Seattle are proving impossible to bet against whenever they're the underdog this season. However, as promising a trend as that's becoming, this week may prove to be a little different. To get the nuts and bolts out of the way, the Seahawks are available +7.5; the hometown 49ers can be backed -6.5.
Prior to the season beginning, I had half promised myself to put down some of my hard earned on every home team playing on a Thursday to cover the spread. To ask a team to travel on the shortest week there possibly can be in the NFL makes them a liability to bet on, even when being offered points, wouldn't you think? Well, yes, except that this year both the Giants and Browns covered the spread on the road on a Thursday night with the Big Blue positively smashing the line out of sight in Carolina.
Some of you may point out that the Giants were on the receiving end of a midweek home loss in Week 1, but I don't include that as Dallas hadn't played the previous week and weren't travelling after being battered for four quarters (preseason doesn't count, especially for the starters on opening day). Still, if you do want to include that contest, the home team is 3-3 ATS this season on a Wednesday/Thursday.
The Seahawks are riding a solid trend heading into San Francisco this week as they're 4-0 ATS as the underdog, twice as 3.5 ‘dogs (Packers, Patriots) and twice as 3 point ‘dogs (Cowboys, Panthers). The small wrinkle in that stat though is that three of those games were at home. This is the first time they've been given more than a touchdown start so what's not to like about them? A couple of things.
Firstly, Seattle's coming off an emotional win at home. Secondly, the 49ers are coming off a near disastrous loss at home. The latter in itself makes San Fran stupidly dangerous this week. Dealing with the Seahawks first, remember the last time they came off an emotional home win before hitting the road en route to a division rival? They bombed in St. Louis. Remember the last time the Niners felt the sting of defeat? They won their next two games by a combined score of 79-3.
This game is exactly what San Francisco need, a home game against an upstart division rival with everything to play for. To lose here means Seattle goes ahead in the tie break (should one be required at season's end) with the only chance to level that out coming in Week 16 in the most intimidating stadium in the NFL. Don't believe for a second that the 49ers will be on a downer after last Sunday. No, they'll be ecstatic this game is taking place on a Thursday night.
I wrote after the Seahawks' MNF win over Green Bay in Week 3 that that was arguably the most emotional win in franchise history. For my money, last week's stunning comeback win against the Patriots meant more. Seattle was forever in the game against the Packers. Against New England, they were practically out of the game when the Pats took a 23-10 lead in the final quarter.
While I am wary of a letdown this week, it's better to be on the road in San Francisco than, say, away to Jacksonville. For a start, the game takes place in the same time zone as the Pacific Northwest. In addition, the 49ers are a contender, which gives this game a playoff feel and less chance of the Seahawks resting on any laurels they may currently possess. Should they be travelling to face the Jaguars, the notion may exist that bigger fish to fry await down the road somewhere. There aren't many bigger fish to us Seahawks than San Francisco.
Tom Brady torched Seattle's lauded secondary for 395 yards last week, something that Alex Smith should come nowhere close to on Thursday, averaging, as the Niners are, 210.2 yards per game through the air, 26th in the league. The Seahawks fare even worse, ranking 31st in the NFL in pass offense and as anybody with more than a passing interest in this gladiatorial chess will tell you, this game, offensively, likely rests on which team runs the ball better, with the home team having the edge, bringing to the table their number one ranked rushing outfit.
Frank Gore has previous against Seattle, rushing for 200 yards against them twice in his career, but that aforementioned league leading ground attack is up against a Seahawks run defense giving up just 70 yards per game. This could be brutal and low scoring, a throwback to decades past and it's the kind of football I love. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh put it best this week when he said of this matchup: "We've got a football fight coming." Can this season of Seahawk football please never come to an end?
For the final part of this, I'm going to tip my hat to our SB Nation partners, OddsShark, who offer up a few gems, stones I couldn't let pass me by.
Seattle is 13-2-1 ATS in its last 16 games.
Seattle has lost three straight at Candlestick Park and are 0-3 ATS in those games.
San Francisco is 9-2 SU and ATS in its last 11 games at home.
Both teams are 4-2 SU and ATS this season.
These two have split their last 10 games 5-5 SU with Seattle holding a 6-4 advantage ATS.
PickShark.com tip the Seahawks +7.5.
As do I.
Please gamble responsibly.
In addition to contributing here, Rob runs his own blog, Rob's NFL Yard and contributes at The NFL Injury Report, so make sure you head over to those sites and check out more of his work. He'll be with us all season to give all you degenerate gamblers a better look at the ever-changing NFL odds, with a focus on the Seahawks, but attention to the NFL as a whole.