Eyebrow. And immediately you know what I'm getting at.
Kenneth was first to (s)have his say on it this week and, yes, after some hours of hyperbole (but please read this one phonetically as Hyper Bowl, considering the magnitude of the game), it was revealed (shock! horror!) that "it was more of just a friendly, joking around type of deal. It's not real serious. We'll probably do something digitally. Something like that." Russell Wilson was first to burst the bubble.
There will be no temporary loss of one eyebrow for either Messrs. Wilson or Kaepernick, whoever it is that ends up tasting defeat on Sunday night, which is disappointing, I suppose, as where's the honour in that? Seriously, I mean this. A bet's a bet and it's not like the initial pledge was contrived behind the back of the bike sheds. Eyebrow...it ain't high brow.
I've read more than once this week that these two brightest of young quarterbacks aren't what they should be, namely throwing rocks at each other's windows and leading from the front the rebellion on each side that is the Seattle-San Francisco football rivalry. For what it's worth, I'm alright with this. Joe Montana didn't have to resort to histrionics and I use him as the example for a couple of reasons, but will plead patience from my audience (thank you to you both, as always), bearing in mind this pertains to be a betting column.
I grew up in a house in London surrounded by Dolphins fans. I touched on this in my preview to Seattle's visit there last season, mentioning it was mighty tempting to fall head over heels for Miami in the mid-80s when you were scratching around for a team to follow in the UK, blessed as they were with Dan Marino and the Marks Brothers.
The morning after Super Bowl XIX wasn't pretty, shoved out of the way as they were, 38-16, by a juggernaut 49ers team commandeered by the (almost) incomparable Bill Walsh. And to think, the Dolphins were grasping limitless promise heading into the second quarter that day, clutching a 10-7 lead.
Montana immediately became a figure of hate in my family, no matter his unassuming charm, so blinded were they by events in Stanford on January 20, 1985.
Having, by that time, already nailed my allegiances to a royal blue and forest green wall, I took a step back and began to slowly realise the mechanics Montana possessed in abundance. Without lavishing too much praise, and curbing my enthusiasm, in relation to what is now our fiercest rival, Montana didn't assume the mantle ‘Joe Cool' without being the coolest Joe under center on a football field. Wilson, however, is DangeRussly *close to becoming something similar. Again, I wrote this last season, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk perhaps puts it better than anybody, when he simply writes of RW that ‘...the kid doesn't get rattled.'
*Yes, yes, of course Montana leads 4-0 in rings, but Wilson's accumulating the tools required to make a run.
Wilson and Kaepernick will almost forever, it seems, be inexorably linked, especially as, barring a catastrophic injury, they could and should still be leading their respective teams as we hit 2020.
Wilson's the gent, steeped in manners and goodwill. Kaepernick, you feel, wants you to believe he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and his bicep (gun) kissing salute is beyond nauseating.
Wilson, the silent assassin, personifies stealth and emanates from the less is more school of going about one's business. Kaepernick, all ink and bluster, craves the spotlight.
One final point on Russ, at least for the moment, is that he looks different this year, after just one game. He just looks different. Throughout last season, even during the playoffs, he retained the innocence of youth, a certain wide-eyed boyishness. This year, after just one game, he just looks different. Gone is the cherub, replaced by perspicaciousness.
So, how does the line go down for this one? Seattle's favoured by a field goal, although they are available -2.5 with 188Bet as I write this on Thursday evening. Those of a San Francisco persuasion will undoubtedly be licking their chops at the prospect of being able to back their team with any kind of a start, but that's what they're at liberty to do this week and, to the casual neutral or untrained eye, it looks to be an almighty steal, but caveat emptor.
In simple black and white, here's the first stark reality: the Seahawks were 7-1 ATS at home last season, only failing to overcome the points (-10.5) in the final game against St. Louis. As a home favourite last season, they were 3-1, only failing to overcome the points...oh yeah...
As an aside here and something that may have been forgotten, is that it wasn't until their fourth home game in 2012 that Seattle was actually the favourite. They'd been deemed the underdog against each of Dallas (3.5), Green Bay (3.5) and New England (yep, you guessed it, 3.5) and while the win over the Cowboys was the only one that didn't tear your nerves to shreds, it serves as a reminder that the Seahawks are formidable at home, particularly this current bunch, behind this current wave.
More than once last season, I wheeled out the thoughts of the irrepressible Walter Cherepinsky, owner and founder of walterfootball.com, and I was once again drawn to a line from dear ol' Walt this week when reading his thoughts on Sunday night. Before I divulge, I will add that he believes the Seahawks to be a good thing -3 this week and I will furnish you with his closing paragraph as it does stir the juices somewhat, but he makes an observation early in his piece that reads: ‘Seattle should also be able to handle Vernon Davis, which will give Colin Kaepernick limited options.'
See? Football is such a simple game to read. Handling Vernon Davis is easy. Walt says so and who are we to argue? It ain't that difficult. All stupidity aside, here Walt's recap and I dare you now not to wish away the hours even more until kickoff.
‘This will be the only time all year we'll get the Seahawks as favourites of three points or fewer as hosts. Let's take advantage of it. Seattle has such a dominant homefield advantage, which will only be magnified by kickoff being in the evening. Seahawk fans will be trying to break the crowd noise record at a professional sports game, and they just might be able to accomplish that. The 49ers won't know what hit them.'
Walt, that's a beautiful way to sign off and thank you, as ever. See you next week, maybe.
Seattle being favoured by three pretty much means that, were this game taking place on a neutral field somewhere, the oddsmakers would struggle to separate the teams and you'd probably be looking at a pick ‘em (PK) game, which is what the line was in Week 16 last season at the same venue; you know what happened next and it made for a very Merry Christmas.
Are the 49ers a gift this week for those seriously thinking of laying down their hard earned on them? The line does have its merits, yes, and you can begin in the trenches where, with no respite after facing a pretty mighty Panthers defensive line last week, Seattle's oft maligned offensive line (at least outside of the host city) comes face to face with an equally daunting foe, one featuring a missing piece from last Christmas Eve eve.
Justin Smith was absent from this fixture last season and while it would be easy to scoff at any suggestion that he would've had any significant bearing on events that night, his presence this week instantly upgrades San Francisco's defensive front and it doesn't take a genius to work out that Seattle will need to work harder up front offensively this time around. However, as much as that unit may have been worked over last Sunday, that was on the road in an unfamiliar heat. It will certainly be hot in Seattle on Sunday night yet will have nothing to do with anything meteorological.
The Seahawks might not possess the most obviously talented offensive line, but they're extremely well coached and if you think they had adrenaline coursing through them in Carolina on opening weekend, those levels will be long surpassed on Sunday and that's just on the way to the stadium. What is arguably the weakest unit on Seattle's roster will be feeding off (as will the whole team) the NFL's most vociferous support. And some. They'll be up for this and the Smiths, Justin and Aldon.
Kaepernick knows all about the Seahawks secondary, even after just one outing against them and he would have pored over game film of them more than any other team during the offseason. Firstly, he'll see them twice this season. Secondly, he might see them three times this season and they could be the most obvious obstacle to his team making a quick return to the Super Bowl.
I now write on Friday evening and have taken a look at what's on offer with our partners at Oddsshark. Interesting. Seattle's available there for as little as -1 and they also give us some help in defining a couple of trends when these two meet.
The 49ers are undoubtedly worth a nod +3, but the Seahawks are 10-1 ATS in their last eleven home games. Going hand in glove with that is San Francisco's 1-5 record ATS in their last six trips to Seattle.
I wrote last week of how it can be useful to look ahead at a team's schedule and getting a little ahead of myself here, I want to take a quick look at next week already. This could be considered folly as next Sunday is as good a gimme as there will be for the Seahawks in their recent history and coming hot on the heels of the Niners at home on SNF, a visit from Jacksonville won't set pulses racing. Sad but true for us and my cash is already on the Jaguars to cover +14.5.
Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, next week may feel like a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor's show' and I see Seattle struggling for motivation. The rub is because of what awaits in Week 4...the Houston Texans, on the road. And did I mention what comes after that? Try the Colts, on the road. The Seahawks have far bigger fish to fry than the swatting of the fly that is the Jags at home and even winning by two touchdowns won't be enough to cover the spread. This does mean that next week's post may consist of about four words. I knew that'd make you happy.
Please gamble responsibly.