Overtime. The scourge of betting on the NFL. I won betting on the Seahawks last week and I lost betting on the Seahawks last week. And yet I had precisely the same £20 bet with two different oddsmakers. Simply put, one book lays bets that includes overtime, when played. The other book doesn't include overtime at all.
There's no rules governing this, each oddsmaker is afforded its own licence and it's why you must read the fine print when considering laying your hard earned on the NFL. I'm quite sure I've never mentioned this before and now I feel like I've been rumbled. Apologies, dear readers, (and, yes, thank you to you both once again) for the overtime oversight.
This week's line mirrors last week's in Houston, but more of that in a while. At kickoff last Sunday, Seattle was available -1, a nomenclature that looked blown out of the water at halftime because, well, let's face it, it was. Don't tell me I was the only punter already counting his losses at that stage, looking forward to winning it back when the Broncos would smash the spread against the Eagles.
OK, I was too hasty as it turned out, but the Seahawks weren't sporting a good look, down 20-2 (minus the one point spread) after 30 minutes. I'll tell you what I was putting it down to an' all, remembering that I'm a superstitious gambler.
I possess two Seahawks shirts, one a Russell Wilson game jersey, the other an older, casual one of the '02-'11 logo variety. Strangely, I think I prefer the latter, despite it lacking the beauty of the former (the game jersey, not Wilson, although he is a lucky little bleeder being the handsome devil that he is). Anyway, the tatty old shirt has been the clothing of choice watching Seattle so far this season...until last Sunday. Time to unfurl the No. 3 and that was the reason I was doing my dough at halftime; nothing to do with J. J. Watt and Brian Cushing wreaking havoc, rushing as they were with the bull in the china shop during the first half. No, a true hammering was being delivered because I was vain enough to don the more resplendent of my Seahawks jerseys.
Was I to swap for the second half? Nope, too late. The train had already left the station, the horse had already bolted, the sun had already set, the cork had already popped, the song had already been sung...jeez, I'm on a roll here and indulging myself way too much. ‘Keep the audience wanting more', goes the mantra. Not much chance of that in this paragraph.
Whether it be a trained mind, put through its paces via years of being tormented by the Seahawks, or that of a gambler chucking good money after bad, I plain as day didn't see what happened coming in the second half last week. Yet, as soon as Richard Sherman ran back the pick six, there was only going to be one outcome. I vividly remember not even being overly bothered when the Texans won the coin toss to receive the initial possession of overtime. That's not the true thinking of a diehard Seahawk and this mindset is dangerously addictive. If football success be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it. Yeah, I just made that last part up. All my own work.
So, overtime. Depending on who you wish to bet with, had you had backed Seattle -1 in Houston and overtime wasn't included, you'd have done your dough. Opposing the oddsmaker who decides to include overtime, the Seahawks covered the spread by two points last week. Same goes for backing the Texans, but in reverse. Without overtime, the three point spread sees you covering. With overtime, you have a 23-23 final and you lose.
There was a comment last week below my article asking why you could back Seattle -1, but Houston +3. It's because...well, because you can. Some oddsmakers had Seattle favoured by a single point whereas some had them favoured by a field goal. It's just opinions, although there is a science behind it, including how oddsmakers perceive public opinion and which way they think we'll bet. It fascinates me and it's this angle that presents us with, almost every week, outstanding value, albeit in one game sometimes. That said, while betting is all about grabbing value where you can, naturally, we aren't always right. That's the challenge though, and it's why we come back for more. Like most aspects of life, it's all about the chase.
I advocated betting on the Under last week and 41.5 looked to be the best offer available. To labour on the overtime point for just a little longer, when backing the Under, it's imperative you get on with the oddsmaker not allowing for overtime. If I may use my sledgehammer here, the complete opposite applies when backing the Over.
I like to bet in units of twenty so, with the score tied at 20-20 at the end of regulation last Sunday, I came out £30 better off being on the Under.
I wrote last week that I don't bet for fun and I was sitting very prettily with Houston up 20-13 approaching the two minute warning. That equated to £170 in my sky rocket (Under 41.5 minus 33 points on the actual scoreboard at £20 a point). However, that didn't preclude me from going nuts when Sherman returned Matt Schaub's pass to the end zone to bring Seattle to within a point. It took me back to Sherman returning the blocked field goal (oh, go on then, field gull) against San Fran on Christmas Eve eve last year. An ‘out of your chair' moment.
I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but when the ‘Legion of Boom' is finally disbanded, it's going to be like a death in the family. Seriously, we all need to really appreciate what we're witnessing here. The likelihood, nay certainty, is that we're never going to see this again. This is as good as it gets when it comes to defensive secondaries in Seattle. This unit is the envy of the league and will be spoken about in the same breath as the '85 Bears and 2000 Ravens.
You put Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor into those defenses and they're instantly improved. Just imagine that for a second. I was falling in love with this sport when that '85 Bears D was *ripping up all before them. Just the term ‘'85 Bears' fills me with awe. The first Super Bowl I was allowed to stay up way into the early hours for in the UK was Super Bowl XX, when Chicago looked New England in the eye and the Patriots ran off crying to Mommy. Tony Eason left New Orleans that day a broken quarterback. Scarred for (sporting) life. For those unaware, honestly, you won't regret doing a little research.
*One of the most famous Monday Night Football games ever is when the 12-0 Bears visited Miami on December 2, 1985. The Dolphins won 38-24. That's not the whole story though. The 38 points Miami scored was beyond remarkable. Chicago had given up just 39 points over its previous SEVEN games, almost half a season. I wish I was making this stuff up. Not only that, those Dolphin points that night were all scored in the first three quarters. I can't get enough of NFL history.
Not that we weren't aware anyway, but these are seriously heady days watching Seattle football. You want to bet that folks in Chicago don't want their '85 team back? Take in every glorious second of this wonderfully constructed football team before the eyes mist over in memory come 2020.
I mentioned earlier that the line in this game mirrors last week's in Houston. As of Saturday morning, that's still the case with Seattle available -1 (888sport, 32Red, BETDAQ) while Indianapolis can be backed +3 (bet365, BetVictor, Ladbrokes).
During the 2012 season, it took the Seahawks four attempts to finally cover as a road favourite. They failed to overcome 2.5 point handicaps in Arizona, St. Louis and Miami before obliterating the 5.5 point line in Toronto in Week 15. Since then, they've covered three straight times as a road favourite in Washington (wild card) and in Carolina and Houston this season. For the curious amongst you, Seattle was a 3 point underdog in Atlanta in the NFC Divisional Playoff last season, a line they covered, of course.
So, the Seahawks are riding a pretty hefty 4-0 wave ATS as a road favourite right now, which makes -1 look very tasty indeed. They're 6-0 ATS over its last six games and 10-1 ATS in its last eleven. Again, for those curious, the one blot was at home to the Rams in the 2012 regular season finale when Seattle failed to overcome the 10.5 point spread.
In addition to going 6-0 ATS in its last six games, the Seahawks are 6-0 ATS in its last six games on the road, regardless of favourite or ‘dog status.
Did I just happen to mention that the Seahawks -1 looks tasty? For those tempted, you will have to bear in mind that you face a formidable foe this week. Quite incredibly, on the last six occasions that the Colts have been a home underdog, they've not only covered the spread, they've won straight up on each occasion. Wow, no mean feat and it helps make this a truly fascinating line.
I didn't wheel out Walter last week as he had nothing memorable to say, but that isn't the case this week. I will eventually stop giving you the full run down on who he is, but as it's still a relatively new aspect to what I contribute here, I'll remind you that he's Walter Cherepinsky of walterfootball.com.
Ol' Walt's a mischievous little so-and-so, but, as a gambler, I'm addicted to his site, not least because he admits his own shortcomings when reviewing picks from the previous week. There's one line he wrote this week that made me sit up and take notice. Here goes: ‘The Seahawks just won an emotional game and don't really need this victory.'
I don't agree with that last part at all although I do see why he may think it from a neutral perspective. With Tennessee up next at home, we know that we're going to be 5-1 or 6-0 come October 14 with a road trip to Arizona on the horizon. There are worse positions Seattle could find itself in and you also get the feeling that as long as Russell Wilson is leading this team, complacency won't be allowed to seep in. That said, he's prone to more mistakes this year, but perhaps the offensive line, or lack of one, isn't helping. However, is that the most devastating news?
Defensive coordinators must be suffering fits as soon as Wilson's forced out of the pocket so I don't sit here stressing about opposing teams' defenses. Hell, let opposing teams stress about our defense.
Naturally, Seattle will look to establish the run and how is it that Marshawn Lynch appears to be able to shed higher numbers of tacklers as his career progresses? The guy's just getting stronger and stronger.
The Seahawks take their 144.3 rushing YPG to Indianapolis against a defense allowing 106.8 rushing YPG. This translates then to the Seahawks rushing for at least 100 yards on Sunday, right? Hmmm, not so fast as Seattle's yards on the ground are a little distorted with Wilson averaging 4.9 YPC on 27 attempts; Lynch averages (just?) 3.9 YPA over the season.
The aforementioned ‘Legion of Boom' won't be quaking in their boots at the prospect of Indy's 24th ranked pass offense and the return of Bruce Irvin should allow him to pin his ears back with Colts receivers hopefully tied up by the guys behind him.
The most fascinating aspect of Sunday's matchup could be Trent Richardson against Seattle's front seven. It's difficult to grade Richardson as a player and he only managed 3.0 YPC against the Jaguars last week. Y'know, the more I look at this game, the more I fancy the Seahawks to win, despite it being their second consecutive game with body clocks set at 10:00 PST.
I really don't see Seattle looking ahead to home comforts next week and take them to cover the solitary point.
Please gamble responsibly.
More from Field Gulls:
- Seahawks Replay Booth: Bend them 'til they break - Seattle's 99-yard TD drive vs. Houston
- Seahawks Replay Booth: Tom Cable pulls guards on Seattle's 99-yard TD drive
- NFL odds say Russell Wilson isn't an MVP candidate, and that's a good thing
- Know Your Enemy: Seahawks vs. Colts preview podcast
- Coffee & Cigarettes: Seahawks links for Saturday