NFL Picks Against the Spread: Take the Seahawks over the Eagles
By Bob Wankel
Last night, I gave a quick breakdown of why the Eagles have been installed as a 2.5 point favorite in tomorrow night’s matchup with the Seahawks. I wanted to run some numbers and further evaluate the situation in order to bring you the most informed advice possible about how to bet tomorrow night’s game. And if you’re an Eagles fan or just a degenerate itching to bet on the Eagles, well, you’re about to be disappointed.
Both teams enter the game without key players and with subpar 4-7 records. Vince Young will make his third-straight start and will likely again be without WR Jeremy Maclin. CB Nnamdi Asomugha might play, but will again be at less than full speed. For Seattle, they will be without WR Sidney Rice, who suffered his second concussion in the last three weeks. Seattle was rolling along against the Redskins last week until Rice left the game with the injury, so it’ll be interesting to see if head coach Pete Carroll can devise an effective game plan in his absence.
Here’s the trouble with this game for the Eagles. On the surface, it appears a virtual certainty that they can escape Seattle with a three-point win to cover the spread. But I don’t see it happening for several reasons.
1) They have absolutely nothing to play for. This team isn’t making the playoffs. You want to sell me on the “they’ll play hard for Reid” angle? I’m not buying it. Did they not want to play hard for him in front of a national audience against one of the elite teams in the NFL with their season on the line last week? Guess not. If they didn’t “get up” for last week, then how are they going to get up for a game against the mediocre Seahawks on a short week?
2) Short week + Cross-country flight= Disaster. Remember three weeks ago when the Jets were manhandled at home by the Patriots. They, too, also faced a short week or preparation and a long flight when they took on a seemingly inferior opponent in the Denver Broncos. The Jets were in a must-win spot and figured to rebound off a terrible loss. Look what happened. They came out flat, kept Denver in the game, and lost late. The Eagles face the exact same scenario this week, except this isn’t even a must-win scenario. So what kind of juice is this team bringing to the table tomorrow night?
3) The Seahawks have something to play for. Unlike the Eagles, Seattle was an afterthought coming into the season. They started slow, but have played better of late. This is a young team that will be excited to play in front of a national audience at home with a raucous crowd behind them. They view this game as one that could put them on the map. They simply have more to play for.
4) The trends. The Eagles have been an absolute betting disaster this season, destroying the bank accounts of those who’ve foolishly backed them week to week. Seattle is 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games ATS. And they are an impressive 14-5 ATS as home favorites since 2007.
5) Reid plays to opponents’ weaknesses, not his team’s strengths. Arizona and New England were teams that couldn’t defend the pass, so Reid threw it. Makes sense, except when you have the best running back in the NFL at your disposal and he doesn’t get the football. The Seahawks rank 20th against the pass this season and a more respectable 11th against the run, so expect more Riley Cooper and Jason Avant than LeSean McCoy.
Prediction: 24-17, Seahawks