Free Picks for Packers vs. Seahawks: Can Green Bay Pull an Upset?

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 2:07 PM GMT

Before betting on this Sunday's NFC Championship game, remember that although Seattle looked doomed at 6-4 heading into Week 11 they have rallied for 7 straight wins, on their way to the Super Bowl. 

Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks:Odds Overview and Weather
Seahawks -7, 46½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Sunday 20:05 [FOX (USA), Sky Sports 1 HD (UK), 3:05 p.m. ET/12:05 p.m. PT]:
The first participant in Super Bowl XLIX will be the winner of this game, the NFC Championship between the defending NFL champions, NFC’s top seed and host Seattle Seahawks (13-4 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) and QB Aaron Rodgers and the world-famous Green Bay Packers (13-4 SU, 9-7-1 ATS), to be played at CenturyLink Field in Seattle where it rains Starbucks and the residents’ umbrellas umbrellas have umbrellas.

Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook currently (Tuesday night) have the host Seahawks as 7-point favorites, although other casinos in town on the Don Best odds screen have moved to 7½ (The Mirage, Station Casinos) as have some popular offshores (Pinnacle, SIA) while 5Dimes is offering up the Seahawks -8½ +110. Whereas the Patriots point spread (AFC Championship) has trickled down since opening, this one has, and may continue to tick upward.

The Total Points in this game is set at 46½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) while the Money Line (Winner) odds sees Seattle -305 favorites with the visiting Green Bay priced at +269 (Pinnacle). The Packers Team Total Points is set at 20 (BetVictor) with the Seahawks Total Team Points at 27 (Boylesports).

Some random prop wagers for this afternoon fiesta of American football in the Emerald City: Will Either Team Score A Safety?,  No -1900 and Yes +700 (7/1, Bwin); Winning Margin, Seahawks 11-20 +320 (Paddy Power); First TD Scorer Marshawn Lynch +550 (bet365); and, First Half odds: Seahawks -4 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).

The Weather Channel’s forecast for this NFC Championship five days out (Tuesday) from Sunday calls for “Steady light rain in the morning; Showers continuing in the afternoon. High 51°F. Winds SSW 10 to 15 mph. 80% chance of Rain. Or, 1) Almost exactly the same conditions forecast for Foxboro, and 2) Typical Seattle, brother. Green Bay will not be scared of a little rain and 51° for the Cheeseheads feels like 84° to most normal Human Beings as their thick Dairyland blood is 80% blood with the other 20% being comprised of a fine mix of beer, cheese and sausage.

 

Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers (+500 to Win Super Bowl XLIX, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) big issue heading here is the health of QB Aaron Rodgers. The 31-year-old California native is still battling a strained calf and limped through the second half of Sunday’s 26-21 home win over the Dallas Cowboys and Rodgers (341 completions, 4,381 yards, 38 TDs, regular season) timetable for practice remained undetermined until Wednesday. But a gimpy QB against this rabid Seattle defense is like a baby gazelle trying to outrun a hungry lion. The Packers (12-2 SU L14) will be forced to hope underrated RB Eddie Lacy (246 rushes, 1,139 yards, 9 TDs, +110 Anytime TD Scorer, bet365) can help establish some kind of ground game and pick up yardage and move the ball upfield as he has done of late; provide solid protection for their wounded QB; and, design quick-hit pass plays with Rodgers throwing from the pocket and using minimal footwork and leg motion. With his calf and the Seahawks defense, don’t expect any scrambling from Rodgers as it’s hard enough beating Seattle, let alone trying to accomplish it with Matt Flynn at the helm.

As is always the case for Green Bay (4-2 L6 SU Road), the dynamic WR duo of  Jordy Nelson (98 receptions, 1,519 yards, 13 TDs, 15.5 ypg, -125) and Randall Cobb (91 receptions, 1,287 yards, 12 TDs, 14.1 ypc, -140) will be Green Bay’s light at the end of the proverbial tunnel although these two and Rodgers will really be up against the best defense in the NFL and the best defense in professional football since the 1985/86 Chicago Bears. TE Andrew Quarless (29 receptions, 323 yards, 3 TDs, +240), TE Richard Rodgers (20 receptions, 225 yards, 2 TDs, +475) and WR Davante Adams (38 receptions, 446 yards, 3 TDs, +240)  will also be important here as will Aaron Rodgers (+550) ability or inability to dump it short to his RBs when in trouble. Rodgers may right now actually be petrified watching Seattle tape.

Green Bay leads the NFL with a +14 TO margin (+0.8 pg)—Seattle is fourth with +8 and has averaged +1.7 TO per game L3 games—and the Packers (8-1 L9 SU) will need to get the breaks, play virtually mistake-free football and get an epic performance from its middle-of-the-road defense here to have any chance to win outright in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. And Green Bay QB Rodgers sustaining a first half injury is something all serious handicappers and sports gamblers really need to consider here. The cowboy has limped through his last two gunfights, but I’m unsure if guns are even the weapon of choice for this Seahawk team. The old Forearm Shiver seems to be the soup du jour in the land where Bigfoot lives free of the IRS, Nickelback, Dr. Phil and Cialis commercials.

When guys are leaping over the line of scrimmage untouched to try to block kicks then all bets are off. And whether or not players like Kam Chancellor with Super Powers should  even be allowed to play. And should Chancellor or Bobby Wagner or Richard Sherman or anyone else impact or create muscle strain and extension with Rodgers early on in this game, Green Bay could potentially be scrambling to find a way to beat the best team in football on the road without their fearless leader.  

 

Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks (25-2 SU L27 Home) have now won and almost covered 7 straight games (6-0-1 ATS), winning all 7 by double digits and allowing a total of just 53 points (3, 3, 14, 7, 6, 6, 14) in the process. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (53-33-2 ATS) is the NFL’s version of Urban Meyer (Ohio State), and rallied his troops from a 6-4 record to its current 13-4 overall mark with much help from the returns of LB Bobby Wagner and the aforementioned SS Chancellor, who both energized this team to this current level of frenzy which is basically Gridiron Art.

Seattle’s defense ranks #1 in the NFL against the Pass (185.6 ypg), #3 against the Rush (81.5 ypg) and is tops in Total Points Allowed (again) so, it’s obvious that the bitch is back. How was your weekend?

Seattle (+120 to Win Super Bowl XLIX) ranked a pathetic 27th in Passing (203.1 ypg) in the regular season, but WR Doug Baldwin (66 receptions, 825 yards, 3 TDs, +130) and WR Jermaine Kearse (+150) and others have been getting it done lately and combined with the unstoppable running of RB Marshawn Lynch (280 rushes, 1,306 yards, 13 TDs)—a fantastic bet for Anytime TD Scorer (-162) in this NFC Championship game—and dynamic QB Russell Wilson (285 receptions, 3,475 yards, 20 TDs, +162), the Seahawks (4-0-1 L5 ATS Home) have the #1 Rushing attack in the league (172.6 ypg). With Green Bay ranked #23 against the Run (119.9 ypg), this could be a real problem for Mike McCarthy’s boys and you know Carroll will try to exploit it although handing the ball to Lynch in itself play-after-play has a certain element of simplistic genius to it. The Mississippi River flows south and Marshawn Lynch runs forward.

Keep in mind before jumping on your NFL pick that on the injury front for the Seahawks, TE Tony Moeaki (calf) and S Jeron Johnson (elbow) were both listed as Questionable (on Monday) so in all honesty, it seems the weather could be rainy but not cold and football-fine in both NFL conference championship tilts on Sunday and the only real injury worth worrying about is Rodgers’. And this could very well be the game his calf finally goes, thanks to these ferocious Seahawks.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
These two elite NFL teams met back in Week 1 in the season opener and the Seahawks took care of business, beating and easily covering against Green Bay as 4½-point favorites in a 36-16 win here at CenturyLink Stadium. And that scoreline could repeat itself this weekend as there is no doubt Seattle is playing much, much better now than it was from the get-go and the Packers had a non-gimpy Rodgers at the helm. The big thing about playing here in Seattle (6-0 SU L6 Home) is the crowd, the Guinness World Book of Records-setting noise and the advantage which is worth well more than twice as much as the 3 points NFL odds makers apply for the hosts in the point spread. The Seahawks crowd and that stadium and its isolated location in the Pacific Northwest may be worth 7 points or more. Long trips and strange beds and different time zones are only good for the dudes who have won a mind-boggling 25 of their last 27 games in this building and not for the hotel dwellers.

Green Bay is an impressive 6-3 SU in the L9 meetings with the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks but Seattle is 4-2 SU L6 at home against the Packers but a disappointing 2-3-2 ATS L7 overall against Green Bay. Statistics.

Totals trends are a mixed bag going in with the Under 4-2 in the L6 meetings in Seattle and 5-2  in the L7 Packers and Seahawks games. But, the Over is 14-7 L21 Packers games; 12-6 in Green Bay’s L18 on the road; and, 4-2 in the L6 in this series which has more than its share of freaky moments through the years.

With the Seahawks on a monster role reminiscent of last historic season, at home in the rain before its loving crowd for the last time this season and with Rodgers mobility and ability to last four quarters against these ravenous blue, green and silver-colored robots a massive issue, the way to approach this appears to be in taking the Seahawks as early as possible and trying to get the best number before it rises in what could be Seattle’s eighth straight game without an ATS or SU loss, eighth straight double-digit win and victorious return to the Super Bowl XLIX where it will no doubt be installed as solid favorites.

Prediction: Seahawks 30 Packers 17

Free NFL Picks: Seahawks -7 (Westgate), Marshawn Lynch Anytime TD Scorer -162 (bet365)