Here's this handicapper's take on the NFC championship game Sunday afternoon, in Seattle with a free NFL playoff pick when they'll decide the NFC's entrant in the Super Bowl.
NFC Championship Game Betting Odds
Most of the NFL odds market opened this game with Seattle favored by seven points, the total offered at 47. In the early betting some books bumped the Seahawks to -7.5.
Bettors who think Green Bay might win this game outright could get +270 on the NFC championship game moneyline at Bookmaker.
Packers-Seahawks: The Match-Up
As those placing NFL picks will recall, Seattle suffered a bit of a Super Bowl letdown this season, starting 3-3, and after losing at Kansas City in November sat at 6-4 straight up, 4-6 against the spreads. But since then the Seahawks are 7-0 SU, 5-1-1 ATS, after defeating Carolina in an NFC divisional-round bout last week 31-17. Seattle only led 14-10 through three quarters, but scored twice to bump the lead to 24-10, then iced the victory with a 90-yard interception return for a score by Kam Chancellor.
However, the Seahawks actually got outgained and outrushed by the Panthers, and lost time-of-possession by a 34/26 margin. Still, thanks to the late defensive score, Seattle covered the spread as a 13-point favorite.
Green Bay, meanwhile, started 1-2 this season, with losses at Seattle and at Detroit, but is 12-2 SU and 9-5 ATS since then, after outlasting Dallas last week in the other NFC divisional-round game at Lambeau Field 26-21. The Packers took an early 7-0 lead, but trailed 21-13 late into the third quarter. Green Bay then scored twice in an eight-minute span to take the lead, and then, as you might have heard, received the benefit of a bad rule on a Cowboys non-touchdown with about four minutes to go. The Pack then ran out the clock from there for the victory.
Green Bay got outrushed 145-119, but outgained Dallas 425-315, as a gimpy Aaron Rodgers threw for 316 yards and three scores, without an interception, of course.
However, the majority of the betting public pegged that game right, betting the spread down from Packers -7 to Packers -5.5; Dallas hung on for the cover.
Packers-Seahawks Recent History
Green Bay and Seattle met back on Opening Night of this season, when Seattle broke open a close game late for a 36-16 victory. The Seahawks dominated, for the most part, but only led 20-10 late into the third quarter, before polishing the Packers off.
Seattle outrushed Green Bay that night 207-80, outgained the Pack 398-255, held a 33/27 time-of-possession advantage and covered the spread as a five-point home favorite.
Two seasons ago these teams played one of the more memorable regular-season games of late, the one that ended with the infamous “Fail Mary,” which gave the Seahawks a 14-12 victory. Cheesehead Nation still hasn't gotten over that one.
Key Betting Stats
Seattle outrushed opponents this season by a 173-82 YPG margin, easily the best in the league; Green Bay battled foes to a 120-120 tie on the ground. Teams that outrushed their opponents this NFL season covered the spread 69 percent of the time.
Seattle ranked third in the league in average time-of-possession at 32:22, while Green Bay ranked 15th at 30:32. Teams that won the TOP battle this NFL season covered the spread 66 percent of the time.
Packers-Seahawks Betting Trends
Seattle is 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS at home this season, and 27-3 SU, 23-7 ATS over its last 30 home games.
Green Bay is 4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS on the road.
Including last week's victory/cover Seattle is now 6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS against teams that made the playoffs this season.
The Packers are 4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS against playoff qualifiers.
Seattle went 8-8 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, even though Seahawks games averaged just 40.5 total points. But Seattle has also played five UNDERS in its last seven games, as the Seahawks have allowed just eight PPG during that span.
Green Bay went 11-5 on the totals this season, as Packers games averaged 52 points. But the Pack have also played three UNDERS in their last four games, mainly because their defense has held foes to 16 PPG over that span.
Packers-Seahawks Free Pick
Seattle handled Green Bay earlier this season, and not much has changed since then. Also, the thought of an immobile Rodgers standing in the pocket against the Seahawks pass rush is a little scary. So while our heart might reside with Green Bay, our brain and our wallet say Seattle.
Free NFC Championship Pick: Seahawks -7 at BetOnline