Dec 182013

Arizona Cardinals (9-5) at Seattle Seahawks (12-2)

Seattle at home is pretty much an auto-bet. They’ve been incredible at home over the past few years. Since 2007, they are 38-17 ATS at home, including 22-9 ATS as home favorites, and 11-3 ATS as home favorites of 7 or more. They have been especially good over the past two years, as they’ve broken out as an elite team, going 11-3 ATS since the start of the 2012 season. They’ve won all 14 games at home over the past 2 seasons by an average of 18.57 points per game.

The Cardinals are a solid football team, better than average in fact. They move the chains at a 72.03% rate, as opposed to 69.57% for their opponents, a differential of 2.45% that ranks 11th in the NFL. The Seahawks are obviously very good as well, moving the chains at a 73.77% rate, as opposed to 67.41% for their opponents, a differential of 6.36% that ranks 4th in the NFL. Using those, we can calculate the line at about 7 (the differences between the differentials plus 3 for home field).

However, that assumes that Seattle has a normal home field advantage, which they don’t. If anything, their home field advantage should be worth about 6 points. Since 2007, they outscore opponents by about 7.64 points per game at home by about 1.26 points per game in general. The difference between Seattle being at home and being at a neutral field in a sense is about 6, 6.5 points. If we use that for home field advantage, we get that this line should be around 10 or 10.5, which is exactly where it is.

Arizona also isn’t a very good road team. While they are 6-1 at home, including wins over Detroit, Carolina, and Indianapolis, on the road, they’ve lost in St. Louis, Philadelphia, got blown out in San Francisco and New Orleans, and only won by a field goal over Tampa Bay and Tennessee. The only road win by more than a field goal they have came against Jacksonville, who is probably the worst team in the NFL. If the Cardinals lost by double digits in San Francisco and New Orleans, why wouldn’t they lose by double digits in Seattle? Even if we assume that playing in the Superdome is comparable to playing in Seattle, the Cardinals lost by 24 in New Orleans and I think playing in Seattle is even harder, at least this year.

The Seahawks are also in a couple of excellent spots as well. They have no upcoming distractions on the schedule as they just have to host the Rams next week. Teams are 42-25 ATS as home favorites of 10 or more before being home favorites of 10 or more, which they almost definitely will be for the Rams next week, given that they are for a superior Cardinals team. On top of that, they are riding quite a hot streak right now after shutting out the Giants at home last week. Tends tend to ride that into the next week, going 41-22 ATS since 1989 after shutting out a team on the road. I like Seattle a good deal this week.

Seattle Seahawks 31 Arizona Cardinals 13

Pick against spread: Seattle -10

Confidence: Medium

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