Seattle Seahawks (7-1) at Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
I wish I had gotten this line when it was at Atlanta +6 or higher. Despite all of the action being on Seattle, the line is dropping significantly from +6.5 at some places to now +5 at some places. It’s obvious that this is a trap line and the sharps are all over the underdogs. It’s not hard to see why. The Seahawks have not been playing well of late, thanks largely to injuries to guys like Russell Okung and Bobby Wagner. Okung remains out and, while Wagner returned a couple of weeks ago, but he hasn’t been nearly the same player thanks to a high ankle sprain, something that could linger. Also out is Sidney Rice, who tore his ACL and Percy Harvin has yet to return to replace him. He’s not expected back this week.
The Seahawks have won each of their last 2 games, but they won by a combined 8 points against the Rams and Buccaneers, among two of the worst teams in the NFL. Particularly bad was their mere 3 point home win over the Buccaneers in overtime. The Buccaneers are winless and the Seahawks are supposed to be a dominant home team. The Seahawks are in a bad spot here as road favorites off of back to back wins as favorites in which they failed to cover. Teams are 13-23 ATS in that spot since 1989. They’re also in a bad spot coming off of last week’s big overtime win. Teams are 22-41 ATS since 1989 as favorites off of an overtime home win.
Because of their recent struggles, the Seahawks aren’t really as good as their record. They are 4-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less. They are 8th in the NFL in rate of moving the chains differential, moving the chains at a 76% rate, as opposed to 72% for their opponents. The Falcons, meanwhile, might be better than their record, meanwhile. Remember, they are just 1-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less. They are moving the chains at a 75% rate, as opposed to 80% for their opponents, a differential that is 26th in the NFL. They’re also getting healthier as this is Steven Jackson’s 3rd game back and Roddy White returns. Even with the reverse line movement, we are still getting a little bit of line value with the Falcons before we even get into trends.
Two spots the Falcons have always been good in are at home and off of a loss, at least in the Matt Ryan era. They are 35-9 straight up at home under Matt Ryan in 2008, including 26-17 ATS. Off of a loss, Matt Ryan is 19-7 ATS, including 7-1 ATS as an underdog. They’ve struggled a bit more than usual in those situations this year, but it’s still worth noting. Meanwhile, the Falcons have no distractions that would prevent them from possibly pulling an upset here, with a trip to Tampa Bay next on the schedule. Teams are 35-11 ATS as non-divisional home underdogs before being divisional road favorites since 1989. I wish this line was still above the key number of 6 so it could be a significant play, but the Falcons should be the right side.
Seattle Seahawks 19 Atlanta Falcons 17
Pick against spread: Atlanta +5.5