Los Angeles at Seattle Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,December 14, 2016 9:04, EDT in

The Rams hired Coach Jeff Fisher in 2012 and didn’t have a single winning season under him, so it was frankly past time that the time fired him — which it did on Monday. Although this was odd timing because L.A. is on a short week as it visits Seattle on Thursday night as one of the biggest NFL betting underdogs of the season.

Los Angeles at Seattle Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Thursday, Dec. 15, 8:30 PM ET
Where: CenturyLink Field, Chicago
TV: NBC
RadioLos Angeles / Seattle
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Seattle -15.5 (39)

Why Bet on Los Angeles?

The Rams can’t be any worse under interim coach John Fassel, the special teams coordinator. The Rams were blown out for a third straight Sunday in Week 14, this time by a 42-14 score against an Atlanta team that was without its top two receivers. The Rams have fallen to 4-9, following three wins in their first four games with eight losses over a span of nine. They have not won a game at home since Sept. 18 and have guaranteed themselves a losing season for the 10th straight time. It was Fisher’s 165th career loss, tying Dan Reeves for an NFL record.

L.A.’s 3-1 start showed promise, even though the team had been outscored in that span. Since then, the Rams have allowed nearly 11 more points per game than they’ve scored. In Fisher’s four-plus seasons with St. Louis/L.A., only three other teams had a lower win percentage, while only two other teams scored fewer points.

The Rams rank last in points per game (14.9), yards per game (286.2), yards per play (4.7), first downs per game (16.2) and Total QBR (38.9) this season. It’s the second straight season the Rams rank last in offensive efficiency. In half of the Rams’ four wins, they failed to score a touchdown, making them the first team since the 2002 Bucs to win multiple games in a season without a touchdown. Over the past three weeks, the defense has also struggled, allowing 39 points per game.

Fassel, who has not shot at the full-time job, excelled in one regard. His punter, Johnny Hekker leads the league in net punting average (46.1) and percentage of punts inside the 20 (59.5%). The Rams will wear blue & white on their helmets this Thursday night. It will be the first time since the “Fearsome Foursome” wore them in the 1960s.

Why Bet on Seattle?

With three games remaining in the 2016 NFL regular season, the Seahawks (8-4- 1) have two ways to clinch a postseason berth for the fifth-straight season in Week 15: The Seahawks defeat or tie the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night or the Arizona Cardinals lose or tie this Sunday when they host the New Orleans Saints.

Seattle likely can’t wait to get on the field again after playing its worst game ever since QB Russell Wilson joined the NFL in a 38-10 loss in Green Bay last Sunday. The Packers’ defense flustered Wilson, who threw a career-high five interceptions. He finished 22 of 39 for 240 yards and a touchdown. Two interceptions came off passes that deflected off receivers’ hands, including one that caromed off Doug Baldwin’s helmet to cornerback Damarious Randall.

Entering Week 14, Seattle’s largest loss since Wilson was drafted in 2012 came by 10 points in Green Bay (Week 2 of 2015). Sunday’s loss came by 28, and Wilson threw as many interceptions (five) as he had all year prior to the game. Defensively, Seattle was picked apart by Aaron Rodgers. The Seahawks blitzed Rodgers on just four of 25 dropbacks. He was 2-for- 3 for 34 yards on those plays. Rodgers had the fourth-best QBR and sixth-best passer rating against the blitz entering Week 14. Against four rushers or fewer, Rodgers was 16-for- 20 for 212 yards against the Seahawks. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard will be more comfortable using pressure looks Thursday night against Rams rookie QB Jared Goff.

Incidentally, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been mentioned as a candidate for the Rams job after the season because of his success at USC. But Carroll said no chance.

Los Angeles at Seattle Expert Pick:

The Rams usually play Seattle tough and in fact have won the past three meetings, including 9-3 in Week 2. No way L.A. wins here, but take all those points. The under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Seattle. The Rams are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.