Arizona Cardinals (4-8) at Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
The Seahawks were able to get a rare road win in Chicago last week after face planting in Miami the week before thanks to the road dogs after a road loss trend. This week, it could potentially hurt their ability to win at home because the Cardinals are in that spot. They lost as road dogs in New York against the Jets last week and are now road dogs here. Road dogs off a road loss are 85-48 ATS since 2008.
I say potentially because the Seahawks are so dominant at home, as opposed to on the road. Since the start of the 2005 season, they are 45-20 ATS at home, as opposed to 23-43 ATS on the road. They are 5-0 ATS there this year with 3 straight up wins as dogs against Dallas, Green Bay, and New England. This is the first time they’ve laid 10 or more at home, but they are actually 5-0 ATS in that spot since 2005 and 15-3 ATS as touchdown plus home favorites. For the record, they are 5-1 ATS when their opponent is dogs after a road loss since 2005, which kind of throws that trend out the window.
We are getting line value with the Cardinals. The Seahawks rank 10th in net points per drive at 0.31, while the Cardinals rank 21st at -0.18. If you take the difference, multiply by 11 (the average amount of drives per team per game) and add 3 points for home field, you get that Seattle should be 8.5 point favorites, rather than 10 point favorites.
However, it’s important to add a human element to things like this and I can shoot that down with the human element in 3 ways. One, I like to look at DVOA to compare to net points per drive. DVOA is net points per drive based, but takes into account things like strength of schedule. Seattle ranks 4th in DVOA, including 3rd in weighted, while Arizona ranks 24th in DVOA, and 25th in weighted. That’s a much, much bigger difference than where these two teams are in net points per drive.
Second, the reason Arizona is better in regular DVOA than weighted DVOA, which weights recent games more heavily, is that, in case you haven’t noticed, they’re not playing so well lately. They’ve lost 8 straight and are nowhere near the team they were in the first 4 weeks of the season. Their defense isn’t playing nearly as well as it once was and offensively, they really miss Kevin Kolb which is saying something.
Ryan Lindley has been benched for John Skelton in this one, but I don’t know how much that helps. Remember, Skelton is completing 54.7% of his passes for an average of 5.9 YPA and 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions this season. In his career, he completes 53.3% of his passes for an average of 6.3 YPA, 15 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions.
In the Atlanta game, he was 2 of 7 for 6 yards before becoming the first and probably only quarterback in NFL history to get benched for Ryan Lindley. He’s an upgrade over Lindley, but that’s not saying much because I’m not sure I’m not an upgrade over Ryan Lindley. Lindley and Jimmy Clausen should have a suck off this offseason for charity. Skelton won’t have much success at all against Seattle’s awesome defense, especially not in Seattle, even with Brandon Browner suspended. That suspension will matter down the line against capable quarterbacks, but not so much in this one.
The third reason that 8.5 point line is invalid is because that assumes we use the standard 3 points for home field, which I argue we shouldn’t for Seattle’s games because of their home/road disparity. That 3 points come from the average amount an NFL team outscores its opponent at home, 3 points. Since 2005, the Seahawks outscore opponents by 6 points on average at home and get outscored by 6 points on the road.
For this reason, they outscore opponents by about 3 points per game ATS at home and get outscored by 3 points per game ATS on the road. That whole disparity could be closed if we used 6 points for home field for their games, in both directions, both home and away, which is why I do. Using that, we get a real line of Seattle -11.5, which gives us line value with Seattle, before even taking into account DVOA and Arizona’s awful quarterback situation and complete lack of momentum.
NFC West divisional games tend to be won by the home team and covered by the home favorite anyway. This makes sense. NFC West is 107-80 ATS at home since 2007. No division has as big of a home/road disparity as the NFC West. Seattle is a big part of why, but not the only reason. As you can imagine, when NFC West teams meet, the home team generally covers, especially as favorites, going 23-14 ATS in this spot since 2007.
As home favorites of more than a touchdown, teams are 12-5 ATS and 7-2 ATS as home favorites of double digits. The Seahawks are 11-4 ATS as divisional home favorites since 2005, 8-2 ATS as favorites of more than a touchdown, and 3-0 ATS as double digit favorites. NFC West divisional games also tend to go under the total, as the under has gone 80-54 since 2007, so I like the under, as well, in this one.
One trend is also in Arizona’s favor as teams that lose 5+ straight are 60-35 ATS since 2002 off a loss by 8 or fewer, but I can’t take Arizona here. The Seahawks are way too good at home and John Skelton is going to have a very, very tough time putting points on the board here against this Seahawks defense at home. I don’t like to lay more than a touchdown for a big play, but Seattle should still be the right side. They’re also my obvious survivor choice this week as I have yet to use them.
Public lean: Seahawks (50% range)
Sharps lean: ARI 16 SEA 2
Final thoughts: Sharps rarely back a double digit favorite. This is a little concerning, but then again, the Sharps haven’t had a good 3 week stretch either. I’d be more worried if my confidence level in the sharps was what it was a few weeks ago.
Seattle Seahawks 24 Arizona Cardinals 6 Survivor Pick (HOU, NE, NO, BAL, SF, ATL, CHI, GB, SD, PIT, DAL, DEN, TB)
Pick against spread: Seattle -10 (-110) 2 units
Total: Under 36 (-110) 1 unit