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NFL Odds, Week 9: Vikings at Seahawks point spread analysis


Among some of the many notes I made during last Sunday's defeat in Detroit, I wrote very simply that the Seahawks need a home game. It's hardly profound and stating the blindingly obvious, but if Seattle doesn't enter their bye week with a 6-4 record then it really is time to look ahead to 2013.

Should we lose at home to either the Vikings this week or the Jets next Sunday, it'll be time to accept that, as unforgettable as 2012 has already proven to be, patience will need to be observed, if it isn't already; this is still a fine football team that can surely only improve next season.

Why this defeatist outlook? It's purely because a 5-5 record with trips to Miami and Chicago next up is a glance up a steep hill if we've already failed to win in St. Louis and Detroit.

It can be pointed out that the Seahawks led when the second half began in both San Francisco and Detroit, but the stark reality is that we lost both games, accumulating seven points in four quarters after half time over two weeks. Pete Carroll would definitely argue that we led as the third quarter began in both games in defense of his team. This we know for certain after he claimed this week that the Seahawks "could easily be 8-0." That was brave, but does those that follow the team no favours whatsoever. I admire Pete's optimism and I buy into his programme and what he believes in, but I have to admit that I cringed when I read it.

I think it's time to quit tapping out my frustrations and focus on the biggest positive of the lot this week, something I mentioned last week, but a nugget that's worth repeating. Russell Wilson has thrown eight interceptions this season (bear with me). Not one of them has occurred at home and he boasts a 116.9 passer rating at fortress CLink.

Wilson's shortcomings have been pored over in minute detail on this site (ad nauseum to some, I'm sure) and I'm in no position to venture any further opinion(s), suffice to say he can play, he really, really can, naysayers, and let him make his rookie mistakes. The kid must stay in the picture.

Wilson does admittedly preside over the league's 31st ranked passing offense (although I'd like to see that ranking for home games only...but that could be akin to saying we could easily be 8-0) so the last thing needed this week was a depletion in the receiving corps. No such luck, unfortunately, as Ben Obomanu was placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury.

I should say here that I'm writing this on Wednesday at 10 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. PT), at a time when, aside from losing Obomanu, Seattle can't guarantee Doug Baldwin or Braylon Edwards suiting up on Sunday, although Carroll reports that Baldwin looks "better than expected", which is mightily encouraging.

I mention that I'm writing this on a Wednesday evening because it's earlier in the week than I would normally write, but I'm off to Paris first thing tomorrow morning and arrive back in London around kickoff on Sunday so apologies if this post has dated somewhat, particularly if a stunning trade for Dwayne Bowe occurs. Should Baldwin play it at least gives the Seahawks five WRs: Rice, Tate, Baldwin, Martin and local hero (who knows, what if he is, just for one week?) Jermaine Kearse.

Minnesota imploded spectacularly at home to Tampa Bay on Thursday night of Week 8, a result that really wouldn't have happened had the game been played on good old reliable paper. Somebody tweeted after the game (a Seahawks fan, but I can't do them justice by recounting who it was) something along the lines of Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder having no chance of leaving Seattle with the W, a view that I have to concur with and I'm surprised that the line on this game is set at 5. I have the Seahawks favoured by 7 and make them tremendous value this week, even accounting for any injuries above the norm at receiver. Naturally, the line may move towards at least 6 as the week wears on, but even that looks skinny.

As fans we've watched the Seahawks undergo their own implosion recently and perhaps it's been easy for the sportsbooks to not look past that. Yes, we've beaten the Packers and Patriots by a combined three points this season, but Minnesota aren't in their class, despite them surprising the NFL by going 5-2 before last Thursday week. They're 1-2 ATS on the road this season and 1-1 ATS as a road underdog, muddy waters through which to wade if you're looking to lay down your hard earned on them this week.

Form ATS looks to be bang on the side of Seattle. However, if the Vikings aren't a convincing argument, then neither are the Seahawks, despite them being 3-0 ATS at home. That record has been achieved as the underdog each time, against the powerhouses that are the Cowboys (well, a perceived powerhouse), Packers and Patriots. Whenever they've been favoured this season, Seattle's come up short, against the Cardinals and Rams, so why am I so confident in them -5 this week? Home field advantage, no more, no less.

This matchup brings together the two leading rushers in the NFL, Adrian Peterson being a mere 18 yards ahead of Marshawn Lynch, 775 yards to 757. Knowing what we do about Wilson's form at home, it makes a refreshing change to not write about Seattle needing Lynch to play the battering ram, although I'd take that all day of course, and whichever back runs the ball better could be the key to this. That, or whichever quarterback underwhelms the most and the smart money isn't on Wilson.

My money, smart or otherwise, is on the rookie quarterback in the blue and his kettle of ‘Hawks.

As I'm limited by time this week, I'm unable to post my regular look at the spreads around the league this week so below is a triumvirate to keep an eye on. I sit with a 15-12 record ATS so far so I fully expect that to be .500 as we enter Week 10. Man, I can be pessimistic, but I look at it that I could easily be 27-0.

Tampa Bay +2 (at Oakland), New York Giants (-3 vs. Pittsburgh) and let's show faith in Seattle -5.

Please gamble responsibly.

In addition to contributing here, Rob runs his own blog, Rob's NFL Yard and contributes atThe 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.

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