Packers-Seahawks 'Under' 47 for Thursday NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 4, 2014 12:37 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 4, 2014 12:37 PM UTC

There are plenty of good reasons to bet the OVER in Week 1. But will the defending Super Bowl champions and their top-ranked defense ruin our football betting party in Thursday night’s season opener?

Touchdowns? We’ve had a few. The NFL has turned into a quarterback dream factory; scoring has risen in each of the past five seasons, partly because offenses are getting better/faster, and partly because defenses aren’t allowed to hit quite as hard as they used to. There’s a lot to love about the new NFL – especially if you bet on NFL totals, where the OVER has become the default pick of choice.

It’s even easier to auto-bet the 'Over' in Week 1. As we revealed in our Week 1 betting trends report, the 'Over' went 29-18-1 in season openers the past three years. You’d expect the offenses to enjoy the advantage in early September; like the white pieces in chess, they act first, and it’s up to the defenses to adjust. But what if the defense in question happens to be the Best in the World?


No Yards
The Seattle Seahawks didn’t need a lot of time to adjust last year. They already had the No. 2-ranked defense in the league in 2012, according to the efficiency charts at Football Outsiders. And in 2013’s opener, Seattle smothered the Carolina Panthers 12-7 (UNDER 44.5), holding Carolina to 253 yards of total offense while allowing one solitary visit inside the red zone. The Seahawks finished the year with the league’s No. 1 defense and an UNDER record of 10-6. Oh, and the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

So what can the Seahawks do for an encore? Their 2014 campaign starts Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at The Clink when they host the Green Bay Packers. At press time, our NFL odds show totals for this matchup going as high as 47.5 points, up from 45 at the open. The consensus reports have nearly 60 percent of bettors still taking the 'Over' at 47 points after a heavy burst in early action. Very interesting indeed.


There Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Ha
While the Seahawks were doing their thing last year, Green Bay was stumbling its way to the NFC North title while driving the 'Over' to a 9-7 record. And that was with QB Aaron Rodgers (104.9 passer rating) missing seven games with a broken clavicle. When he did start, the 'Over' fared even better at 5-3. But the real credit goes to the Packers defense, which was second worst in the league last year in terms of efficiency.

Rodgers will be back in the saddle Thursday night. It’ll be a different Packers defense, though. Among the upgrades for 2014: eight-time Pro Bowl LB Julius Peppers, signed away from the Chicago Bears, and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, drafted out of the Alabama Crimson Tide with the No. 21 overall pick. Having CB Casey Hayward back on the field could prove even more important after his promising 2012 rookie campaign.


Iron Lion Guion
There is one pressing issue with the new Green Bay defense, and it’s at a very important position: NT B.J. Raji (biceps) is out for the season. But this might not be as bad as it sounds. Raji was already a shadow of the player who made the Pro Bowl in 2011; his replacement, former Minnesota Viking Letroy Guion, shouldn’t be that much of a step down from Raji.

That’s assuming Guion suits up Thursday night. He missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury and is officially listed as questionable, although Guion is expected to make the start. No matter; offensive line isn’t Seattle’s strong suit, anyway. Let’s put this matchup in the 'Under' bucket for our Week 1 free NFL picks and try to take advantage of the shifting NFL lines.

NFL Pick: Put one unit on 'Under' 47 at 5Dimes

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Check Out All of Our NFL Betting Coverage For Tonight's Game:

-NFL Odds Offer Seahawks -6 Over Packers: Should We Bite?

-Bet Seahawks ATS vs. Packers in Thursday NFL Opener

-Thursday Night Prop Bets for Packers-Seahawks NFL Picks

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