Seahawks Season Wins Total – 4 Reasons to Bet Under
The Seahawks entered the 2017 season as favorites to win their 4th division title in 5 years and compete for a super bowl title. The Seahawks won 45 games during those 4 title years, and Sportsbooks set the 2017 win total over/under at 10.5. Over appeared to be the right side as the team stood at 8-4, but then limped in with only 1 win in their final 4 contests to cash in under tickets. Injuries decimated the Legion of Boom, sidelining both Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor for the second half of the season. The defensive front 7 suffered as well, with sack leader Cliff Avril appearing only in the first 4 games, and All Pro LB Bobby Wagner being slowed with hamstring issues down the stretch.
Bookmakers expect the decline to continue, setting the 2018 over/under total at 8.5 shaded to the under, suggesting the line may move to 8. Even if the line moves to 8, Under is the only play. Here are 4 reasons.
During the Seahawks domination in the first part of this decade, they were the ultimate team. They perennially had the league’s best defense, overpowered opponent defenses with Marshawn Lynch running the ball and could count on Russell Wilson to save the day when needed. Beyond the on-field play, the Seahawks team was united with the lone goal being to win a championship. This all started to unravel in the second half of 2017, and the 2018 team is in rebuilding mode. Sherman was released, and to stick it to his ex-team he signed with division rival 49ers, Michael Bennett was traded to the Eagles, Earl Thomas may not play if his contract is not reworked, and the team expects both Avril and Chancellor’s careers to be over. The Defense that led the NFL in swagger for so long will be a lot more humble in 2018.
On offense, Russell Wilson was magical again in 2017, leading the league in touchdown passes, and finishing close to the top in most passing categories. But the team that built their success on running the ball, finished 21st in the league in rushing attempts and averaged only 101 yards per game on the ground. The offensive line was abysmal run blocking, and the running backs had over 300 attempts and less than 1000 rushing yards. The line allowed 43 sacks, 10th worst in the league, and it could have been worse if Wilson weren’t so adept at avoiding tacklers. Pete Carrol has brought in Brian Shottenheimer and Mike Solari to be offensive coordinator and o-line coach, in an effort to return the team to its running identity (See Raiders pick, another team that doesn’t know itself). All of these changes do not instill confidence that this team is the same team that won 45 games from 2013 to 2016.
The 12th man inspired defense allowed the fewest points in the league from 2012 to 2015, 3rd in 2016 before falling to 13th last year. Stud linebackers KJ Wright and Wagner will return to anchor the defense. Frank Clark is a high quality player at defensive end, but the other three starters on the defensive line were primarily role players last year. Seattle allowed the 13th most rushing yards in the league last year, a stat that seems unlikely to improve. New Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. is expected to continue playing the cover 3 scheme that Seahawks defenses perfected, which includes a very low percent of blitzes. If this front 4 can’t get to the QB, the secondary will be exposed.
Exposing the secondary may not be that difficult, as it will be going through its own rebuild. Assuming Earl Thomas is on the field, he would join Shaquill Griffin as the leaders of the secondary. Carroll has high expectations for Griffin, and he may live up to them, but the balance of the cornerbacks are weak links. Offensive coordinators make a living out of exposing weak links in defensive secondaries, and in the Seahawk case there are multiple weaknesses. Unless the defensive line and secondary far exceed expectations, this is an average at best defense.
Wilson is definitely one of the leagues premier signal callers. He can extend plays, run when he needs to, and win games in the 4th quarter. But last year he threw the ball the 553 times, 6th most in the league, and ran the ball 95 times. The Seahawks invested a first round pick in San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny. Penny had video game like statistics, gaining over 7 yards per carry in both his junior and senior years. He is a tough runner that can break tackles, which he should be able to showcase behind the Seahawk offensive line. The only addition to the offensive line is 5 year pro DJ Fluker to play guard. This may be an upgrade, but the balance of the line will have to improve.
The receiving corps also take a step back in 2018. Wilson’s favorite target Doug Baldwin returns as does Tyler Lockett, but Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson will not be back. The two combined for 111 receptions and 16 touchdowns. Jaron Brown was signed to replace Richardson, and Ed Dickson to replace Graham. Both are significant downgrades. Wilson will continue to make plays, but weak offensive line and receiving options will limit his success.
The Seahawks have earned their reputation by averaging just under 11 wins over the last 6 seasons. We have all watched prime-time games at Century Link Field and against the league’s best and knew the Seahawks would take care of business. But those were different teams. The coach is the same, the QB is the same, but the team is no longer elite. The public remembers these teams and will wager on 9 wins just based on Wilson. The reputation will not help after the ball is kicked off on Sunday afternoons. Talent will win out, and that will not favor the Hawks.
Seahawks under 8.5 is the play. This is a team that is rebuilding, with multiple weaknesses. Wilson will keep the team competitive, but 9 wins will be hard to come by for this roster.