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NFL Odds, Week 15: Seahawks vs. 49ers against the spread

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"They're a pretty good defense, um, the numbers don't lie. Y'know, but overall, I think that a lot of that had to do with us, not executing."

Words delivered by a visibly dejected LeSean McCoy after last Sunday's dispiriting loss to the Seahawks. A "pretty good defense" is one way of verbalising what's going on right now in Seattle. A pretty good defense that's giving up, on average, less than a touchdown per game over its last three, one of which was a division game on the road in the shortest week the NFL can offer, before a cross country trip to face one of the most vaunted offenses out there; certainly the most rhythmic offense out there.

If last week truly was a matter of Philadelphia not executing, it's because they weren't allowed to execute, and anybody with even a modicum of understanding of the dynamics of team sports played on a field would tell you that.

Now, what if this is as good as it gets? Winning the Super Bowl has already seen to that, granted, but we now support the current NFL champions who are, all of a sudden, looking scarily like the unit that brought us said championship. Life supporting the Seattle Seahawks (honestly, no pun intended) has actually never been better. I've been a fan for 31 years, which equates to too much heartache. However, what happened against Denver in February flushed the system, wiped the slate clean. Every snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory had been worth the misery. Right now, Seattle looks primed for another serious tilt at the Super Bowl. The Seahawks' star is still rising, even after hoisting the first Lombardi in franchise history.

We're currently witnessing the best defense in franchise history, certainly the best secondary in franchise history*, the greatest quarterback in franchise history (already), young, talented depth that personifies ‘next man up' beautifully and a bond between players and coaching staff that seemed almost unimaginable before this bunch were thrown together, despite what we read. These are times I never believed I'd see.

*that will never be bettered...which is of no comfort to any of us

I was tempted to chuck ‘the best running back in franchise history' into that paragraph, but it's all too easy to forget just what Shaun Alexander once meant to the Seahawks. I know, I know, he was playing behind the greatest blocking combination in franchise history (crowbarred that one in there) in Jones and Hutch (not forgetting the quite magnificent Mack Strong), but we once held Alexander very, very dear. Plus, I still get misty-eyed at the thought of Curt Warner.

Yeah, alright, Alexander isn't in Marshawn's class.

Last season, the Denver Broncos set new NFL marks for touchdowns scored, passing touchdowns, passing yardage and points scored in a single season. Put simply, it was the greatest offense the NFL had ever seen, at least in terms of one season. I believe it to be Elliot Harrison on The (unmissable) Dave Dameshek Football Program who opined, after the Super Bowl, that the Seahawks had put up the greatest defensive display in the history of football, based purely upon yielding just eight points to the most potent offensive juggernaut football had ever known. Pretty much as good as it gets, unless another team ‘does a Denver' and the Seahawks ‘do a Seattle' on exactly the same stage. Ain't ever gonna happen.

This rambling is a little reflective of me, but I hope I'm excused. What I suppose I'm trying to get around to saying is that if this is as good as it's ever going to get, and Seattle never again delights in the joy of a Lombardi, then let's just revel in the delectation of these moments towards the season's end because they're days that we'll sodding well miss sooner than we dare to realise.

Then again, the Seahawks may just win another Super Bowl this season, or perhaps, better still, in Santa Clara next season (hell, they might win ‘em both), and all of this is absolute bollocks.

Let's talk odds, shall we, gentlemen?

After Seattle had covered at home (-6.5) against Arizona three weeks ago, I tweeted that the Seahawks were now 9-0 ATS when favoured at home by less than 7 points in the Russell Wilson era and that the spread against San Francisco this week would result in a similar line. Recent events unfolding as they have in Santa Clara means it's nothing of the sort as the most generous offering you'll get on the Seahawks as of 20:00 GMT Tuesday evening is -9.5. Generally, the 49ers can be backed +10 or +10.5. Purely because it's a game San Fran should have no problem getting ‘up' for, I figured the line to be 8 points; I obviously know nowt about nowt.

Hang on for a second...I thought I'd check And there it is - the opening line on this one at Westgate Superbook was Seattle -7.5. It didn't last long though, 38 minutes if we're being precise, before the Seahawks had 9 points on their back.

It turns out that Sunday represents the first time in Jim Harbaugh's tenure that the 49ers enter a game as double digit underdogs. They do appear to be completely shot as a team, but there's no way they're going to agree to lay down and die against the Seahawks. Yes, they have been on the end of the odd shellacking at the CLink recently, but I genuinely believe them to be quite a good thing with 10.5 points and that extra half point could be crucial.

The players may be done with playing for Harbaugh, for sure, but you have to believe that there'll be some reaction to going down to the Raiders. Plus...what if Seattle dares to look ahead to Arizona seven days later? I do write this before Thursday Night Football, but whichever way that one goes makes the Cardinals matchup far more important than this one. I don't actually expect the Seahawks to lose SU on Sunday, I write purely in reference to the spread; this game reeks of a back door cover by the 49ers.

This marks San Francisco's final road game of the season and represents the third time in eight where they've been a road underdog. The other two occasions were, unsurprisingly, in Denver (+6.5) and New Orleans (+5.5). They're 1-1 ATS in those two (covered against the Saints) and on the road as a whole this season are 4-3 ATS. It's form that's hardly deserving of your hard earned, but I am going to have me a little flutter on the visitors.

Russell Wilson is 6-0 ATS versus the 49ers and 5-0 ATS versus Colin Kaepernick. Alex Smith was the Niners quarterback when Seattle lost 13-6 in Week 7 of the 2012 season, but that crucial half point proved, er, crucial, as the Seahawks were 7.5 point underdogs that night. Going pre-Russ, Seattle's 7-0 ATS versus the 49ers over the last seven encounters and considering that Seattle's 22-2 SU in its last 24 games at home, San Francisco has a serious amount of work to do come Sunday.

Before this season, on only one occasion had the Seahawks been favoured at home in the RWE by between a touchdown and double digits and that was against New Orleans (-7.5) in the divisional round of the playoffs last season. (For those of you curious enough, the line was Seattle -5.5 in Week 13 of the regular season.) This Sunday, though, already represents the third time this season that the Seahawks have been favoured at home in the same fashion; the results have been mixed. The Cowboys (+7.5) covered with consummate ease while the Giants (+8) didn't. So, overall, with Russ under center, Seattle's 2-1 ATS when favoured at CenturyLink by between 7 and 10 points and while the 49ers are out of that range +10.5, the Seahawks remain -9.5 with BetVictor and 888sport as of Thursday evening.

With Russ under center, just simply as a home favourite, Seattle is 15-6 ATS.

As seems to have become the norm, let's wrap things up by looking at a few trends, courtesy of our partners at

Seattle is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Seattle is 18-7 ATS in its last 25 games at home
Seattle is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home against San Francisco
San Francisco is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
San Francisco is 12-5 SU in its last 17 games on the road

In fact, that isn't quite the end. I've not mentioned Walter Cherepinsky much this season, he of the inimitable, but he does offer up this little nugget: Jim Harbaugh is 6-2 ATS after losing as a favourite (Niners were -9 in Oakland last week).

In addition, I thought I'd also share with you his final thought for Sunday: ‘I like the Seahawks for a unit. They're so strong at home, and they're playing so much better than the 49ers, who look like they're going to mail it in because Jim Harbaugh has checked out. Besides, Pete Carroll hates Harbaugh, so I'm sure he'd love to step on his throat in his final meeting against him until 2018 when the Seahawks will visit the Raiders.'

That hate's taken a back seat in light of Carroll's quite stunning testimonial, in which he cited Harbaugh as a "...great football coach...great competitor..." and a "stud...there's nobody I'd rather play." As charm offensives go, Pete's just set the bar a little higher. You little devil.

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