Spread to Offer Best NFL Betting Value in Seahawks vs. Chargers

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 12:53 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014 12:53 PM GMT

While NFL betting trends might suggest a play on the total, find out why we have decided to focus our NFL picks on the spread in Sunday's matchup between the Seahawks and the Chargers.

Sunday’s game in San Diego should be one of the best games of the weekend, at least the way it looks on paper (or on the computer screen). But, then again, last Thursday’s season opener between the Seahawks and the Packers seemed like it would be a thriller, but ended up being a sober reminder to everyone watching that this Seattle defense is one for the ages.

Both teams here have what one really needs to have a chance in the NFL these days—a QB that is fearless and knows how to rally his team on offense. Russell Wilson has proved all doubters wrong and the University of Wisconsin product was a huge reason the Seahawks won their first NFL championship last season. The defense is really special and deserves all the credit and accolades it gets, but Wilson is the perfect QB for this Seahawks offense. And the same thing could be said about Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Whether or not team’s offenses mold to the personality of their successful QBs—think 1985 Bears and Jim McMahon—or if the QBs take on the characteristics of the rest of the offensive players and the OC and what was left for them is probably different from team to team. But both Wilson and Rivers define their offenses and as they go, or are shut down, so will go the Seahawks and the Bolts.

 

Seahawks Near-Touchdown Favorites Against Bolts in San Diego
The NFL odds respectfully have Seattle as 5½- to 6-point favorites with the Total set at 44½ points for this non-conference showdown which will either leave both teams with 1-1 records or the Super Bowl champs with a 2-0 mark and San Diego at 0-2 and cursing the NFL schedule-makers. Seattle isn’t exactly in love with those schedule-makers either, as the Seahawks play the 7th hardest slate in the NFL this season. San Diego (10-8 SU, 11-6-1 ATS) was extremely impressive against the number last season (64.7%) behind head coach Mike McCoy but Seattle (16-3 SU, 13-6 ATS) was even better (68.4%) and got its backers the bread easily against the Packers in the opener in the Emerald City.

On the money line, Seattle are pretty healthy -250 chalks (Chargers +200, Pinnacle) and if Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch is going to continue to play like he did against Green Bay in the opener (110 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and if WR Percy Harvin (7 receptions) can finally turn into that butterfly we know he is and field general Wilson continues to evolve, this team could actually be turning into one for the NFL ages. Seattle (5/1 odds to repeat as Super Bowl champions) allowed an average of just 14 points per game last season, and its defense is on par with some of the NFL’s great defenses, and are almost like an offense in that they are so defensive. The 1985 Bears were that way as were the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers. Scary defenses. And we’re watching from couches and bars. Imagine how scary it actually is for Seattle’s opponents’ offenses and their QB. On Sunday, Rivers gets to be the guy in that Captain Quint in Jaws role—not too fun for Philip in that he and his Chargers (opened 30/1 to win Super Bowl) just lost a heartbreaker (18-17) at Arizona on Monday Night Football to another somewhat frightening and perennially underrated defense in the Cardinals. At least the pay is good, right?

 

Some Sexy-Looking Trends Are Actually Like Stale Candy When Chewed
Many times, football guides and pundits and handicappers and touts and reporters and probably even some coaches spit out trends that sound intimidating and daunting but are really very hollow. And there are a couple here I found that, although they support my pick(s) and ultimate wager on this high-profile game, are pretty meaningless when put into their proper context. In the last four meetings between the Seahawks and the Chargers, Seattle is 4-0 ATS but that fourth game stretches all the way back 13 years to 2001—the last year the Seahawks were in the AFC West. So, so long ago that Seattle wasn’t even in the NFC brother. And Seattle is also 3-0 ATS in in L3 at San Diego, but that third game was actually in the last millenium (2000). These trends just don’t fit with the teams these teams are today, and have been of late.

There are a number of trends which support a play on the 'under' in this game. The 'under' is 7-2 in Seattle’s L9 games, 4-1 L5 on the road, 6-3 L9 against San Diego and 10-5 in the L15 at San Diego. And this could very well be a defensive struggle with the Chargers trying to do everything possible to avoid a nasty 0-2 start. For San Diego to knock off the Seahawks, Rivers and RB Ryan Matthews and WR Malcom Floyd will have to be near sheer perfection as well and physically ready for this meeting against a team that hits hard and leaves little open space for receivers to roam.

 

Who’s Afraid of Going Head-to-Head With a Godzilla-like Trend?
Not me. But before that, a couple more thoughts on this game and some betting markets. Because my heart—sometimes you have to go with your instincts over the megatrends one worships—this  Seattle goes in and blow out the Chargers like they are on a different level and do so (beat SD) by between 17 and 31 points, taking the Total Seahawks Points Over 24½ Even (Paddy Power) as well as a shot on the Winning Margins Odds with Seattle by 21-30, (+850 Paddy Power) seems a bit Seahawk Happy, but sometimes gambling is taking a shot that a game will be a blowout and doing some creative shopping in the props markets tailored backwards from the perceived score in your head. For me, here, that perceived score is around Seattle 37-13. And a Seahawks First Half  bet as well as a Seahawks Halftime/Fulltime Bet (-137, Ladbroke’s). For me, this is a favorite that easily covers in an NFL season which has started off with the Underdogs going 11-5 ATS in Week 1

Seattle was 6-2 ATS as a Road Favorite last season and, though a bit hollow, the Seahawks are 4-0-1 ATS in their L5 against the Chargers. And, of course, there’s that big handicapping reality that’s hard to quantify in that they are the Seahawks. This team and its legacy should probably best be judged in about five years.

Now, on to the aforementioned Godzilla-like trend which I am flying in the face of, something rare for a handicapper who actually has a lot of respect for trends and who is usually a heavy favorites player. It’s from one of my favorite handicapping tools, Marc Lawrence’s Playbook 2014 Football Preview Guide and it’s actually Lawrence’s ‘POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY’ in the Seattle Seahawks preview. And his advice: “PLAY AGAINST: at San Diego (9/14)”. So, he is saying to take the Chargers (and the 5½-6 points) here and the incredible trend that quite obviously put him on this opinion was this doozy: “The Seahawks are 1-23 SU away vs. .666 or greater AFC West foes (18 losses in a row).

So, Seattle has lost 18 straight in this quirky trend, and that’s straight up and not including any points involved. And here in Southern California head coach Pete Carroll and his team will be laying around 6, so I’m tabbing a team which has lost 18 in a row in this situation, willing to lay 6 and am predicting them to win by 20? Can you please call a doctor? But this is what gambling’s all about in the end—making up your own mind on betting or not betting, on who to take or who not to take and the ever-important and underrated reality of for exactly how much? The way Seattle played incredibly talented football clubs like the Denver Broncos and QB Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLVII (43-8) and the Green Bay Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers on Thursday Night Football (36-16)—in their last two games—basically treating them both like bananas in a blender, and beating them by a combined 55 points (27.5 ppg) defies logic. That’s Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers folks, two of the NFL’s greatest QBs ever. Think about it. Defense really matters in sports. 

Free NFL Picks: Seahawks -5½ (Westgate), Seahawks M/L -250 (Pinnacle)

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