Adam Chernoff: NFL Week Five

9 min

Last week was as easy as it gets. Readers of my weekly blog were gifted to a 48-10 Chicago Bears win and cover to continue the good start to the season. My current record sits at 4-2 +3.32x.

Swerving from the point spread markets, this week a total catches my eye. I am taking Los Angeles Seattle Over 50.

The Rams are without a doubt the best team in football at the quarter point. Los Angeles is averaging an unbelievable 7.4 yards per play and have been successful on 58% of their 254 offensive plays this season. To put those numbers in perspective, the next closest team is New Orleans at 6.3 yards per play and 55% success rate.

The scary thing is, they are only getting better each week.

The Rams successful play rate has climbed week over week – 52%, 57%, 61%, 64%. Their yards per play has followed the same trajectory – 6.2, 6.4, 7.2, 10.1.

Typically, there is a lot of luck in numbers this good and a team playing at this level of output would be a prime candidate for regression. The difference with this Rams team the number of players who are contributing. Woods, Cooks, Kupp and Gurley are all equally accounting to the success of the offensive attack and they are led by the second-best coach in the league.

The market has also responded adequately betting LA into the lead Super Bowl favourite and forcing bookmakers to install them as a huge 7.5-point favourite on the road in the division this week.

The Seahawks are a different story.

Seattle has yet to have a game in which they eclipse a successful play rate of 50% and average just 4.9 yards per play. They also rank near the bottom five of the league in missed yards per attempt at 3.0, which means when their poor plays – are VERY poor plays.

From the outside looking in, things appear grim for the Seahawks. However, I am willing to give them a bit of a pass.

They opened the reason on the road in Denver which is the most difficult place to play in September. The next two games where against Chicago and Dallas who rank 5th and 3rd respectively in defensive efficiency. Seattle has faced the 7th most difficult slate of opposing offenses this season, and the 4th most difficult rush defense schedule.

To counteract a weak O-Line Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will often look to scramble from the pocket.

The key takeaway from this is the rush defence talent of the opponent.

Seattle has a very weak offensive line, especially on the right side with Fluker and Ifedi – 67th and 69th graded at their position. When Seattle is forced to be one dimensional, Russell Wilson gets stuck in the pocket and forced to do too much.

It is not a coincidence that the two games Seattle lost (vs Denver, Chicago) they ran the ball just 25% and 32% of all plays in the 1st half. In the two games they won (vs Dallas, Arizona) they were near perfectly balanced running the ball 47% and 48% of all plays in the 1st half.

The first reason I like this over is the fact that Seattle will be able to run the ball on Los Angeles, stay balanced and open up the pass.

In my opinion, the market is overvaluing how good the Los Angeles run defense is.

The Rams have faced the third easiest schedule of opponent rush offenses and have had the luxury of being ahead early in games, forcing teams to pass and play catch up. Both Chris Carson and Mike Davis are expected to be active for Seattle on Sunday which means for the first time this season, Russell Wilson will have both options out of the backfield to go along with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett out wide. With Aqib Talib out, and Marcus Peters less than 100%, Wilson will have the ability to push the ball downfield and attack the Rams secondary.

Rams QB Jared Goff has lead his unit to be the best down team in football right now.

The second reason I like this over is the Rams offense being able to get any look they wish against a thin Seattle defense. After losing Earl Thomas and Mychal Kendricks, the Seattle defense is lacking critical depth and without a true leader. On the defensive line they do not have a player that grades inside the Top 40, outside of Bobby Wagner, there is only one other player on the defence that grades inside the Top 25 at their position. Any Rams three-receiver set will stretch this front seven out and allow the best offensive line in football to open space for Todd Gurley.

Seattle has been very poor on early downs allowing opponents to run successful plays on half of all first down snaps. Los Angeles has been the best first down team in football.

Despite the move up, I think the market is still sleeping on this price and anything below 52 presents value worth betting. Seattle will be able to stay balanced and exploit the Rams only weakness to move the ball. Los Angeles will be able to stretch the Seahawks out and attack their lack of depth. Both teams game plan well enough to stay ahead of the chains and move the ball easily downfield. I see this score getting into the high 50’s and will take the over.

Recommended Bet

  • Los Angeles v Seattle Over 50 (1.892) risking 1.12x

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