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Seahawks vs Falcons: A closer look at this week’s spread

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos
Expect a lot of this for Atlanta
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It is a little bittersweet that I bring this article to you this week, as I have retired the Strategy Addict series (A bad play on the word “strategic”) to instead bring you the breakdown of the Seahawks as it relates to the week’s betting markets. It’s a promotion of sorts, as I had the pleasure of reading Rob Davies’ breakdowns over the last few years. My prose will most assuredly fall short of his, but let’s hope I can steer us to some winning picks all the same.

We start with the fact that the Seahawks have been instilled as 6-point favorites at home against one of the best offenses in the NFL. Their opponent this week, the Atlanta Falcons, are on the second game of back-to-back trips to the West and have a win in their cap for the first. They were in command of their game against Denver from start to finish last week, winning outright 23-16 as 4-point underdogs. That result put them 3-0 against the spread on the road this season, and 4-1 overall. After their Week 1 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Falcons have reeled off 4 straight wins ATS. They haven’t played in Seattle since October 2011, a 30-28 win in the pre-Russell era that failed to cover as 6-point road favorites.

You have to go back to the 2000 season to find two back-to-back games out west for Atlanta, both SU and ATS losses to San Francisco and Oakland. The Falcons also totally sucked that year and went 4-12. So, no conclusions to draw from there.

The Falcons have racked up yards and points on the road to the tune of 447 yards per game and 34.3 points per game. An impressive accomplishment to say the least, especially since some of that came against the vaunted Denver defense at Mile High. I would not be surprised if they are able to chew up plenty of yards again this week against Seattle. Their offense does play well into our ‘bend don’t break’ philosophy. As long as they take Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu out of the equation for huge plays over the top, expect the counter to be lots of check downs to running backs out of the backfield. This worked well in Denver as Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman had seven receptions for 167 yards out of the backfield. Sanu and Jones on the other hand, went a combined five receptions for 72 yards. I would expect the stat sheet to look more of the same after this game, minus the touchdowns. For reference in the bend-don’t-break category, the Seahawks are ranked 6th in the NFL in red zone opponent scoring percentage at 44.4%.

And here’s the rub, Atlanta is ranked 31st in red zone opponent scoring percentage – allowing opponents to score touchdowns an incredible 80% of the time they reach the 20-yard line. As long as Seattle can sustain drives down the field, they will be able to punch it in and trade touchdowns for field goals, which should be enough to get them over the top and cover the spread, which has since lifted to -6.5 in favor of the Hawks. Prediction 31-16 Seattle; covering the 6.5 points and a slight lean to the Over which sits at 46 points.

Find more of my NCAAF, MLB, and NFL picks and odds over at sportsbookreview.com.