Falcons Seahawks Odds

The Seattle Seahawks are 8-1 overall this season, including a 4-1 record on the road.  Their lone loss this season came on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in a 34-28 shootout.  They have had two games go to overtime this season.  The first was a 23-20 victory over Houston in week four, and last weeks game against the Buccaneers at home.  This week they will be on the road when they face the 2-6 Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons have had a less than stellar season.  They are 2-6, but have a 2-2 record when playing at home.  The Falcons are currently sitting in third place in their division, and with a loss to Carolina already on the books they are playing every game like it is a must win situation.  Their wins have not done a lot to inspire any confidence, beating the Rams and Buccaneers.  Four of their six losses have been decided by a touchdown or less, but the two losses that were by a double-digit margin have come in the last two weeks.

Kick-off takes place this Sunday at 1:00 PM ET with regional television coverage provided by FOX.  The oddsmakers expect Seattle to have no problem winning this game on the road.  They are currently listed as 6.5-point favorites with the total set at 44.5-points.

Why Seattle Covers

The Seattle Seahawks have several key advantages in this matchup.  First of all they are an outstanding running team facing a very soft run defense.  The Seahawks average 147 rushing yards per game, and will face a Falcons defense that has given up 4.5 yards per carry.  Seattle may not gain a lot of yardage through the air, but I would be surprised if they didn’t surpass their season averages against this depleted Falcons secondary.  Atlanta has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete over 65% of their pass attempts for 249 passing yards per game this season.

The Seattle Seahawks are 22-9 against NFC opponents over the last three seasons.

The biggest matchup advantage the Seahawks have in this game is their defense.  They have held opponents to a mere 16.6 points per game this season.  They face a Falcons team that has been plagued with injuries this season.  Julio Jones is out for the year, Roddy White is less than productive when he is even healthy enough to play, and Steven Jackson hasn’t been 100% since the first week of the season.  Seattle’s secondary is holding its opponents to a mere 58.8% completion percentage this season for 180 passing yards per game.  That is over 100 yards less than what the Falcons have done this season, but Atlanta has not faced a defense as strong as Seattle’s.

Why Atlanta Covers

If anyone can pick apart a solid secondary it is Matt Ryan.  Without his top receiver that will be a much tougher task to accomplish, but he should play well enough to keep his team in the game since they have home field advantage.  The Falcons have not lost by more than a touchdown at home this season, and the Seahawks offense has done little to impress several times this season.  The Seahawks average just 22.2 points per game on the road, while Atlanta has managed to score 28.2 points per game at home.  They have done that without their top two players who have been out with injury for over half the season.

This matchup falls into a system to play on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points after failing to cover in two of their last three games, when they have won 25% or less of their games this season and are playing a team with a winning record.  This system is 124-72 ATS.

Atlanta’s defense has not played well at times, but that is not entirely the defensive unit’s fault.  The offense is without several playmakers  which has cause Atlanta to punt more often than they have in past seasons.  They are consistently losing the time of possession battle, and that takes its toll on a defense.  Regardless, when playing at home they have completed 73.4% of their pass attempts and averaged 376 yards per game.  They should have enough scoring drives to keep the defense well rested against a mediocre offensive attack from Seattle.

My Pick

Seattle’s offensive struggles have shown at times throughout the year, but I have to side with the hot team in this game.  The Seahawks have won four straight games, while Atlanta has been torched in their last two.  Getting the half point under a touchdown makes Seattle a strong value play in this game.  I think the under is an even better play since neither offense should do a lot of scoring, and the Seahawks stellar defense should keep Atlanta well under their typical scoring pace for a home game.