Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (1-3)
I love exploiting home/road discrepancies, so Seattle is one of my favorite teams to bet on (or against). I’m 4-0 picking their games this year simply following the concept of betting on them at home and against them on the road, all 4 of which were significant plays. They are 29-14 ATS at home since 2007 and 14-29 ATS on the road. This year, that has been especially true as they’ve lost twice as road favorites and won twice as home dogs.
Carolina, meanwhile, is a much underrated team. I said this last week and nailed one of my co-picks of the week with them (actually I nailed all 3) as they hung within 2 points of Atlanta in the Georgia Dome and almost pulled a shocking upset. The reason they are is because of how many turnovers they committed in the first 3 games.
That might seem counterintuitive, but let me explain. Turnovers tend to be very inconsistent on a week to week basis. The average turnover differential the following week for a team that had a differential of +5 one week is the same as the average turnover differential the following week for a team that had a differential of -5. They’re right around at +0.0. In fact, that’s the case for every turnover differential bracket. That’s why I wasn’t shocked at all that they were even in turnovers with the Falcons last week, despite Atlanta leading the league in turnover differential and Carolina being dead last.
Turnovers aside, they rank 5th in the league in yards per play differential. Seattle, meanwhile, ranks 17th, right in the middle with an even +0.0. An old gambling formula says to take the difference of the differentials, divide by .15 and add 3 points either way for home field. The difference for these two teams is .7 in favor of Carolina, so this line should be -7.5 in favor of Carolina and that doesn’t even take into account Seattle’s struggles on the road. The line is, instead, -3.
Carolina is also heading into a bye this week, so that should keep this team from falling into the breather game trap as favorites after losing as a dog and before being a dog (Carolina plays Dallas after the bye). Teams in that breather situation are normally 52-78 ATS since 2008. However, before a bye, they are 15-19 ATS since 1989 (I go back to 1989 because there’s no enough results going back to just 2008), which is pretty even. There’s also no guarantee they will be home dogs to Dallas, so that’s not really applicable. One thing that is applicable is that they are heading into a bye. Teams are 31-17 ATS since 2002 going into a bye off a loss of 3 or fewer, 14-5 ATS off divisional loss and 18-8 ATS as favorites.
Given what I’ve said above, you’re probably thinking this will be a big play. However, there are several things keeping this from being a pick of the week. For one, this is Seattle’s 2nd straight road game. Teams tend to be undervalued in this situation because teams seem to find road games easier the 2nd time around. This makes sense as several teams don’t go home at all in between road games so they’re much more used to not being home.
Since 1989, teams in their 2nd straight road game lose by an average of 2.0 points, as opposed to road teams coming off a home game, who lose by 3.1. Overall, road teams lose by 2.8 points (which is why we use 3 points for home field advantage). This trend is strongest for dogs coming off a loss as dogs (59-38 ATS since 2008), but coming dogs coming off a loss as favorites also is a trend. Since 2008, teams are 10-4 ATS in that situation, though going back to 2002 it’s just 24-17. The Seahawks, meanwhile, as bad as they are on the road, are 4-4 ATS in their 2nd straight road game since 2007.
Another reason why Carolina isn’t a pick of the week is that they’re expected to be missing top cornerback Chris Gamble. Gamble is not someone most bettors know about. In fact, this line hasn’t moved at all in spite of his expected absence, but he’s one of the better cornerbacks in the league and played at a borderline Pro Bowl level last year. That’s a big loss for a Panthers team that already ranks just 20th against the pass. Still, I don’t trust Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense to take advantage. I also don’t get to bet against the public if I take Carolina, which I love doing, but I can’t always do it and Carolina feels like the right side. It’s not a pick of the week, but it’s a significant play.
Public lean: Carolina (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Seattle covers)
Sharps lean: CAR 13 SEA 9
Final update: Nothing to see here. Still like Carolina.
Carolina Panthers 24 Seattle Seahawks 16
Pick against spread: Carolina -3 (-110) 3 units