Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 30 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
Remember what I said about the Seattle Seahawks and bad news getting worse? It happened again. Studly WR/KR Percy Harvin didn’t practice on Thursday or Friday after suffering a setback with his hip injury; Ian Rapoport at NFL.com tweeted that Harvin was “in doubt” for Seattle’s Monday Night Football matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) with the New Orleans Saints.
Lousy break for Harvin, but this development could play right into the hands of football betting enthusiasts. There’s a total of 47.5 points on the NFL odds board for Monday’s contest (up from 46.5 points at the open), with our consensus reports showing about two-thirds support for the OVER. It’s already supposed to be a typically lousy December night in Seattle – as far as the weather is concerned. Should we open up our wallets and bet the UNDER?
The Labrum and the Damage Done
It’s been a rough year across the board for NFL players, but that goes double for Seattle’s wide receiver corps. Harvin came over from the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason for a first-round pick in 2013 and a couple more picks in 2014; unfortunately, Harvin tore a hip labrum during workouts and didn’t make his Seahawks debut until Week 11 against his former club. He had a couple of good touches to help Seattle (10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS, OVER 6-5) win 41-20 when sportsbooks listed them as 13-point home chalk. The 45-point total was toast with more than 12 minutes remaining.
Getting Harvin back in the lineup in time for the playoffs became even more important when the Seahawks lost another Minnesota transplant, WR Sidney Rice, for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. There are other talented options on the Seattle roster, namely WR Golden Tate (42 catches, four TDs), WR Doug Baldwin (32 catches, three TDs) and TE Zach Miller (22 catches, three TDs). But Miller is the only member of that trio to make the Pro Bowl like Harvin and Rice did in 2009.
Cloudburst on Occidental Avenue
Wide receiver is an overvalued position anyway, so it’s not the death of scoring just because Harvin and Rice aren’t in the lineup. Every little bit helps, though. How about some divine precipitation? Monday’s weather forecast calls for temperatures hovering just above the freezing mark, with a 50/50 chance of rain or snow at kick-off. And a touch of wind, just for good measure. This is the stuff of UNDERs.
The Saints and their No. 3-ranked offense might have something to say about that. But at the other end of the field, the Seahawks counter with the No. 1-ranked defense, aided and abetted by one of the loudest crowds in the known universe. New Orleans is used to playing indoors at the Superdome, so these conditions could prove troublesome for the Saints.
Taste the Rainbow
Let’s not forget about Beast Mode. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch (4.4 yards per carry, nine TDs) is one of the finest power runners in the NFL, chewing up yardage and chewing up the clock in the process. Lynch should get plenty of carries on Monday night with Harvin and Rice both on the shelf, and more so if the rain starts coming down like Skittles.
Plus, it’s the Saints, and it’s the NFL betting public, so people are prone to overbetting the OVER in this situation. New Orleans (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) has the UNDER at 6-5 on the season after cashing it in the last two games. There’s always the risk that the Saints will blow up for 49 points all by themselves like they did in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. But that’s a risk I’ll take.
NFL Pick: Take UNDER 47.5 (–103) at Marathon