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Lions at Seahawks, NFL playoffs 2017: Wild Card Wagering

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s pick was to take the Hawks at all costs and to lay some heavy chalk against the lowly 49ers. Seattle decided instead to give me a lesson in hubris, as the Hawks lost two games in a row ATS for the first time this year. And so begins the 4th season in a row of abstaining from alcohol while the Hawks are alive in the playoffs. It got us a Super Bowl the first time!

If you thought that the Seattle Seahawks were limping into the playoffs there is a cowardly lion that I’d like you to meet from Detroit. The Lions come into this game losers of three in a row straight up and also four in a row ATS. They had a shot at the number two seed in the NFC as late as Week 15, but they almost played themselves right out of the postseason instead, thanks to a slightly more competitive division than the NFC West.

Detroit has not played well on the road this year, going 3-5 SU and ATS. The Seahawks at home alone will garner 4 points from Vegas, so the Hawks find themselves as 8-point favorites at most books. A few offshore sites are sticking to the opening 7.5 number, which is understandable as the line is actually moving against the 60% public action taking the points and the Lions.

The Over/Under has opened at 43. The Over has cashed twice in a row coming into this match up for both Seattle and Detroit, although the Lions had hit 8 Unders in a row coming into Week 16. I’ll think back fondly on my Over call in Week 16 with the Hawks at home versus Arizona, that money now buried in the crappy turf in Santa Clara after last week.

The last time these two teams met was in Seattle on Monday night last season in early October. It was unseasonably warm, 74 degrees at game time, which is about the nicest thing I can say about the game for the Seahawks. It was sloppy for the offense while the defense was dominant. The 13-10 score favoring Seattle is a little misleading, as Detroit recovered a fumble for a touchdown midway through the 4th quarter and the Seahawks had a few miraculous near misses. Seattle’s defense allowed just 53 yards on the ground though and forced 8 punts in that game, but that fumble recovery for a TD, one of 3 fumbles lost on the day for the Seahawks, allowed the Lions to cover the spread as a 10-point road underdog.

Seahawks vs. Lions

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Detroit’s defense didn’t do too shabby themselves in that ugly Monday night game, holding Thomas Rawls to 48 yards and sacking Russell Wilson 6 times. Jermaine Kearse was the leading receiver for Seattle, a sure sign that you are being forced into your 3rd option on offense a lot. Let’s just hope that Kearse continues to be the 3rd option, or latter, on Saturday.

The key to this game may well come down to 3rd down conversions, or lack thereof. Luckily for the Seahawks, the Lions are 31st in the NFL in defensive 3rd down conversion rate, and I’d look for some Wilson wizardry to keep drives alive in this game.

I’d like to get back in touch with hubris for a bit, as of course all realistic signs are that the Hawks will end up victorious in this game and bring their home record to 8-1 this season. You see this article is about gambling, and I don’t think it would be right not to bring up the biggest gamblers of them all this season when it comes to this team. It may be a bit of a simplistic idea, but the Pete Carroll/John Schneider brain trust decided to ride a roster one more time without investing in an offensive line at all – risking the greatest NFL asset of them all in the process, a franchise quarterback. It can be done the Seattle way, or the Dallas way, and we will soon find out if their success was luck or the effect of a true strategy. My guess is that “Big Balls Pete” wouldn’t have it any other way.

For myself, I’m just going to take the Detroit Lions on the moneyline at +320 (3.2 to 1 odds) to win this game straight up. I don’t have any hubris about this team left and if the experiment is going to fail on Saturday then I’ll get paid handsomely. At least the wager will serve to calm my nerves at kickoff.