled on the the defensive side of the ball. The Seahawks are 5-1, the Packers are 5-1, the Saints are 4-2, the Titans are 5-1 and the Browns and Bills are 5-2. All of these teams rank towards the bottom or middle in most defensive metrics. If you have a top-tier offense, you can overcome a bad defense this season.
All things considered, it took a series of blunders for Seattle to lose last week’s game against the Cardinals — Two uncharacteristic red-zone interceptions from Wilson coupled with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Benson Mayowa with 3:02 left to play, which nullified a Cardinals field goal, giving them a first down and an opportunity to score a touchdown to bring the game within three points. On the following possession, the Seahawks were within one yard on a Hyde rush from obtaining a first down and clinching the game.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are coming off a 27-point road win over the Patriots. This team was catching 2.5 points against New England on the road last week and oddsmakers opened them as 3.5-point dogs on the road against Seattle this week. Are the Seahawks just one point better than the Patriots?
Buying in on San Francisco right now means you’re buying in on the 49ers’ stock at the highest point. Fading teams who win by 27 or more points has a 197-171-14 record and has been quite profitable according to our BetLabs database.
The 49ers have no hopes of stopping the Seahawks on offense, but can they maintain enough offense of their own? I don’t see it.
There’s been sharp money on both sides of this game with some professionals taking the 49ers at +3.5 and others taking the Seahawks at -3. I think the latter is the correct side. I’ll lay the points.
PICK: Seahawks -3