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NFL Odds, Week 1: Seahawks vs. Rams, against the spread

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bam Bam. Here we go again. Only, there is no Bam Bam. Then again, I am writing this on Monday evening, allowing for this opening to date very quickly. Just this once, I hope it does.

(As we now know, it didn't. Bugger.)

Hello again, one and all (well, both of you) and yes, I've had the same Seahawk(y) offseason as each of you, naturally; nothing else to be said.

As wouldn't have gone unnoticed, I don't contribute to Field Gulls during the offseason, unlike some of the prolific scribes who do. The reason for it is that I'm simply not qualified to do so and it's difficult for me to ignore the old adage of stick to what you know. Some of the posts published on here since the Seahawks snatched inglorious defeat from the jaws of dizzying victory have been simply jaw dropping. Field Gulls goes from strength to blinding strength and you lot are one hell of a sophisticated audience. It's a stirring enough challenge putting down weekly ATS (non)sense so to those who take it to the heights of Planet X & O, permission granted to keep feeding us.

So, Kam Chancellor is staying away. And the Seahawks are weaker, and not just on the field. I know it's about money, which I (kinda) get, but I wrote this in my ATS post before Super Bowl XLIX:

‘And these guys freakin' well love each other. When a fragile looking Richard Sherman (imagine that?), at the end of the NFCCG, mouths to Kam Chancellor on Sound FX, "I love you", he ain't bloody well paying Kam lip service.'

Career ending injury aside, The Legion of Boom was unbreakable. How naive. Everybody loves Kam and, despite all of this, we probably all still do. For me, it's only slightly, only slightly less than I used to. As long as he shows up, pay raise or not, the heartbreak wouldn't have mattered. Maybe it doesn't anyway as he's hardly my first Seahawk love; Kam ain't got owt on Kenny Easley.

However, faux teen angst aside, as life balance would dictate (except perhaps in Cleveland), Chancellor's one foot out the door is replaced by the four combined belonging to Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark stomping right the way in. Bloody hell, all most certainly is not lost...not that it ever was, of course, but these two look sodding well sensational. Then you can chuck in Jimmy Graham. Be still my sporting heart.

Wednesday evening now and it's as official as it can be: no Kam on Sunday. As Danny pointed out, Chancellor has to hope that the Seahawks struggle without him, which was unfathomable just a couple of weeks ago. It's unfathomable now. It reads as utterly ludicrous, yet is inescapable.

The glaring truth that seems to be hiding in plain sight is that if this turns sceptic and Chancellor decides to actually sit for the whole year, it's a decision that a 50 year old Kameron Darnel Chancellor would regret ever making. These are the best days of his life, playing a game (albeit a brutal one, granted, but he knew what he was signing up for) with the best friends he's ever going to have. With the most amazing boss(es) he's ever going to have. All of this. Ever. Just think about that. Sure, he has some unforgettable memories already, and he's given us the same, but look at what he's leaving behind. Arguably the most talented roster in the history of the Seattle Seahawks primed for a run at a third straight Super Bowl appearance. On Niner ground.

Maybe it isn't a glaring truth hiding in plain sight. Chancellor's 27 and feels immortal. It's perfectly natural for a supreme athlete, who hits like almost no other football player of his generation does, to do so. He won't give a toss right now about his 50 year old self looking on disconcertingly. As unlikely as it is that Chancellor will sit for the whole year, I don't think we can rule it out wholeheartedly. This is barmy.

Shall we talk odds? We can if you like, but it ain't very pretty reading if you wanna talk Seattle travelling to St. Louis in the Russell Wilson era (RWE) ATS. Here's the lousy 0-3 record:

2012, Week 4: (Seahawks -2.5 at Rams) LOST 19-13
2013, Week 8: (Seahawks -11 at Rams) WON 14-9
2014, Week 7: (Seahawks -6.5 at Rams) LOST 28-26

Yep, lump on the Rams +4.5 points all you like this week ‘cos I won't be advising against it. The consensus is Seattle -4 although you can still grab a nibble of -3.5 over at Sky Bet as of Wednesday night. I do realise that it's futile writing that as you won't be reading this until Saturday at the earliest, but I include it so as to hopefully recognise what shifts there may be in the line as I generally complete these posts on a Saturday morning, when a point may have been shaved one way or the other over the course of a few days.

I remember that Week 8 game during the 2013 season vividly and not just because I had to get up at sparrow's fart o' clock on this side of the pond to watch it on MNF. Seattle had dismantled the Cardinals in Arizona eleven days prior, again on national TV, 34-22, a score and a final outcome that seriously flattered the Cards. The Rams, as they always do in their dome against the Seahawks, played very, very hard football and, as the outcome became ever more inconclusive, Twitter was awash with Seattle fans aghast at the Seahawks even daring to have Super Bowl aspirations. ‘We're making the Rams look good!' The (current) Rams always look good against the Seahawks in St. Louis. The earth spins on its axis. The (current) Rams always look good against the Seahawks in St. Louis. It's how it should be.

In the aftermath of that night, to even dare to whisper to somebody, "Seahawks over Broncos, 43-8 in the Super Bowl, it's gonna happen," would've met with a likely riposte: ‘Seattle's gonna tape Denver's walkthrough!' Alright, bit strong that.

It's now Friday and it would appear that, what I wrote above, about the possibility of Kam staying away for the whole year, is well wide of the mark. Kris Richard is "encouraged" over what's going on behind the scenes. I know you know this, but here's more: "Everybody cares. Everybody wants the right thing. Everybody wants him here. He wants to be here. We want him here and right now, there will be a resolution and it will come down to it. Ultimately, we're encouraged by it. He's involved. He's with us. He's still here."

Now, I read that and my immediate reaction was that that purports to Chancellor being back by about Week 3 or 4. You may think differently, but Richard, from whatever he knows, which must be significant, is surely implying that this won't reach anywhere close to eight games. It's a leaning that's backed up by the schedule, if we're to fear the worst. The Seahawks could easily lose this week and then it's off to Green Bay which, apart from the trip to Baltimore in Week 14 (in primetime...goosebumps, three months prior) appears to be Seattle's *toughest road trip. Tough? If ever a team was in FU mode, it's the 2015 Packers and the hated-more-than-anybody Seahawks just happen to show up in Week 2, again in primetime. Memories are still beyond raw and to say it'll be a baying crowd that night is to put it too simplistically.

*Dallas and Minnesota ain't pretty fixtures either.

So, yes, the early schedule. Let's say Seattle is on the wrong end of an upset on Sunday. In my head only, I'm already writing off Week 2. Yep, I'm the idiot, but my glass is always half empty. Seattle sits at 0-2 before the visit of Chicago, a matchup the Seahawks won't lose. Does the front office pay Kam after Green Bay or after Chicago? Hell, he may show up regardless, but let's assume he doesn't. Detroit visit in Week 4 and we all know what that means; I have Kam back by then.

Of course, I'm going to be wrong and Seattle's 3-0 before Golden Tate's homecoming, which likely means that Chancellor will only be coming back on his own terms before, let's say, Week 8. OK, enough of this conjecture and apologies for any meandering on my part.

One last thing though...should the Seahawks lose this week, it's likely to have nothing to do with the absence of Chancellor. St. Louis's defensive front is frightening and the oldest news in the NFL this week is that they're sure to wreak havoc with Seattle's offensive line. Russell Wilson could well resemble Barry Sanders on Sunday, but only in regards to how many yards Sanders ran laterally during his career. When Pete Carroll said earlier this week that Fred Jackson would play "a lot" on Sunday, you kinda know he wasn't tipping his hat to Jackson's rushing ability.

As of Saturday morning, the Seahawks are still available -3.5 points and I thought it prudent to look at Seattle's record on the road ATS in the RWE when favoured by between a field goal and a touchdown, so between 3.5 and 6.5 points, discounting 3 point and 7 point spreads. It began rosily:

2012, Week 15: (-5.5 at Bills in Toronto) WON 50-17
2013, Week 7: (-6.5 at Cardinals) WON 34-22
2013, Week 10: (-4.5 at Falcons) WON 33-10

However, since then:

2014, Week 2: (-4.5 at Chargers) LOST 30-21
2014, Week 7: (-6.5 at Rams) LOST 28-26
2014, Week 8: (-4.5 at Panthers) WON 13-9

Inconclusive and it doesn't encourage me to lay the hard earned on Seattle on Sunday. The Seahawks shouldn't struggle defensively this week and to state the blindingly obvious, how Seattle's offensive line holds up helps shape the outcome. The Under at 41.5 looks very appealing.

Courtesy of oddsshark.com, here's a few trends:

The total has gone Over in 4 of Seattle's last 5 games
The total has gone Over in 5 of St. Louis's last 7 games
Seattle is 15-6 ATS in its last 21 games on the road
St. Louis is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games against Seattle

Over the first eight games of last season, Seattle was 3-5 ATS. They then went 8-1 ATS over their next nine (KC being the sole failure) before failing to cover against Green Bay in the NFCCG and then New England.

The Minnesota Vikings are -2.5 points at San Fran on Monday night? Looks to be a steal.

Thanks for having me back.

Please gamble responsibly.