Seattle will look to get right back into the division race and make the stretch run a little more exciting. Here are some key factors that will play a big role in determining this one.
These teams come into this game with opposite momentum going for them. Five games ago, Seattle was 5-3 and San Fran was 4-4. Since then, it’s been quite a different story. All five games have been close for Seattle, but they have just two wins to show for it. The Niners, on the other hand, have won five in a row, almost all in very comfortable fashion. When it comes to recent play, the clear advantage lies with San Francisco.
Seahawks Will Run into Wall
Let’s make this clear now: The Seahawks are going nowhere on the ground in this game. The 49ers have by far the league’s best run defense, allowing just 75.1 yards per game.
The Seattle run game generates just 111.1 yards/game, 21st in the league. They will also only have starting running back Kenneth Walker III on a limited snap count or not at all, which will further stack the deck against them. Seattle will have an extremely tough time running the ball in this one.
So, the Seahawks will only have one remaining option, and that’s to throw the ball. They’ve had success doing so this season, ranking ninth in the league averaging 244.2 passing yards a game. The 49ers are also tough against the pass, allowing the 12th-least yards game average through the air with 211.8. But that’s the more exploitable area of the defense, and Seattle will likely be in throwing situations anyway if they are playing from behind. I expect them to have mild success passing the ball, enough to get in the end zone once or twice.
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McCaffrey Boosts SF Run Offense
San Francisco enters this one averaging 130.6 yards a game on the ground, good for ninth-best in the NFL. They also added star RB Christian McCaffery mid-season, which will only continue to help further inflate that number. McCaffery is questionable for this game, but seems likely to be at a full go by game time.
Seattle also does not stop the run… at all. They have allowed an average of 160.5 rushing yards a game against them this season, second-most in the league. All signs point to a rushing clinic by McCaffery and the Niners this Thursday night, especially if the team finds itself ahead early and consistently.
Take Niners and Under
Between the matchup advantage and momentum heading into this one, the 49ers look like a solid bet for Thursday night. The line of 3.5 is a common trap line, meant to look juicy for the underdog, but don’t let this fool you. San Francisco should be able to severely limit the Seattle offense and come out victorious by about a touchdown.
The Niners should be doing a lot of running and a lot of stopping the Seahawks offense. That is a recipe for the under to hit. Game clock will be moving along nicely, while neither team will be pouring it on offensively. I can see a 24-17 49ers win in this one.
Prediction: 49ers -3.5 over Seahawks (-105 at Bet365)
Prediction: Under 43.5 (-110 at Unibet)
Watch: Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime
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