Dec 222012
 

San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (9-5)

Everyone knows about the Seahawks’ home prowess, but it’s really, really significant, possibly even more than people realize. At home, they are 46-20 ATS since 2005, including 16-8 ATS as home dogs. They’ve already knocked off the Cowboys, Packers, and Patriots as home dogs this season, en route to a 7-0 SU and ATS home record. For contrast, they are 24-43 ATS on the road since 2005.

On average, they outscore opponents at home by an average of 6.9 points per game. This is against an average line of -2.6, which is right around the standard adjustment for home field advantage. As a result, they outscore opponents against the spread by an average of 4.3 points per game. For this reason, I don’t feel that using 2.5 as a home field adjustment for them is appropriate. I feel that using 6.9 or something around there is a more appropriate adjustment, possibly even more based on how well they’ve done this year (outscoring opponents against the spread by 16.9 points per game).

We’re getting line value even using the standard 2.5 point adjustment. The Seahawks rank 3rd in net points per drive at 0.77, right behind the 49ers, who are 2nd at 0.90. If you take the difference, multiply by 11 (the average amount of drives per game), and add 2.5 points for home field, we get that Seattle should be favored by 1 point. If we use a more appropriate number for home field, no matter what it is, we’re getting significant line value. Using 6, the line should be Seattle -4.5 and using 6.9, the line should be Seattle -5.5. And that’s not even taking into account that the Seahawks actually rank better in DVOA and weighted DVOA, ranking 2nd in both, while the 49ers rank 4th.

Besides, the 49ers haven’t won more than 2 games in a row all season. They started the season with wins against the Packers and Lions and were anointed the NFL’s best and then they lost in Minnesota. They followed up with blowout wins against the Jets and Bills and then people were back on their bandwagon, before they then got blown out by the Giants at home. They followed that up with divisional wins against the Seahawks and Cardinals before tying the Rams at home. After that, they blew out the Bears and Saints in consecutive weeks, before losing to those same Rams again. Now they’re on a two game winning streak against the Dolphins and Patriots and have once again been anointed the NFL’s top team. I don’t know if they’ll be able to handle that.

This is a much bigger game for the Seahawks. The 49ers just need one more win to win the division and can get the job done next week against Cardinals. Obviously, they still want to win out and get the first round bye, but they can relax a little bit and they might be without one of their top defensive players, Justin Smith. They’ve already gotten their huge win. Now the Seahawks are looking to do the same. It’s kind of like when the 49ers knocked off the Patriots last week after the Patriots had just got a huge win against the Texans. Now it’s the Seahawks’ turn and I think they’ll get the job done, especially at home in a nationally televised game.

It’s a significant play even though the Seahawks are coming off two straight blowout wins and teams are 4-10 ATS since 1989 off of back-to-back wins by 31 or more and 27-42 ATS off of back-to-back wins by 24 or more. The 49ers fell flat in this spot against the Giants earlier this year, but it’s a different dynamic here for the Seahawks as dogs and I’m not going against them at home.

Rather than putting 1 unit on the money line and 3 on the spread, I’m putting all 5 on the money line. Since 1989, there have been 422 teams who have been favorites of less than 2. Of those 422 teams, only 8 of those teams lost by exactly 1 point, about 1.9%. I still say that was the smart move after some thought and I’m going to do that again here. It’s not worth the extra 15 cents on the dollar for something that will hurt me about 2% of the time.

Public lean: Seattle (50% range)

Sharps lean: SF 16 SEA 15

Final thoughts: Justin Smith is out and the line moved to Seattle -1. I really like Seattle’s chances of winning straight up at home, especially with Smith out, so I’ll add one unit on the spread at -1 (-110) to go with 4 units on the money line at +105. The Patriots’ offensive explosion against the 49ers last week came when Smith left the game. Aldon Smith puts up the numbers, but Justin is their most irreplaceable defensive player.

Seattle Seahawks 17 San Francisco 49ers 13 Upset Pick +105 4 units

Pick against spread: Seattle -1 (-110) 1 unit

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