Consensus line: 49ers -7, total 37.5
Best line for SEA: Seahawks +8, -118 (Pinnacle)
Best line for SF: 49ers -7, -110 (SportsInteraction, 5Dimes)
Current betting percentage: 64% action on the 49ers, 54% on the OVER
Individual Team Trends:
Seahawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record.
Seahawks are 18-37-2 ATS in their last 57 road games.
Seahawks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against NFC West opponents.
49ers are 19-6-2 ATS in their last 27 games following a S.U. loss.
49ers are 21-8-3 ATS in their last 32 home games.
Under is 5-0 in Seahawks last 5 games against NFC opponents.
Under is 5-2-1 in 49ers last 8 home games.
Over is 4-1 in 49ers last 5 games following a double-digit loss at home.
Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
Seahawks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings in San Francisco.
Most of the Thursday Night Football games this season have received a ton of one-sided action, but it appears as though a solid case can be made for both teams in this matchup. The Seahawks have been a pleasant surprise this season, starting the year with a 4-2 record including marquee victories over the Cowboys, Packers, and Patriots. They’re one of the more physical teams in football and it could be argued that they have the better defense going into this matchup, as their DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) is actually higher than the 49ers right now. I think the Seahawks are a good football team, but I look at this contest the same way that I looked at the Packers-Texans matchup on Sunday night—a great opportunity to buy low and sell high.
The 49ers couldn’t look any less appealing right now. Two weeks ago, San Francisco was the consensus pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but after a 26-3 beatdown at the hands of the Giants, the 49ers don’t look so attractive. Alex Smith, in particular, was horrible last week as he threw three interceptions and posted a measly quarterback rating of 43.1. Smith has never posted a quarterback rating that low under Jim Harbaugh, but he’s definitely laid some eggs in the past. In fact, last season, Smith played three games in which he posted a quarterback rating under 70. In the games following those horrible performances, Smith posted an average quarterback rating of 109.2, throwing for a total of 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, and was sacked only 5 times in the process.
In order for the 49ers to rebound this week, they’ll have to get back to running the ball. Alex Smith operates best out of play-action situations, and will need the ‘9ers offense to establish the running game in order to work out of those favorable situations. This is where this game will be won or lost. San Francisco leads the league in rushing, averaging 176.8 yards per game and a whopping 6.0 yards per carry. On the contrary, the Seahawks have the second best rush defense, allowing only 70.0 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. Something’s got to give.
My main reason for liking the 49ers in this game is that I think that they’ll be able to establish their running game. There’s a common misconception that San Francisco loves to pound the ball up the middle and that they’re really good at it. That’s not true. The 49ers will keep opponents honest by running Frank Gore into the heart of opposing defenses, but their running game is much more than that. Whether it’s a toss to Kendall Hunter on the outside, an end around to Mario Manningham, a reverse to Ted Ginn, or a wildcat run with Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers rushing attack is completely unpredictable. Seattle has two absolute run stopping beasts on their defensive line in Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant, and you can be sure that ‘9ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman will do his best to make sure that their presence isn’t felt. The 49ers may be without starting left tackle Joe Staley due to a concussion which would definitely be a big blow, but believe me, San Francisco will find a way to pick up yardage on the ground like they always do.
If Alex Smith is afforded the luxury of working out of third-and-manageable situations, the 49ers will be fine. Smith was sacked six times against the Giants last week and it was mainly because the ‘9ers were operating out of third-and-long for the majority of the game. Smith was never in his comfort zone and subsequently, he looked horrible. Things won’t get any easier this week as the Seahawks boast a very strong pass rush as well. Bruce Irvin and Jason Jones have proven to be great edge rushers and will give the 49ers’ tackles all they can handle.
This isn’t the first time the ‘9ers will have seen a strong pass rush though. San Francisco’s offensive line excels at run blocking, but it has struggled with pass blocking in the past. Expect the 49ers to counter the Seahawks’ pass rush by running a bunch of screens and draw plays, as this strategy has been successful for them for the past two seasons. I wouldn’t expect San Francisco to light it up, but scoring 2-3 touchdowns seems reasonable.
On the other side of the ball, I just don’t see how the Seahawks are going to move the ball effectively. The main weakness of this 49ers’ defense is their secondary, but I don’t think Russell Wilson is the type of quarterback that will be able to exploit that weakness. Even with the regression of cornerback Carlos Rogers and the lack of a pass rush to start the season, the 49ers rank in the top five of every statistical pass defense category, and that’s truly incredible when you consider that they’ve been leading opponents for most of the season.
I’m admittedly not sold on Wilson as a quarterback, but I will admit that he is a very strong play-action passer. The Seahawks will have to get their running game going if they stand any chance of keeping up with the 49ers. The problem is that Seattle’s running game just isn’t as good as most people think it is. Everyone remembers Marshawn Lynch’s magical earthquake run in the playoffs against the Saints, and while Lynch is definitely a solid running back, he tends to succeed against teams that miss a lot of tackles. Lynch runs hard and tries to overpower defenses, but that just won’t work against the 49ers’ front seven. In Seattle’s road contest at San Francisco last season, Lynch was only able to muster 33 yards on 13 carries.
Most people will point to the success that Ahmad Bradshaw had against the 49ers last week, but I’d urge those people to look at the ‘9ers entire body of work and not just one week. San Francisco had to respect the ability of Eli Manning to beat them down the field, and consequently, their rush defense suffered. The 49ers don’t have to respect that downfield threat this week and will be able to focus their efforts on keeping Lynch in check.
Aside from the fact that I think the 49ers have a slight edge in personnel; I think that this is a terrible spot for the Seahawks. We’ve already seen the Seahawks lay a huge egg against a divisional opponent after their emotional win over Green Bay, so I don’t see what’s to stop it from happening again. Seattle is flying high after their win over the Patriots and that leads me to question their motivation with such a quick turnaround for this game. Richard Sherman has probably spent more time posting pictures to Facebook this week than he has in film study. This looks like a spot where Seattle could be flat.
And then there’s the obvious Seahawks on the road factor. It’s no secret that Seattle sucks on the road. The Seahawks have scored a total of 45 points in 3 road games this season, and have already lost to two divisional opponents, the Rams and the Cardinals. Seattle is 18-37-2 ATS in their last 57 road games and 6-15 ATS in their last 21 road games against a team with a winning home record. Obviously this Seahawks team is better than in years past, but I don’t want to dismiss those trends entirely.
And then there’s the travel factor. This will be the Seahawks fifth game in the last 25 days, and in that span, they’ve traveled approximately 10,628 miles. That’s a shitload of travel. The Ravens laid an egg playing their fourth game in 18 days earlier this season and that was a home game without a ton of travelling.
- 49ers coming off of a blowout loss.
- Seahawks coming off of an emotional win.
- Seahawks have already laid an egg (L 19-13 @ STL) after an emotional win this season.
- Seahawks spent the majority of the week bashing Tom Brady and the Patriots instead of preparing for this week’s game.
- Seahawks playing a road game on three days rest.
- Seahawks notoriously suck on the road.
- Seahawks playing fifth game in 25 days, traveling approximately 10,628 miles in that span.
- 49ers are 4-0 ATS following a loss under Jim Harbaugh.
- Seahawks have already lost road games to two NFC West foes this season.
I’m convinced that the 49ers are the right side here.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Seahawks 6
Recommendation: For all of the reasons listed above, I’ll be playing the 49ers -7. I also have a slight lean to the under because I just don’t see how the Seahawks are going to score points. I rarely like to side with the public, especially in primetime games, but this one looks like a no-brainer to me. The 49ers don’t have a big edge over the Seahawks on paper, but this looks like a nightmare spot for Seattle.