Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14, up to January 9 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
Is 98 percent good enough? That’s the probability of precipitation we’re looking at for Saturday afternoon’s matchup (4:35 p.m. ET, FOX) between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks. We’re talking rain, folks. Not tons of it, just light showers, but the weather experts are calling for wind as well – up to 25mph. Just another beautiful January day in Seattle.
Beautiful if you like money, that is. These are the kind of weather conditions that favor the UNDER, and our NFL consensus reports show 57 percent of bettors jumping on the bandwagon, driving the football totals down from 48.5 points at the open to 46.5 as we go to press. The sharps were on the UNDER right out of the gate, too, and that’s pretty big news considering that the OVER has become a near auto-bet for many handicappers in today’s high-octane NFL.
The Big Breezy
I’m fully on board with this pick. It was much the same in Week 13, when I recommended UNDER 47.5 in a Saints-Seahawks matchup under similar weather conditions – although slightly less oppressive than what’s in store this week. Seattle (UNDER 10-6) ended up winning that game 34-7, staying under the posted total despite scoring three touchdowns on offense and another one on defense.
The football betting logic hasn’t changed much since then. New Orleans (UNDER 11-6) plays its home games at the Superdome, and is traditionally not very good outside in the cold. The Saints won their first-ever away playoff game last week against the Philadelphia Eagles (26-24, UNDER 54.5), and that seems to have encouraged bettors to take New Orleans this Saturday, but one game is one game, and the Eagles defense is the Eagles defense.
The Seahawks are a whole other kettle of fish. Their defense ranked No. 1 overall (No. 1 pass, No. 8 rush) at the end of the regular season, and remained in the top spot after Football Outsiders updated their efficiency stats through Wild Card weekend. Seattle should be even tougher on Saturday than it was in Week 13, thanks to the return of CB Walter Thurmond III, who was suspended the last time these two teams met.
And let’s not overlook the Saints defense, which the NFL betting public is wont to do. New Orleans was dead-last in the league last year thanks to Bountygate, but bounced back all the way to No. 10 this year (No. 6 pass, No. 20 rush) under the watchful eye of new defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan. Studly CB Keenan Lewis is expected to suit up this week after suffering a concussion during the Eagles game.
There’s another important X-factor for Saturday’s game: WR/KR Percy Harvin, who has the wheels to take this pick and make it look very silly. Harvin (20 TD catches, five return TDs in 43 career starts) practiced Tuesday and appears on course to face New Orleans for the first time this year. Rookie TE Luke Willson (20 catches, 1 TD) is also expected to play after practicing Tuesday.
The usual weekly computer projections are out, and surprise surprise, they’re split between this game going UNDER or OVER. I tend not to give these projections too much credence, but every once in a while, they match up closely enough to deliver some guidance. This is not one of those times. It doesn’t have to be, though; we’ve got pretty much all the conditions we need for a solid UNDER bet, and if you can get the NFL odds at 47 points or higher, then do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.NFL Pick: Take UNDER 47.5 at Loose Lines