Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
The Seahawks have always done very well in the second half of the regular season in the Pete Carroll era (since 2011), going 32-9-1 ATS in games 9-16 since Carroll arrived (including 2-0 ATS so far this season). This has been very noticeable on the stat sheet for Russell Wilson, as he’s completed 66% of his passes for an average of 8.7 YPA, 67 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in the second half of the regular season in his career. Considering how well this organization is run from top to bottom, it doesn’t surprise me they get better as the season goes on. It also wouldn’t surprise me at all if they went on another second half run. Russell Wilson has shaken off early season injuries and struggles and now is playing the kind of football we’re used to from him.
I’ve made big bets on the Seahawks in back-to-back weeks and I wanted to make another big bet on them this week as 6 point favorites in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers, despite a 5-5 record, rank 26th in first down rate differential. They also haven’t had much homefield advantage in recent years, going just 19-39 ATS at home since 2009, including just 1-4 ATS this season. However, the Seahawks come into this game pretty banged up, which obviously hurts their chances of covering.
Defensive end Michael Bennett, who looked early in the week like he had a shot to return this week, will miss his 5th straight game with injury, while safety Earl Thomas, who injured his hamstring in last week’s win over Philadelphia, has also been ruled out. Those are two of their best defensive players. On the offensive side of the ball, the Seahawks will be without center Justin Britt, who has been their best offensive lineman this season. As long as the line is under 7, it’s still worth a bet on Seattle, but this would have been a bigger play if the Seahawks were healthier.
Seattle Seahawks 27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Pick against the spread: Seattle -6