NFL Week 9 Lookahead Picks: Bet Seahawks, Rams-Bucs Under Right Now
Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kenneth Walker (right).
Welcome back to The Lookahead.
While everyone else is still busy betting on this weekend’s games, we’re getting out ahead of things with a pair of picks for next Sunday. It’s all about locking in that sweet closing line value (CLV) and gobbling up easy line value before this week’s results move next week’s lines.
We continue to lock in important CLV with our picks, and we’re building quite a home on Seattle Island. Two weeks ago on The Lookahead, we snagged Seahawks +7.5 early. That line dropped all the way to +4.5 and gave us a full field goal of value before coasting to easy victory against the Chargers.
Last week, we went back to the well with Seahawks -1 against the Giants. That one’s up to Seattle -3 (even -3.5 at some books), again gaining us a serious margin and crossing this year’s two most common key numbers.
Spoiler alert: this won’t be our last time visiting Seattle Island.
We’ve already got your Sunday picks covered, so let’s look ahead and get some more CLV for those Week 9 games before the weekend.
Yes — again.
Look, we’re going to keep taking the value on the Seahawks while it’s there, and it feels like this might be one last serious CLV trip to the Island.
For whatever reason, folks are taking a really long time to accept that the Seahawks are good, and I suspect “whatever reason” is named Geno Smith. It’s time to accept that Geno might just be good this year. In fact, the numbers say Geno is great.
There's a clear top 5 quarterbacks this NFL season, just like everyone expected:
Geno Smith pic.twitter.com/P6IoSBTgCY
— Brandon Anderson (@wheatonbrando) October 25, 2022
Geno is part of a clear top-five QBs tier, and he ain’t five. He leads the league in CPOE and is effectively behind only MVP favorites Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes overall. He is playing like an elite quarterback, and elite quarterbacks with good blocking, a big run game, and two electric downfield receivers typically finish near the top of the league.
Over the past month, the Seahawks have ranked top five in both passing and rushing offense. But it’s no longer just that side of the ball. Lately, it’s the defense too.
What looked like the league’s worst defense in September has gotten much better. In fact, Seattle is the only team in the NFL to rank top eight in DVOA for passing and rushing on both offense and defense.
The Seahawks are the compete package right now, and they’re still being treated like the bottom feeder many expected them to be entering the season. This team just won twice by double digits over expected playoff contenders.
One of those was against the team Seattle will face again here, and that win was comprehensive. The defense had its best game of the season, holding Arizona’s offense to a meager field goal in a 19-9 win in Week 6. The Cards turned it over six times and were sacked six times while Seattle settled for four field goals, or the margin might have been even wider.
The same metrics that tell us Geno Smith is playing like an elite QB tell us Kyler Murray is struggling, great as a scrambler but disappointing as a passer. That chart above puts Murray in the same neighborhood as Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, and Andy Dalton — not exactly the company you want your franchise quarterback to keep.
Arizona’s defense is a sieve, especially the pass defense, and the offense has been inconsistent. DeAndre Hopkins helps, but the Seahawks still have the better receiving corps, the stronger runner, a better line, a far more impressive defense, superior coaching and the better QB.
The game is in Arizona this time around, but that may not help. The Cardinals have won only one of their last nine home games in this rivalry, going 2-6-1 ATS and failing to cover by 9.2 PPG. Seattle had an elite QB for most of those games, of course, but are we sure that part has changed?
Kliff Kingsbury is 9-15 ATS (38%) as a favorite, including 1-4 in the division. Pete Carroll is 45-28-3 ATS (62%) as an underdog, 18-10 in the division. Geno is profitable as a dog too, and underdogs between three and 10 continue to smash on the season.
Honestly, why are the Seahawks underdogs? These teams literally played three weeks ago and Arizona couldn’t block, move the ball, or slow Seattle’s offense.
Both teams face one-loss opponents in Week 8. But Seattle is at home, favored to beat the Giants, while Arizona is on the road, expected to lose to the Vikings. If those results go as expected, this line will almost certainly cross at least the key number and probably further.
Seattle is still +600 to win the NFC West at Bet365, a ludicrous number for a good, balanced team that’s a full game up on the competition with a favorable schedule.
If the Seahawks keep winning every week, Seattle Island is gonna get pretty crowded. The Seahawks may not be 3.5-point underdogs against many more opponents — especially one like the Cardinals.
THE PICK: Bet Seahawks +3.5 via FanDuel QuickSlip
These teams meet for the fourth time in two years, but it sure feels like we’re in a different era.
The Rams and Bucs met in last year’s playoffs and played in both of the last two regular seasons — all three games featured fireworks. We saw 54, 58 and 51 points in those games. The Rams, of course, went on to win last year’s Super Bowl, while the Bucs did so in 2020.
This year’s teams feel like a distant cry from those squads as the cost of those Super Bowls hits home. Tampa Bay’s offense has looked old and tepid. L.A.’s is lacking weapons and a downfield threat. Neither star QB has lived up to billing, and both offensive lines are struggling with injury.
It’s been a slog, really, and both teams are only even near .500 because of terrific defensive play. Those Super Bowl defenses still look the part most of the time, and carried the inconsistent — at times, lifeless — offenses.
Bucs games are 6-1 to the under on the season, while Rams unders are 5-1. That’s 11-2 to the under combined by an average of 8.3 PPG. And though this is a relatively low total, the teams have gone under this line in 11-of-13 games (85%). Each team is averaging just over 17 PPG, and against terrific defenses that know each offense well, even that could be a steep ask.
Expect this to be a cagey affair, one where every point counts. That means an emphasis on field position and special teams, punting it deep and settling for field goals. It means lower scoring, and frankly, I think we all know it at this point.
One or both teams could lose, and it’d be a surprise to see either offense put up a big number. That should mean money coming in on the under, pushing this line down, so let’s grab it now.
Yesterday’s Super Bowl winners are not today’s elite attacks. With both offenses struggling to keep up with ailing lines and aging weapons, let’s grab the under before this line follows the money and drops.
THE PICK: Bet Under 43