Seattle Seahawks (9-7 SU, 7-7-1 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (13-2 SU, 9-6 ATS)
NFL Week 17
Date/Time: January 3rd, 4:25 PM ET
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: SEA +7/ ARZ -7
Two teams heading to the playoffs meet in this week 17 matchup. The Seahawks are coming off a disappointing outcome and will look to get back on track before they enter postseason play. Seattle lost 23-17 to the Rams as 11.5-point home chalk. The Seahawks effort was there as they outgained St. Louis by 106 yards. Seattle is 7-3 ITS (in the stats) in their last 10 games. The Cardinals continue to roll as they defeated the Green Bay Packers 38-8 as 6-point home favorites. Arizona outgained Green Bay by a whopping 203 yards and improved to a very impressive 9-1 ITS in their last 10 games.
This line opened at Arizona minus -3.5 and has been steamed up to 7. The thinking is that Seattle is locked into a wild card spot and can’t really improve their position, while the Cardinals need a win to secure home field advantage. I believe the Seahawks still have something left to play for after last week’s loss. No head coach wants his team on a two-game losing streak heading into the playoffs. The Seahawks also have same season revenge from a 39-32 home loss back on Nov. 15th. NFL division games tend be closer in the second meeting, especially with winning teams. Both squads have been solid in turnover differential. Arizona is plus +12 while the Seahawks are plus +4. The Cardinals have a slight advantage in red-zone efficiency, while the Seahawks are much better on special teams. Seattle is ranked 16 spots higher than Arizona in special teams play according to Football Outsiders.
Seattle will bring in the better defense, allowing 260 yards per game and 18.1 points per game. Arizona is allowing 319.5 yards per game and 18.5 points per game. Arizona has the best point differential in the league by far. They are winning by an average of 14.1 points per game. In fact, if you include all of the Cardinals’ touchdowns (including special teams) they have scored more touchdowns than they have punted this season. Very impressive and Bruce Arians should be NFL Coach of the Year. Although, Ron Rivera might have something to say about that. Marshawn Lynch has a chance to return for this game. He’s been out since that home loss against Seattle back in November. The Seahawks would love to have a battle-tested Lynch return for the playoffs. He’s been money in postseason play, gaining 917 yards on 187 carries in nine playoff games, an average of 4.9 yards per carry. Lynch has rushed for 100 or more yards six times in postseason play.
Russell Wilson has been great as an underdog when seeking revenge, evident by 6-0-1 ATS mark in his career. The ticket count is actually favoring the Seahawks, but only by a 54% clip. There is plenty of two-way action on this game. I believe this line is a bit too high, considering the Seahawks normally play well after an upset loss and have revenge on their minds. It’s possible Seattle will pull some of its players in the second half, which makes me hesitant to put my hard earned money on this game. Still, the fact that the line opened at 3.5 and is now at 7, I can only lean to the underdog in this spot. These two teams could very well meet in the playoffs. I doubt Seattle wants to face Arizona knowing they lost the first two games. Arizona and Seattle are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in overall team efficiency.
Seattle has injury concerns in the secondary and offensive line. Kam Chancellor and Russell Okung are very questionable to play and we still don’t know the status of running back Marshawn Lynch. Seattle is 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games following a straight up loss. The Cardinals are 21-9 ATS in their last 30 games following a straight up win. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. The Over is 10-1 in the last 11 games in Arizona.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Seattle Seahawks +7 &: Under 47
I don’t have a good feel for this game, but I will lean to the underdog and the Under. The second same season matchup between division rivals are usually lower scoring games. I see this game ending around 24-21 which would land under the total.
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