The Seattle Seahawks have the dubious offense & lockdown defense that bettors crave when they make their ATS NFL picks. The Detroit Lions? M'eh.
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 2: 13-7 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 7-9 Total
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There are two things we're looking for here at the ranch when we make our NFL picks against the total: the early betting action, and the offense-defense balance of the teams in question. Weather plays a role, too. So do special teams. Okay, we're looking for more than two things, but it's mostly the first two on our list.
Sadly, we're not getting the kind of betting synergy we want for Monday night's matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) between the Detroit Lions and the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have a tremendous combination of slow offense and fearsome defense, the kind that makes the UNDER a tasty proposition. But our consensus reports showed a 50-50 split when the total opened at 42.5 points on our NFL odds board, and the OVER is bringing in 58-percent support at press time with the total at 43. Shazbot.
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We might be inclined to jump on the UNDER regardless. That was definitely the right play last week when the Seahawks blanked the Chicago Bears 26-0 (UNDER 43.5). Kam Chancellor's return to the Legion of Boom helped, as did Marshawn Lynch and his balky hamstring. He was held to 14 yards on five carries against the Bears. Lynch is said to be 50-50 for Monday Night Football.
We've already said plenty about the Seattle offensive line. Comparing it to Denver's seems appropriate enough, and wouldn't you know it, we had the UNDER in last week's epic matchup between the Broncos and the Lions. Denver won that game 24-12 (UNDER 44.5). Detroit has offensive line issues of its own, and Matthew Stafford has been hit so hard, he probably needs a crane to get out of bed in the morning. The Seahawks defense should be able to prolong Stafford's misery for another week.
So why the early action on the OVER? It's a relatively low total, although hardly the kind that screams for an auto-bet. And the Lions do have a suspect defense (No. 22 on the DVOA charts at Football Outsiders), although LB DeAndre Levy (hip) is practicing for Detroit and might make his season debut in Seattle. The Lions have allowed at least 24 points in each of their three games thus far.
We're also looking at clear skies over CenturyLink Field Monday night. And as far as special teams are concerned, Seattle has the best in the league with Tyler Lockett already scoring touchdowns on punt and kick returns. It's yet another marginal situation, folks, so we're recommending a tiny, tiny bet, and we're going to stick with the UNDER, after the success we had in the Broncos-Lions game. May the prolate spheroid be with you.
Free NFL Pick: Take UNDER 43 (-105) at Heritage