Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks (SEA -3): Seattle Covers
To start, here are the reasons you shouldn’t be scared away by the fact that this is a London game. Yes, weird things can happen, but there have been some trends over the last few seasons that make this matchup very appealing. Firstly, there were five games played in London last season. The average margin of victory for the winning team in those games was 26.4 points. Secondly, since 2015 there have been 12 games played in London, and the average combined point total for these games is 45 points per game.
So, what do you make of these trends and the teams that are playing? Well for one, the already porous Raiders defense is likely going to play even worse than usual. Their defensive line has generated only 46 total pressures and six sacks on the season, so I’m not worried that they’re going to put pressure on Russell Wilson. According to PFF’s Austin Gayle Oakland’s linebackers have given up a perfect passer rating when targeted throughout this season for 495 yards to go along with six touchdowns and 19 first downs. Add that to the fact that the Raiders are struggling to find any consistency in their secondary rotation after benching Gareon Conley for poor play, and this defense looks like even more of a mess than it does at first glance.
The Seahawks aren’t an inspiring NFL team to watch this year, but they are just good enough to put a beating on a floundering Raiders team. I expect their defensive line to give the Raiders’ offense a lot of trouble considering rookie LT Kolton Miller’s struggles, All-Pro RT Donald Penn is on IR and star guard Kelechi Osemele is doubtful for the game. Sure, the defense is a far-cry from the Legion of Boom that it once was, but Bobby Wagner is still one of the best linebackers in the sport, Tedric Thompson has filled in admirably in Earl Thomas’ absence and Bradley McDougald is one of the best safeties you’ve never heard of.
Considering the injuries to the Raiders on offense and the gaping holes on their defense, I see Seattle covering the spread without much issue. They are the better team, and as the average margin of victory shows, typically the better team wins by quite a bit in London. For this reason, I’m taking the Seahawks to cover the spread. I would also consider taking the over, which currently sits at 48.5. Based on the high-scoring history of London games paired with the overall weakness of the defenses in this game, I expect this point total to exceed the over.
Final score prediction: 34-24