The Seattle Seahawks have cured my fear of flying. OK, turbulence. More of that shortly. I should start with the pleasantries. Thanks for having me back (Danny) for a third consecutive season of what I wish I could declare is a thorough breakdown of the weekly Seahawks spread throughout the season as determined by the Vegas sportsbooks. If only that were even half true.
Regrettably, I was unable to contribute last week, a bruising my pride took well, but the circumstances were unique, at least for me. I went and got married on August 1, was in San Francisco by August 10 and, via LA and New Orleans, arrived home from Miami on August 29. Quite the honeymoon and quite the month of August. Thus, last week was a whirlwind and time beat me to September 4.
I really should thank you already for sticking around so far as I'm not quite done with this, although the Seahawks helping to cure my fear of flying may help to hold your interest.
I loved flying in my twenties, especially long haul, but the older I've gotten (42), the less I've embraced it. Yep, it's gotta be done, but I ain't gotta like it. And I didn't. Hello, mortality, you old devil.
Towards the end of May, we had a week long family holiday in Greece that necessitated actually getting there, naturally, and a train from London ain't quite gonna cut that particular mustard.
Keeping this as short as I can, barely any time into the flight had lapsed when I realised that I wasn't bothered at the ascension in a clunking great piece of metal. Inner peace? Where had this stranger dredged itself up from? Super Bowl XLVIII is where. Knowing that I'm preaching to the choir here, all I need to say is that the euphoria felt in the immediate weeks after February 2 had seeped into the bones far deeper than I'd recognised. The same level of calmness washed over me on a decidedly rocky flight to New Orleans and a horrible flight back to London.
Does Final Destination resonate with anybody else reading this, aside from its unmistakable plot? Wondering aloud (I'm being generous to the character) at who's in line to be knocked off next, Seann William Scott's Billy Hitchcock blurts, "Please tell me I'm gonna get to see the Jets win the Super Bowl!"
The line has hardly haunted me (WAY too dramatic), but it rang a bell some 14 years ago, one that fell silent sometime during the fourth quarter of the 2013 season finale; not quite the Jets, thank Heavens, but the bucket list had a new numero uno.
Enough of that.
The Seahawks are a remarkable football team and even more remarkable with a healthy Percy Harvin. Oh yeah, I know my stuff. I've done my research. In all seriousness here, the Seahawks are a remarkable football team ATS right now. Over the last 11 games, Seattle's 10-1 ATS. Not their last 11 home games, not 11 games where they've been favoured by less than a touchdown. No, over their last 11 games, no matter the venue, no matter the occasion, Super Bowls included. This is a gambler's dream team. Vince Young's all over this bunch...were he somewhere permitted to lay down the dollar, of course.
After Seattle dismantled Green Bay and before San Diego lost a squeaker in Arizona, the Chargers were 5.5 point underdogs for this Sunday and, unsurprisingly, little has changed since Monday night although you can now back San Diego +6. What is there to fear? Cornerback's a little thin, but you all know that and Philip Rivers will at least target Richard Sherman. Once. Perhaps.
Aaron Rodgers is elite, Rivers isn't, but I always feel that Rivers is the kinda quarterback we all secretly admire due to the simple fact that he's admirably fallible. He makes mistakes and sometimes lots of them, but when he hits it, boy does he hit it. He could do just that this very Sunday and then the thought strikes me that, after Week 3, the Seahawks could easily find themselves 1-2. San Diego on the road is no gimme. Denver at home is no gimme, despite what went down in New Jersey.
These are different times, a mere seven months later, no matter how superior Seattle looked against Green Bay last Thursday week. Yes, yes, by the same token, both the Chargers and Broncos won't relish facing up to the Seahawks. Alright, Denver's positively champing at the bit, which makes Kansas City worth a small punt this week with a two touchdown start against the Broncos as John Fox's team WILL have one eye on the CLink seven days later...not that they'd ever admit to such a scenario. Look out for the KC back door cover.
It's Tuesday evening UK time and I'm reading that Chargers center Nick Hardwick (neck) is done for the season. You can throw on another half point to the spread, if we're realistic. Hardwick had, after all, started 67 consecutive games for the Bolts and was voted their Lineman of the Year each of the last three seasons. C'mon, he's only a center. No, it's never ‘only a center.' The game is won and lost in the trenches (apologies for the spoon feeding) and Hardwick's been the fulcrum of the offensive line for four seasons.
Wednesday evening UK time now and Rivers says that he won't avoid Sherman's side of the field. Some fans on message boards seem to be delighting in that prospect, their mirth spilling over at the near certainty of Sherm securing at least one pick. Be careful what you wish for, fellas, ‘cos one day you just might get it. While the days of the Seahawks regularly snatching glorious defeat from the jaws of victory do appear to be temporarily at a standstill, don't be too quick to dismiss Rivers. We'll see, I guess...
If we're to be warmed by Seattle's record ATS over their last eleven, then equally pleasing to the eye is their 7-2 record ATS on the road over their last nine when favoured by 7 points or fewer. This dates back to Week 12 of the 2012 season when the Seahawks *lost in Miami when favoured by 2.5 points. In said games since, the sole blemish came in Indianapolis last year when Seattle was favoured by 1.
*This was a game Seattle somehow lost (in old fashion) and it was but one week later when they went to Chicago and we first witnessed what Russell Wilson might be able to offer us when it really, really mattered. We're talking on the road, in a hostile environment, time running out in the fourth, needing a touchdown. I'm never going to forget the build up on Field Gulls that week as Soldier Field loomed. Fear and confidence locked horns 50/50 amongst the fan base. Maybe you remember it, too. And yes, this paragraph is way too long following an asterisk.
Continuing on the theme above for a second longer, Seattle's overall record ATS on the road when favoured by 7 points or fewer in the RWE (Russell Wilson Era) stands at 7-4. The two other failures? Russ's regular season debut in a Seahawks uniform in Arizona (-2.5) and in St. Louis (-2.5) three weeks later.
If I may be a little too precise, this is the second time Seattle's been favoured by 5.5 points on the road in the RWE, but the first time when truly in a team's own backyard as the only other occasion was in Toronto against Buffalo.
It's been nigh on intoxicating being a Seahawks fan since, let's say, the beginning of the 2012 season (lest we forget THAT Saints playoff game prior to that) and this season allows for a sprinkling of nostalgia, too, as Seattle pits its wits against its old AFC West adversaries. The San Diego Chargers, for me, conjure up one particular memory, one particular game, from November 22, 1987.
I was out that night at Wembley Arena with my stepfather for the last evening of Roger Waters' ‘Radio K.A.O.S.' tour, a 15 year old kid seeing one of his earliest heroes while, at the same time in Seattle, a few more of his earliest heroes were entertaining the San Diego Chargers. Sadly, the specific details of the gig have long since passed me by, but on the way home I asked if we could try to find AFRTS on the radio dial as the Seahawks could be on.
Blimey, just seeing the words ‘radio dial' looks ancient. Innocent times, innocent times. Anyhow, I digress.
The game was indeed on, and while the reception (at least in Europe, I guess) faded into Spanish opera at the most inopportune of moments, it's what ultimately led to AFRTS' charm, I suppose. I had to get my football any way I could over here in 1987 ‘cos I sure as hell wasn't going to see any live games on TV for a while. You never realised how lucky you lot were, did you?
I would only have heard proceedings from some time in the third quarter, but a walloping was occurring as the Seahawks led 27-3 at the start of the fourth quarter. A 5 yard touchdown pass from Dave Krieg to Steve Largent was the final score of the afternoon as Seattle ran out the victor to the tune of 34-3. This moved the Seahawks to 7-3 and I had us going to the Super Bowl, which was, coincidentally, being held in San Diego that season.
What happened the following week, however, was what supporting this team was really all about. We were on the crest of a wave with the LA Raiders coming to town for Monday Night Football. Big time football, big time times. The Silver and Black finished that (strike shortened) season 5-10 yet saved their best for us. One week after gutting the Chargers for 277 rushing yards, Seattle combined for 37 yards on the ground against the Raiders as Bo Jackson obliterated the Seahawks (and Brian Bosworth's reputation) almost single-handedly.
The sublime to the ridiculous. That's what you came to expect following Seattle. None of this winning a championship malarkey.
By Saturday morning, BetVictor have seen fit to shave the line and the Seahawks are now available -4.5. Considering that San Diego is still available +6 (Boylesports, Ladbrokes) and Seattle's current streak ATS is hotter than July, -4.5 looks positively generous.
Before I wrap this up, let's take a look at the Chargers, via our partners at oddsshark.com. If you lean toward San Diego, either through heart or wallet, the reading is none too shabby.
Over their last twelve games as home underdogs, the Chargers boast an 8-4 record ATS and they're also 6-1 ATS in their last seven.
This promises to be a fascinating game for the neutral to watch and as this does still pertain to be a betting platform (and not just a chance for me to revisit my formative years), I see no reason whatsoever why you shouldn't be on the over at 44. As for the spread, I advise caution.
Please gamble responsibly.