Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
The Seahawks are in a great spot here this week. While the Vikings have to play arguably the toughest game of their season in 4 days on the road on Thursday Night Football (in Arizona against the Cardinals), the Seahawks have an easy road game in Baltimore on deck, against a Ravens team that is one of the worst in the NFL. The Vikings are expected to be 6 point road underdogs, while the Seahawks are expected to be 4.5 point road favorites. Teams are 74-51 ATS before being favorites of 4 or more since 2012. On top of that, underdogs (like the Seahawks) are 167-98 ATS before being favorites (as the Seahawks will be next week) when their opponent will next be underdogs (as the Vikings will be next week). Making matters even worse for the Vikings is the short week ahead, as teams are 46-70 ATS as favorites before Thursday Night Football since 2008.
We are only getting 1 point with the Seahawks, which is unfortunate. The Seahawks only rank a few spots higher than the Vikings in rate of moving the chains differential (6th vs. 12th), which suggests this line could be accurate. However, the Seahawks have faced a much tougher schedule than the Vikings have. The Seahawks have played 5 teams with winning records, including Green Bay, Carolina, Arizona, and Cincinnati, but the Vikings have played just 3 teams with winning records, none of whom rank higher than 9th in rate of moving the chains differential. The Seahawks are probably the Vikings’ toughest opponent of the season so far, while the Seahawks have already played 4 or 5 better teams than the Vikings. The Seahawks are also not missing one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL, like the Vikings are this week, missing defensive tackle Linval Josepy.
The Seahawks are relatively healthy right now. They’re missing defensive tackle Jordan Hill and running back Marshawn Lynch, but Hill isn’t that important and rookie phenom Thomas Rawls has run much better than Lynch this season, as Lynch has been banged up all year. Rawls is second in the NFL in yards per carry and the Seahawks have won 2 of their last 3, after a 4-4 start. They do seem to be gaining a head of steam in an NFL that feels weak across the board this season. The Seahawks are 19-4 ATS in the final 8 games of the regular season in the Russell Wilson era (since 2012) and 23-6 ATS in the Pete Carroll era (since 2011). That makes sense as this organization is so well run from top to bottom. Teams like that always seem to get better down the stretch, as long as they stay healthy. I wish we were getting more points with the Seahawks, but they’re still my Pick of the Week.
Seattle Seahawks 24 Minnesota Vikings 17 Upset Pick +100
Pick against the spread: Seattle +1
Confidence: Pick of the Week