Rams vs. Seahawks Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet This Thursday Night Football Spread For Week 5
Getty Imaged. Pictured: Rams QB Matthew Stafford, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
- The Rams are a short road favorite over the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 5.
- Los Angeles started 3-0 before getting shelled at home last week, while Seattle is 2-2 with a mixed bag of results on defense especially so far.
- Chris Raybon breaks down his Seahawks vs. Rams pick and betting approach to TNF.
Rams vs. Seahawks Odds
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After losing five of six prior matchups to Sean McVay’s Rams, Pete Carroll and Co. were finally able to break through for a 20-9 victory in Seattle last December.
The Seahawks’ revenge was short lived, however, as the Rams sent them packing for the season with a 30-20 win in Seattle in the Wild Card Round a couple weeks later. The win improved McVay to 6-3 straight up and 5-4 against the spread versus the Seahawks in the regular season and postseason, though the Rams have covered in four of the last five under McVay after starting 1-3 against the spread (ATS) in their first four meetings.
Will Seattle answer back as an underdog in these two teams’ first matchup of 2021?
LA Can Exploit Seattle’s Pass D
Thanks to the acquisition of quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Rams are one of the few NFL teams that can keep pace with Russell Wilson based solely on merit rather than the weaknesses of the Seahawks defense. The Rams are sixth in points per game (28.8) and second in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA (+29.4%) while the Seahawks are 10th in points per game (25.8) and third in offensive DVOA (+24.9%).
McVay should have no trouble scheming up points against a Seahawks defense that is ranked 29th in early-down pass success rate (61%) and 26th in early-down run success rate (55%), per Sharp Football Stats.
Coordinator Ken Norton’s pass defense hasn’t been able to take anything away: Seattle ranks 22nd or worse in DVOA on passes to the left (28th), middle (24th) and right (22nd), as well as passes 15 or fewer yards beyond the line of scrimmage (26th) and passes 16-plus yards downfield (31st).
The Seahawks’ single high safety looks should allow Stafford — who is second in yards per attempt on 20-plus yard passes (23.6 per PFF) — to hit shots to wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Van Jefferson, who are averaging 24.5 and 17.4 yards per reception, respectively.
The biggest issue for Seattle, though, is left cornerback.
Last week, Tre Flowers was benched for Sidney Jones, who promptly got roasted for seven catches, 170 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets in 50 coverage snaps, according to PFF. Combined, Jones and Flowers have allowed opponents to complete 21-of-25 passes in their coverage for 378 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s an 84.0% completion rate, 15.1 yards per target and 18.1 yards per reception.
It’s no wonder McVay has publicly expressed the desire to more heavily involve Robert Woods, who lines up opposite the opponent’s left corner the most.
One positive for the Seahawks’ defense is that is has been getting pressure, ranking seventh with a 28.4% pressure rate, per Pro Football Reference’s Advanced Stats. Stafford, however, is no Jared Goff. While Goff had a putrid 45.9 passer rating under pressure with four touchdowns and seven interceptions for the Rams last season, Stafford owns a sterling 120.1 rating with four touchdowns and no picks under duress for LA this season.
Seahawks Could Run On Rams
The Seahawks should be able to have success against a Rams defense that has not played up to its talent level, ranking 20th in DVOA.
The Rams like to sit back with two deep safeties and dare teams to run, so it’s no surprise they’ve been worse in run defense (22nd in DVOA) than in pass defense (17th). Some of the Rams’ struggles are due to strength of opponent — they’ve played the Bucs and Cardinals over the past two weeks, though the Rams got the pleasure of facing Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz in Weeks 1-2.
With Carroll’s defense overmatched, he and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron — a former assistant on McVay’s staff (2017-2020) — will undoubtedly want to rely on the running game. However, that could be partly compromised by the injury status of Chris Carson, who didn’t practice all week with a neck injury and is a game-time decision.
Carson has been heavily relied on against the Rams over his career, averaging 20.4 touches for 100.4 scrimmage yards per game against them. Behind Carson is journeyman Alex Collins, who did play well last week with 78 yards on 12 touches, but Carson’s would spread the Seahawks’ run game thin — especially with No. 2 back Rashaad Penny on injured reserve with a calf issue.
Rams shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey has played mostly the STAR position — a.k.a. the slot — for new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, allowing him to make more plays around the line of scrimmage. However, with Carson banged up and Seattle routinely deploying its weakest top-three wide receiver (Freddie Swain) in the slot, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ramsey be used more outside, either on D.K. Metcalf or Tyler Lockett.
The Rams have been somewhat disappointing at times in pass defense — mostly last week against Kyler Murray — but they still rank eighth in deep passing DVOA and are more well equipped than most to limit Wilson’s downfield prowess thanks to the presence of Ramsey and their two-deep scheme.
Rams vs. Seahawks Picks
I bet the Rams at +1 and like them up to -2 (-120), which you may or may not still be able to get, as most books have moved to Rams -2.5 (shop for the best line here).
I like how the Rams match up here, the fact that they are completely healthy, and that this is a great bounce-back spot for the Rams after a letdown against the Cardinals. To the latter point: According to our Action Labs data, McVay has covered 80% of the time on the road after a loss in his career.
The issue with betting the Rams at more than -2 is you don’t leave much margin for error in what should be a close game. The most likely outcome is Rams by a field goal, but Rams kicker Matt Gay has missed 6.5% of his career extra points, which is why my limit is -2.
If you can’t get the -2, consider teasing the Seahawks up from +2.5 to +8.5 — even though Seattle is slightly out-matched here, you don’t usually see Wilson lose big, and he’s 6-2 ATS in his career as a home dog.
Picks: Rams at -2 or better | Seahawks tease from +2.5 to +8.5 at +2.5 or better