Bet Seahawks ATS vs. Packers in Thursday NFL Opener

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 5:42 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014 5:42 PM UTC

The wait is almost over, real NFL football and hunger by those wanting to make NFL picks and beat the betting odds has arrived. What a terrific opener to gorge ourselves on to start the season! Seattle is the odds on favorite at sportsbooks to repeat as Super Bowl champions, but like most champs, staying atop the mountain is much harder than making the climb. Here is a betting preview of this huge confrontation.

Green Bay Confident They Can Move Up
After their last preseason game coach Mike McCarthy said, "It's a group that has gotten better each and every week. I really like the mix from an experience standpoint - the veterans and the young players."

But as every NFL football handicappers knows a trip to the Super Bowl in Arizona will most likely have to go through Seattle if you reside in the NFC.

For the Packers to be a true contender, Aaron Rodgers has to stay healthy and hits on him have to be reduced. That means the offensive line has to be better in pass protection, which has not been their strong suit.

The addition of Eddie Lacy gives Green Bay a legitimate running game, which takes some of the pressure off of Rodgers and sets up potentially bigger plays in the passing game.

The Packers defense has been the weak link since winning the Super Bowl in 2010. Injuries have played a part but so has ineffectiveness at the point of attack, which is why Julius Peppers was brought in and changes were made in the secondary.

The Packers like their team and they will find out immediately how accurate they are.

Will Role Switch Hurt Seattle
Every team that wins a Lombardi Trophy knows the pratfalls that come with taking home the hardware and while every coach and player swears nothing will change, it always does.

Pete Carroll at least has an understanding of what it takes when coaching at USC. Despite all the great teams and assembly line of NFL players that went through Southern Cal, he never won back to back BCS titles.

This professional level of football is even harder, with the talent gap not as steep, salary caps to keep a semblance of balance, along with more difficult schedules as division champions.

Possibly the biggest change is how the champions see themselves and how others do.

The Seahawks are the new benchmark, something everyone now strives to achieve and waiting are 16 opponents to knock you off.

While Seattle took a few hits in player losses, it was not horrible and they come into a new season as clean as anyone from this perspective because they had the best roster in football a year ago.

Russell Wilson will have to continue his maturation as teams will strive to keep him in the pocket even more. Marshawn Lynch hopes to prove he’s not losing any burst and Percy Harvin is finally completely healthy.

The defense has size and strength in the line, the linebackers can all run and hit and everyone knows what the “Legion of Boom” brings.

Time for Seattle to begin its title defense.

The Numbers Game
Seattle opened as 5.5-point home favorites versus the NFL odds against the Packers and was bumped to -6. However, as this went live at SBR, just over 50 percent of those generating sports picks were on the Pack.

The total has also been on the rise, from 45 to 46, with two-thirds backing the OVER.

What to Watch For and Spread Winner
Seattle will want to immediately test biggest perceived weakness of the Green Bay defense, right in the middle with the loss of B.J. Raji. The strength of the Seahawks offensive line is it two guards J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter and they will attempt to soften up Green Bay in the A-gaps. If this is successful, Wilson will look to take shots against the Packers reconfigured secondary.

When these teams met in the same location two years ago in the infamous – Replacement Refs – game, Seattle hit Rodgers repeatedly. Green Bay has to keep their quarterback upright and having Lacy can be a large help. Look for the Pack to use a lot of no huddle to limit substitutions for the Seahawks and get them flowing in different directions with screens and quick outs.

Most oddsmakers now give Seattle four points for playing at home, thus they consider these teams fairly even. However, first game back home, Green Bay with defensive changes, just a little too much for the Packers, who lose by a touchdown.

NFL Free Pick – Seattle covers

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