Ah, injuries. In the NFL they are a certainty and in turn test the depth of each roster greatly throughout the season. For the Seattle Seahawks, depth has been a testament to John Schneider’s genius and Pete Carroll’s philosophy of ‘Always Compete,’ as next-man-up has worked out more often than not over the last few years.
But in the wagering world, important player injuries bring a shadow of doubt so large that all previous trends and results have to be thrown out the window. Or do they? One school of thought is to wager on systems instead of players, where looking at trends based on coaching matchups is more valuable than the players on the field. This is especially useful when analyzing early season games in basketball, for instance.
With that in mind, Seattle finds themselves as 5.5 to 6.5-point favorites on the road against the 5-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The total has opened at 45 points, and has held steady there throughout the week.
The Buccaneers have been terrible on defense at home this year, to the tune of 29.4 points per game allowed. That type of performance will earn you a 1-4 SU and ATS record in that situation pretty quickly, which is where Tampa Bay stands coming into this game. I wouldn’t exactly categorize the offenses that they have played at home as world beaters either, as the Rams and Broncos come to mind as underachievers so far. They put up 37 and 27 against the Bucs, respectively. In the Seahawks they will face a team that has trended in the right direction in offense for the last three weeks and whose health is the best it has been all season – C.J. Prosise (and now Justin Britt) aside.
The last time these two teams played was in Seattle in November of 2013, with Russell Wilson facing off against that tall drink of water named Mike Glennon. Even though the Seahawks won the game in overtime, they had an atypical home start, falling behind 21-0 before Wilson took over. Bobby Wagner, Michael Bennett, and Cliff Avril recorded sacks, and Earl Thomas led the team in tackles with eight. But it was the the Bucs rushing game that pressed the issue, as they were able to amass 205 yards on the ground before succumbing to a late Wilson to Doug Baldwin TD.
This game isn’t seeing a lot of action just yet, but what wagers have been placed are coming in on Seattle. The Seahawks are garnering 68% of wagers placed with a value of 83% of the total money wagered. Interestingly enough, it was the Buccaneers last week that were the sharp pick at +7 against the Chiefs – picking up 98% of the money wagered on their matchup. They won outright against Kansas City on the road, 19-17. Seattle’s side at 83% of value is the highest of any NFL game so far in Week 12.
The injury situation in this game favors the offenses in my opinion, with both teams missing key pieces of their secondary. I expect that the Seahawks will be able to take advantage of the loss of corner Jude Adjei-Barimah. Those awesome trips packages we saw with Prosise could still see the light of day with George Farmer in the mix. But really, Doug Baldwin one-on-one with the second string should be enough to get the job done in most cases. For Tampa Bay, they need to put up about 17 points to have the Over be a lock and I like their chances at home, if not only because I see them receiving 8 kickoffs in this game. Although I’ll probably lay a few bucks on the Hawks at -6 in this one, the play of Over 45 points will be my heavy hitter on Sunday.