At least this shouldn't be a game where we need offensive (Russell Wilson?) heroics to dig us out of a hole late in the fourth quarter. Hang on though...Washington just left Dallas with a SU win as 9.5 point underdogs. Not that that's anywhere near 15 point underdogs, which Oakland is this Sunday.
Is there value to be had in backing the Raiders ATS? You bet your life there is. Before failing to cover (+6.5) in Cleveland last week, they were 2-0 ATS on the road in 2014, covering at MetLife Stadium against the Jets (+6.5) on opening weekend and again in Foxboro two weeks later against the Patriots (+14). Purely from a betting perspective, I don't see how anybody can back Seattle with confidence minus two touchdowns and some change this week. Even against the Raiders. Of course, I hope I'm wrong, but I'm having a small wager on the visitors. I should be finishing that sentence with ‘for a bit of interest' as the disparity in talent level between the teams is laughable. However, we don't know which version of the Seahawks' offense we're going to see. At least in the first three quarters.
Another reason why Oakland represents value this week? Three words for you: Tennessee, Tampa Bay. Seattle was nowhere near close to covering at home against those two teams last season as the Titans (+12.5) and Buccaneers (+14.5) made a mockery of the line. Ah, I hear you say, but the Seahawks did cover very handsomely at the CLink against the Jaguars (-18.5) and Vikings (-11.5). And you'd be right, but here's why they covered.
Jacksonville brought to town one Paul Casey (blimey!) Bradley as their brand spanking new head coach and did Seattle really need any more motivation to pile on the points against their former defensive coordinator? They dug up 45 of them.
The Vikings cover came a week after the Seahawks had dominated and pummelled the Falcons in Atlanta; they'd finally, truly, hit their stride.
As to why Seattle struggled to cover against the Titans and Bucs...well, here's why they didn't cover.
The Seahawks hosted Tennessee a week after a dispiriting loss in Indianapolis, where it seemed the Colts had simply outlasted Seattle, possibly a truism as the trip to Indy came only a week after an overtime victory in Houston. I am supported by hindsight here, but as I'm writing this, why the hell didn't I lump on the Titans +12.5 last year? It was buying money. As for Tampa Bay...
...that matchup was the week after, arguably, the ugliest win in franchise history, in St. Louis. How do you possibly get up for covering against the Buccaneers, who were truly terrible up to that point? Tampa had nothing to lose...and played like it. They were sensational in the first half (Seattle was the opposite, but you know that) and the line was out of sight by the start of the second. Oakland finds itself in a similar position this week. Look, at this stage of the season, the Raiders' front office (as only they could) may wish for them to ‘win' (sorry, a crass term) the first overall pick in 2015, but the players have no idea of such a concept and it makes them dangerous, at least in as much as betting against them with a two TD plus start. Similar to the Bucs, the Raiders have absolutely nothing to lose and have carte blanche to be completely gung-ho.
My, this all sounds negative. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect the Seahawks to lose, but I wouldn't be shocked to see them win only by seven. And should Seattle take, for example, a three touchdown lead, this game reeks of a back door cover.
What of home games against the Cardinals and Rams? You may have noticed that I haven't included either one when looking at the Seahawks being a double digit home favourite in the RWE. It's because I wanted to focus on non-division opponents, equating to some players not being as intense as they should be, as is possibly the case this week. That said, and to contradict myself a little, Seattle hasn't sat two games behind Arizona midway through the season with Wilson under center so intensity shouldn't be an issue. It shouldn't be...
To finish on that point, the Seahawks have been favoured by ten points on each occasion they've faced the Cardinals and Rams at home in the RWE and are 2-2 ATS (1-1 ATS versus each team).
So, overall, with Wilson at QB, Seattle's 4-4 ATS at home as a double digit favourite; 2-2 within the division and 2-2 outside of it.
Last week was a tough game of football and there's a ridiculous pattern emerging whenever Seattle travels to Carolina. However, the win this team managed to claw out, on the other side of the country, against a team leading their division, after all the hoo-ha surrounding the franchise recently, was pretty remarkable. Last week was an emotional win and is another reason I like the Raiders +15.
Here's a thing...the Seahawks are 3-4 ATS this season, the first time they've not had a winning record ATS since Russ's regular season debut as a Seahawk in Arizona to kick off the 2012 campaign. They lost that game SU, thus failing to cover as a 2.5 point favourite. Including the playoffs, Seattle went 13-5 ATS in '12 and 14-5 ATS in '13.
Whilst researching for this post, I stumbled across this from CBS Las Vegas, taken from their Power Rankings, where the Seahawks sit eleventh: ‘Seattle didn't allow a touchdown [last week], yet still needed a last minute touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to get by the Panthers. It's hard to believe, but this team could easily be below .500.'
This team could easily be 6-1, too.
Due to time constraints this week, I'm going to have to keep this post shorter than normal, but I doubt you'll really mind...both of you. Let's finish up by taking a look at a few trends, courtesy of our partners at oddsshark:
Seattle is 0-3 ATS in its last 3 games
Seattle is 18-6 ATS in its last 24 home games
Seattle is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home to Oakland
Oakland is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games
Oakland is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 road games
Oakland is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games against Seattle
With the Giants next up at home, Seattle can't be accused of looking past this game at bigger fish to fry as, although they're currently only one game behind the Seahawks in the race for a wild card spot, the Big Blue are likely to be 3-5 after the Colts leave town on Monday night. With a little bit of Luck.
Please gamble responsibly.