Thursday Night Football began with Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson going head-to-head in a key NFC West showdown with a total set at 53.5.
By the time it ended on a Geno Smith interception, a combined 33 second-half points wasn’t enough to get even close to that expected point total.
Despite suffering an injury to a finger on his throwing hand, Stafford played through some discomfort and threw for 365 yards and a touchdown to lead the Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) to a 26-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Meanwhile, an injury to Wilson’s finger on his throwing hand was bad enough to take him out of the game, which led to Smith’s takeover at quarterback.
While Wilson’s injury was a blow to anybody that had bet the Seahawks, the reality is that there were some ugly issues that showed up again for Seattle before he exited that game.
Here’s the Morning Coffee for Friday October 8, 2021.
Rams Win NFC West Showdown
As somebody that had Rams -2.5 as my best bet, I felt completely justified in that pick watching some of the decisions that the Seattle coaching staff made.
After the two teams combined for three straight punts to open the game, Wilson hit D.K. Metcalf on a 25-yard pass to the LA 37 with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
Here’s what the next four plays looked like for the Seahawks:
1st & 10: Alex Collins run up the middle for 4 yards
2nd & 6: Alex Collins runs up the middle for 4 yards
3rd & 2: DeeJay Dallas run left guard for no gain
4th & 2: Alex Collins run up the middle for -1 yard
After the big gain through the air, the Seahawks called four straight run plays and turned it over on downs.
That’s points off the board.
Any time you bet against Seattle, you’re worried about getting beat by Wilson’s magic.
So when the coaching staff takes the ball out of his hands, it’s a win.
A missed 35-yard field goal attempt with no time left in the first half didn’t help the Seahawks chances.
After that, the Rams didn’t give them much in the second half.
Per ESPN Stats & Info, Russell Wilson was pressured on all but one of his dropbacks in the third quarter, including two sacks.
Wilson has been pressured on 41.6 per cent of his drop backs this season, which is the third-highest rate in the NFL.
It’s not a secret that the more a quarterback is exposed to pressure, the more likely a potential injury becomes.
Even if Wilson can overcome the injury, the lack of protection, the play-calling and a defence that has allowed a league-worst 450.8 yards per game this season will be a lot to overcome, especially playing in an absolutely loaded NFC West division.
Meanwhile, LA improves to 4-1 with a crucial win on a short week.
The Rams upcoming schedule includes the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans.
A lot can happen over a month in the NFL, but looking at that slate of opponents I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to think LA could be 8-1 by the time they visit the San Francisco 49ers on November 15th.
Meanwhile, a couple of key betting trends continued on Thursday night.
The Rams improved to 5-1 against the spread versus Seattle since the start of 2019, including playoffs.
Sean McVay improved to 15-6 ATS following a straight-up loss.
Home teams are now 0-5 ATS on Thursday Night Football this season and 4-14 ATS on TNF dating back to the start of last season.
Next week, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.
Home Teams Cruise In ALDS Openers
Thursday’s MLB postseason slate didn’t offer much in terms of drama.
Hopefully, you bet the home teams.
Both home teams won big and easily covered on the run line.
The Houston Astros (-135) beat the Chicago White Sox 6-1 in Game 1 of their ALDS.
Lance McCullers Jr. threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Astros touched up Lance Lynn for five runs in just 3 2/3 innings.
Houston went from -135 to -270 to advance.
The White Sox are now +220 to win that series.
In the late game, the Tampa Bay Rays (-160) beat the Boston Red Sox 5-0 in their ALDS opener.
Randy Arozarena stole the show by becoming the first player in MLB postseason history to hit a home run and steal home in the same game.
Tampa Bay is now -360 to advance.
The Red Sox are +290 to win the series.
Meanwhile, the NLDS get underway tonight.
The Los Angeles Dodgers remain a -150 series favourite against the San Francisco Giants, but are even money to win Game 1.
The Giants are -115 to win tonight’s opener, but a +130 series underdog.
The Milwaukee Brewers are -155 to win tonight against the Atlanta Braves and -145 to win their series.
Atlanta is +130 to win Game 1 and +125 to win the series.
Elks Visit Winnipeg In Trevor Harris’ Return
Week 10 of the CFL season continues tonight with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers set to host the Edmonton Elks.
The Blue Bombers opened as a 9.5-point favourite and that number has held through to this morning.
Winnipeg is a league-best 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread this season, including 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS at home.
Meanwhile, the Elks are coming off a straight up loss to the Ottawa Redblacks as an 8.5-point favourite in Week 9.
While Trevor Harris returns tonight, I’m not convinced that it will make a big enough difference to cover on the road against the best team in the CFL.
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