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Why both the Rams and Seahawks defenses are overrated, plus other best bets for Thursday

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 10/7/2021 Tom Fornelli
a man holding a baseball bat © Provided by CBS Sports

I am reminded today that one of my favorite parts of caring about sports is the anxiety. It seems strange, as I'd prefer to eliminate that feeling from every other part of my life, but I welcome it when it comes to sports.

I mean, what's the point of caring about a team if there's never anything to feel nervous about? I've been nervous all day, and I'm nervous as you're reading this because the White Sox are in the playoffs and starting their series against the Houston Astros soon. And I'm concentrating intently on every single pitch, anticipating and dreading what's about to come with each one. When it's all over, I'm either going to be thrilled or depressed.

It's going to be awesome. I can't wait for it, nor can I wait to get to my picks for tonight's games, but we will because we have to read these stories first.

All right, now let's make some bets while I continue to sweat this White Sox playoff game.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏈Rams at Seahawks, 8:20 p.m. | TV: FOX

The Pick: Over 54 (-110)

: We tend to think of both the Rams and Seahawks as two teams with solid defenses. For Seattle, it's a result of those Super Bowl teams and the Legion of Boom, but the reality is the Seahawks defense isn't very good right now and hasn't been for a while.

With the Rams, we think of star players like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, but as good as they are, the Rams defense hasn't been great itself.

The Rams come into tonight's game ranked 23rd in the league in points allowed per drive. The number is skewed because of last week's performance against Arizona, but Tampa moved the ball, too. The Rams defense has played well against bad defenses and looked vulnerable against good ones. Seattle's offense has not been great this year, but it does still have Russell Wilson. And with Chris Carson's status in doubt, Seattle might be forced to let Russ cook more than it would like, and I think that could be beneficial for both the Seahawks and the over.

So, to summarize, I don't think a Rams offense that ranks second in the league in offensive success rate will have trouble moving the ball against a Seattle defense that ranks 31st in defensive success rate. I think Russ will make things happen against a Rams defense that ranks 26th in defensive success rate. It can be scary taking an over on a Thursday night game, but we don't often get Thursday night games like this one.

Key Trend: The over is 5-1 in the Rams last six road games.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's R.J. White is 35-17-1 with his last 53 ATS picks involving the Rams and has a spread play for tonight's game.

💰 The Picks

⚾ MLB

Red Sox at Rays, 8:07 p.m. | TV: FS1

The Pick: Under 8 (-120) -- 

I am not ashamed of my penchant for taking unders in MLB playoff games. It works! The games are lower scoring because teams no longer need to use their weaker starting pitchers, and they're much more aggressive with the bullpens. Then you have a series like this one between division rivals. There are no secrets between the Red Sox and Rays. They've already played 19 times this season!

What adds even more confidence to this play is that Dan Bellino will be behind the plate for Game 1, and he's one of the more pitcher-friendly umpires in baseball. Also, while Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez has an ERA of 4.74 on the season, his underlying metrics are very similar to Tampa's Shane McClanahan, and McClanahan sports a 3.43 ERA. Both strike out hitters over 27% of the time, and both walk them around 7%. McClanahan allows a lot harder contact overall, but it's almost exclusively on the ground, so it doesn't cost him as much. This will be a tight, low-scoring series, and, as long as the total is over 7, I'll probably take the under in each game.

Key Trend: The under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Tampa.

🏈 College Football

Houston at Tulane, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN

The Pick: Under 60 (-110) -- 

I don't have a lot of trust in either of these offenses. It's not necessarily that they're bad -- they just aren't explosive. In my metric, Tulane ranks 52nd nationally in offensive explosiveness, while Houston is 99th. This means that when these offenses do put together touchdown drives, they're long drives.

The average Houston touchdown drive lasts 7.57 plays, ranking 34th nationally for most plays per touchdown drive. Tulane is over 7.09 plays itself, which is also above the national average of 6.94. Also, Houston's defense has been pretty solid! The Cougars rank 13th nationally in points allowed per drive and second behind Georgia in success rate. I have more faith in Houston to win this game, but I don't trust the Coogs enough to lay the points on the road in this spot. The under seems more likely.

Key Trend: The under is 4-1 in Tulane's last five conference games.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Advanced Projection Model is up almost $7,800 and has five strong player prop bets for tonight's game.

 ⚾🏈 Thursday Night Prop Bonanza

  • Rams WR Robert Woods to score TD (+128)
  • Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Under 23.5 rushing yards (-115)
  • Red Sox P Eduardo Rodriguez Under 5.5 strikeouts (-137)
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