Expect Same Result in Seahawks vs. Packers Rematch for NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Friday, January 16, 2015 6:07 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 6:07 PM UTC

This is the time of year when underdogs normally shine, but the Green Bay Packers will have trouble beating the NFL odds this Sunday when they visit the Seattle Seahawks in the Conference Round.

Jason’s 2014-15 postseason record: 3-1 ATS, 2-1-1 Totals

It’s like picking cherries off a tree. With so many casual bettors coming into the marketplace during the NFL playoffs, all we really had to do during the Divisional Round was auto-fade the home favorites. Only one of them beat the NFL odds: the Seattle Seahawks. And it took an earthquake-inducing pick-six from Kam Chancellor to get the job done in a 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers (+13.5 away).

The other three home faves failed to beat the spread, although two of them did advance to the Conference Round. That includes the Green Bay Packers, who came from behind to beat the Dallas Cowboys (+5.5 away) 26-21, thanks in part to the overturning of a would-be Dez Bryant catch based on the infamous “Calvin Johnson Rule.” The Packers are 7-point puppies for Sunday’s NFC title match (3:05 p.m. ET, FOX) in Seattle. Are these the underdogs we’re looking for?

7.5 the Hard Way
The marketplace seems to think so. According to our expanded consensus reports, Green Bay is pulling in over 70 percent of the action for Sunday’s contest, coming from 53 percent of the betting population. The average bet size on the Packers is $317. For the defending champions: $149. In most situations, this would suggest that Green Bay is the sharp NFL pick in this matchup.

This is not most situations. As we’ve been ranting about for a while now, the consensus numbers we’ve been seeing of late don’t seem all that indicative of what we’d normally consider sharp action – we’re looking at you, Denver Broncos supporters. True, the Packers are pretty big underdogs on Sunday. You can even get them at +7.5 with little or no extra vigorish on our NFL odds board. But that’s about the only thing going for Green Bay.

Just About that Action, Boss
On paper, Sunday’s game looks like it should be all Seahawks, all the time. They crushed Green Bay (+4.5 away) 36-16 in their 2014 season opener; Marshawn Lynch ran for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries, while Seattle’s immaculate defense held Aaron Rodgers to 189 yards passing – and added a safety for good measure.

This was back in September, when everyone was healthy. As you’re no doubt tired of hearing by now, Rodgers suffered a partially torn calf muscle in Week 17, and he clearly wasn’t himself against Dallas, despite going pick-free for 316 yards and three TDs. That was against the No. 22-ranked pass defense on the efficiency charts at Football Outsiders. Seattle is ranked No. 3.

How about the running game, then? Eddie Lacy torched the Cowboys for 101 yards on 19 carries. Well, Dallas had the No. 23-ranked rush defense during the regular season. The Seahawks were No. 2 in that category, and they held Lacy to 34 yards on 12 carries in the season opener. If that weren’t enough, Lacy’s name appeared on Thursday’s injury report with what’s being called a “minor” knee problem, and he had asthma problems playing at Lambeau Field last week.

Flip You for It
Heavy favorites not withstanding, the Seahawks bring plenty of betting value into Sunday’s contest. They’re only No. 10 on this year’s public money charts – Green Bay is No. 2. Seattle’s bread-and-butter is with defense and running, two undervalued commodities among casual bettors. And the Seahawks enjoy the best home-field advantage of any team in the NFL, so much so that pro handicappers value it at four points rather than the standard 2.5.

None of this means that Sunday’s game is a deadbolt lock. It’s the NFL, after all. The ball bounces funny. But we think Seattle has enough advantages to make this about a 57-43 coinflip for the home side; so add them to your NFL picks.  ...If only we could flip that coin 100 times every week.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Seahawks and the UNDER at 5Dimes

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