There’s not much on the line other than pride and a fresh start for the (4-9) LA Rams as they prepare to take on the (8-4-1) Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in the penultimate Thursday night game of the 2016-17 NFL season (8.25pm ET on NBC).
When it comes to this preview’s betting predictions and picks, the game still provides interesting betting opportunities for bettors.
Both teams are coming off of disappointing week 14 losses as Seattle were defeated by a red hot Green Bay Packers team by a score of 38-10 and the Rams were booed out of their home stadium after dropping their matchup against the Atlanta Falcons by a 42-14 score. In addition to the loss, LA would fire their head coach Jeff Fisher on Monday, meaning Thursday night’s game will be the first of the John Fassel era, who takes over the head coaching responsibilities after previously working as the special teams coordinator.
The Seahawks have something a little more important to play for and that being one of two first round byes. The first seems likely to go to the Dallas Cowboys, who at 11-2 have the best record in the NFL but the other is up for grabs and right now, it’s too close to call. The New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Falcons and Seahawks are all bunched so closely together, just one game separating what would be the NFC’s second seed and it’s fourth. Considering the Giants and Lions play each other this week, a win against the Rams would go a long way to help Seattle.
This is a battle of the NFC West, a division the Seahawks have firmly in hand. Divisional games always offer a little bit more toughness, even if the opponent is playing its first game with a new head coach and is doing it at one of the toughest stadiums in the NFL and on a short week.
Can LA Right the Ship under Fassel?
The Rams have lost four straight games and the offense has looked anemic during this stretch and for the better part of this season. Running back Todd Gurley (pictured), who has struggled to repeat his productive career year last season, even came under fire for comparing the offensive unit to a middle-school outfit. Gurley directed his comments to the whole team, including himself as he is only averaging 3.3 yards per game this year and has yet to record a game of 100 yards, something he did five times in 2015.
Gurley and the running game aren’t the only ones at fault for LA’s scoring woes as rookie quarterback Jared Goff is certainly having a tough first year. The 22-year-old out of California has only started four games this season, all losses, and has really been a non-factor offensively. He has four touchdowns to five interceptions and just 744 yards. He averages just 5.47 yards per pass and has a QBR of just 25.7 on the season. In his last two games, Goff has four interceptions to just one touchdown and his QBR is below 11 in both of those contests.
Fassel is going to have a tough task turning this offense around and it’s not exactly the week for it to happen against a defense as staunch in both the run and pass as the Seahawks. Seattle is the ninth best passing defense and 13th best rushing defense in the league. They rank third in the NFL in points allowed per game with just 17.8 whereas the Rams are dead last averaging just 14.9 points per game. Not to mention, the Seahawks have caused 16 turnovers this year, which is among the best in the NFL and the Rams have committed 24, which is among the worst. So, needless to say, LA isn’t exactly walking into a formula for success in this one.
Can Russell Wilson Rebound from Last Week’s Poor Performance?
With the Packers and Seahawks having become somewhat of a rivalry in recent years, it’s worth noting that Russell Wilson has been really good against Green Bay. However, his most recent game against the Packers was not only the worst of his season but also one of the worst of his career.
Wilson was intercepted five times against Green Bay and struggled mightily with poor throws in the blowout loss. Seattle will make the playoffs as they are the only team in their division with a winning record, but Wilson knows he’ll have to play better if the team hopes to make yet another deep run. This all starts here against the Rams, another team that Wilson ordinarily puts up stellar numbers when facing.
Beyond Wilson and his uncharacteristic struggles this year lies a Seattle running game that is finally clicking the way the Seahawks had hoped. Leading the attack is Thomas Rawls, who is finally back healthy and who is helping the team average over 120 yards and five yards a carry in each of the past four games. Additionally, Rawls has 173 total yards over the last two weeks, a number he’ll look to add to on Thursday against the Rams. LA is allowing over 110 yards per game on average to their opponents on the ground and is one of three teams this season to have allowed over ten 20-plus yards runs.
With Wilson not at his best, Seattle certainly can use the production Rawls provides.
Our Preview’s LA Rams at Seattle Seahawks Betting Predictions & Picks
As far as the straight up winner, this one is a no-brainer. As for my betting predictions, picking the spread is a little more difficult. That’s because the Seahawks are favored to win by 15 points with the USA betting firms. That’s one of the largest spreads we’ve seen all season but as I mentioned at the beginning of this preview, LA is playing on a short week, with a new coach and in a tough road stadium. The odds are not in their favor, but 15 points is a pretty lofty mark to ask the Seahawks to cover. So here are this preview’s picks:
- Take the Rams to best the spread in the straight up loss. Bet on the Los Angeles Rams +15pts @ -105 with either Bovada or BetOnline. It is -110 for the same spread with 5Dimes.
- As for the total points to be scored, it is just 38.5, but take the under @ -105 with Bovada. It is -115 with BetOnline, while 5Dimes have their mark at 38pts. I am hoping the Rams do manage to keep this within a two score game.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.