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Rams vs. Seahawks Point Spread Prediction – TNF Week 15

Los Angeles Rams(4-9) @ Seattle Seahawks(8-4-1)

  • Where: Century Link Field. Seattle, WA
  • When: December 15, 2016 8:25 pm EST
  • Spread: Rams (+15) at Seahawks (-15)
  • Moneyline: Rams (+650) at Seahawks (-1000)
  • Over / Under: Over 38.5 (-115) vs. Under 38.5 (-105)

It took a living legend to finally unseat Jeff Fisher as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

After years of mediocre-to-poor seasons under the aging skipper, it appeared ownership would never pull the trigger on what appeared to be a no-brainer coaching change…at least until the 2017 off-season.

But when Eric Dickerson publicly questioned the Rams’ performance on the field, the dominoes began to fall quickly. In response, Fisher banned the Hall-of-Fame tailback from gracing the sideline during warm-ups, a spiteful move which offended fans and players alike. Dickerson retaliated by saying he would not attend any more Rams games (in a luxury box or otherwise) as long as the current HC kept his job. After a 42-14 loss in Week 14, Fisher got the boot.

Assistant coach John Fassel, son of former New York Giants HC Jim Fassel, takes over in the interim for the Mountain Goats. Coaching changes always present an intriguing scenario for bettors – often a squad will come alive with the locker-room shakeup. But can a 4-9 Los Angeles team really challenge the division-leading Seahawks?

That depends on how ready Seattle will be on Thursday night. The ‘Hawks are dealing with a self-inflicted distraction of their own, and its name is – surprise – Richard Sherman. The controversial CB blasted the NFL yet again this week, calling Thursday Night Football a “poopfest” in an interview and insinuating that the league has a vendetta against teams scheduled to play TNF games.

The unorthodox ‘Hawks have their own style and psychology, and the us-against-the-world mentality has served them well during Pete Carroll’s stint as head coach. However, comparing the crucial game you are about to play to fecal matter may not be the best way to prepare to handle a division rival.

If early action is any indication, gamblers are unsure of Seattle’s ability to blow out a weak team at home. The O/U opened at 40.5, then shrank 2 points as bettors found value in predicting a tighter contest. A 6-6 tie with Arizona earlier this season, and last week’s disappointing 38-10 loss at Green Bay are also driving bets toward the Rams and the under. Pundits are skeptical that the Seahawks will light up the scoreboard.

However, the point spread is still generous with the Rams getting +15 points at Bovada. For the more adventurous, the Rams are paying +650 in the money line market. The current over/under for the game is 38.5 points and will likely trend lower before kick-off.

Seattle – Driven to Distraction?

Bet on the Rams ATS vs. SeahawksPete Carroll does not believe in muzzling his athletes. Though QB Russell Wilson is a quiet, humble leader, outspoken megaphones such as Sherman pick up the slack when creating controversy. The Seahawks even seemed to be thrown off by their disdain for Thursday night games during the previous weekend, complaining of “getting home at 1 AM on Monday” after a miserable trip to Green Bay. The Packers intercepted Wilson 5 times during Sunday’s loss.

The swift QB’s injuries have also hampered the patented Seattle read-option, but the squad has found other ways to control the ball on the ground. With Marshawn Lynch out of the picture there is no dominant RB to speak of, but a committee of backs is averaging 104 yards per game and has only lost 2 fumbles on the season.

Talented safety Earl Thomas is out for the year, and Carroll has expressed disappointment in a pass rush that sacked Aaron Rodgers only once in 4 quarters. The fact that Los Angeles remains a more-than-2 touchdown underdog (and the fact that the O/U is shrinking) can only be attributed to a total lack of confidence that a lowly Rams offense can produce at all on the road.

Shaking Things Up in SoCal

Bad news first – the Rams’ offense is statistically ranked last in the NFL. They have only scored 194 points the entire season, and have turned the ball over 24 times. QBs Case Keenum and rookie Jared Goff have struggled, and 2nd-year RB Todd Gurley does not have a 100-yard game in 2016-17. Even if the young L.A. backfield turns a corner on TNF, the deafening roar of Century Link Field is bound to cause mental mistakes at crucial moments, leaving the prospect of an upset unlikely.

But a mid-season coaching move can stir a sleepy franchise. It’s not about X’s and O’s – Fassel was a special-teams assistant until a few days ago, and is not likely to make major changes to the playbook – but rather about giving a frustrated and downtrodden group of athletes a fresh start. Gurley has exploded to the press this week, imploring his teammates to play for pride.

Finally, hell or high water the Rams have beaten the Seahawks in 3 straight regular-season games, including a 9-3 home win on September 18th.

Bet on the LA Rams to cover ATS on Thursday Night Football

We’re playing it safe and advise a 1-unit wager on the Rams ATS (+15) at the Bovada Sportsbook.

With the burden of a tired, unpopular head coach lifted from the team’s shoulders, Los Angeles could surprise with its competitiveness on Thursday night. TNF games are unpredictable and often sloppy, and the Seahawks do not seem enthusiastic about playing in them.

But a money line wager is risky, as the unruly crowd tends to carry Seattle when playing at home. And while the under may have had value at 40.5, at 38.5 a 20-19 result loses the units. Where is the real value?

Consider the +15 spread. The 2 offenses are playing sloppy football, and incredibly the down-trodden visitors seem more excited to play than the contender. The Seahawks will probably hang on to win, but not before falling into a trap…at least in the 1st half.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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