Seattle Seahawks (2-5 SU, 3-3-1 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (3-4 SU, 3-3-1 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Week 9 NFL, Sunday, November 6, 2011, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, TV: FOX
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Sea +12/DAL -12
Over/Under Total: 44
Two teams looking to turn the page and get past disastrous week eight results will try and accomplish that goal against each other in week nine, when the Seattle Seahawks travel south to the Big D to play the Dallas Cowboys in Cowboys Stadium this Sunday on FOX.
Everyone watched in awe as the Philadelphia Eagle dismantled and humiliated the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in America last weekend, 34-7. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and the offense only held the ball for 17 minutes and registered just 12 first downs in the game, and the defense did not back up the big words of coordinator Bob Ryan when the Eagles torched them for almost 500 yards of total offense in the lopsided loss on the road in Philly.
Things werent much better for the Seahawks at home in Seattle last weekend either, as the Hawks turned a close game into a rout late in the fourth quarter with crucial mistakes in their, 34-12, loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Down just 20-12 with over three minutes remaining in the game, the Seahawks gave up a punt return and an interception return for touchdowns in back-to-back possessions to hand the victory to the Bengals. Of course, their 11 penalties, two turnovers and four sacks allowed didnt help much either.
With both teams hoping for a quick case of amnesia to forget last weeks debacles, this week theyll strap it up again with the hopes that a new week brings new results in order to get them both back on the winning track before its too late.
Oddsmakers are expecting the Cowboys to bounce back big, but no so much for the Seahawks, as they set the opening point spread for Sundays NFC clash with Dallas as huge 12.5-point favorites. (Speaking of oddsmakers, did you know that you can bet on NFL/College football games at -105 odds instead of -110 at 5Dimes? Make the switch today and start reaping the benefits of betting at reduced odds! The number has come down a little since its release, with most sportsbooks in Las Vegas and offshore dropping the hook to list the Cowboys at minus -12 with a few token -11.5s, but thats about all the further it has moved since early Monday morning.
All of the betting line movement for this game has come on the over/under total. The total originally opened at 42.5 early in the week but has since shot up to 44 or 44.5 by midweek as bettors are pounding the under with the early steam at the window.
The two offenses in this game are on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Romo and the Cowboys are ranked 8th in the NFL with an average of 394.3 yards a game, most of it via the passing game at 279.6 yards per game (7th). With running back Felix Jones still nursing a sore ankle, and longtime backups Marion Barber and Tashard Choice now employed elsewhere, the Cowboys have been using rookie DeMarco Murray out of the backfield and the former Oklahoma star has done very well in his two games as the main weapon out of the backfield (327 yards, 9.9 yards per carry).
The Cowboys offense didnt necessarily play bad against the Eagles last week, they didnt really get much of a chance with very little time of possession and only 45 offensive plays. Most of those plays came in mop-up time too when the game was long over.
The Seahawks on the other hand have struggled mightily all season long on offense, ranked 31st in the league at 284 yards a game and 31st in the league at rushing with an average of 77.7 yards a game. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson returned from his pectoral injury to have a decent game last week against the Bengals (21-of-40, 323 yards), but hes not exactly a front line starter in this league and as a result the Seahawks only average barely over 200 yards a game in the air (206.3 ypg 24th).
Because of the Seahawks lack of a passing game Marshawn Lynch has faced eight-man boxes all season long, which has contributed to their lack of explosiveness on offense and hindered their ability to score (15.6 ppg 27th).
But this week they may gain a little bit of an advantage because the Dallas defense is a wounded unit, at all three levels. Nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (leg questionable), linebacker Sean Lee (wrist out) and corner Mike Jenkins (hamstring out) all were injured in the Eagles game last week, and its not like the Cowboys were exceptionally deep on defense to begin with before the injuries.
With issues on offense the Seahawks defense has been forced to play a lot of snaps this season, and even though they have decent numbers (13th overall, 11th vs. the run, 19th in scoring), they have been unable to close out games late in the fourth because of the wear and tear they have been forced to endure and the hands of a poor offense.
The last two times these two teams have faced each other have turned into poundings by the Cowboys, including a 38-17 victory in 2009 and a 34-9 victory in 2008. Both games were in Dallas, and both games the Cowboys covered a large number in the process (10-points favorites in 09; 11.5-points in 08).
In fact, the Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in their last five meetings with the Seahawks, even though they are just 3-2 SU in those five games.
Neither team has been kind to bettors, since most of the betting trends in are dismal for both teams. Seattle is 3-1-1 ATS in their last five as an underdog, but when you extend it out to a larger sample the Seahawks are just 6-20-1 ATS as a road dog. The Cowboys are just 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games as the favorite, and 2-7 ATS as a home favorite, so take them at your own risk.
Even though the under is 5-2 in the last seven head-to-head meetings between these two, its actually the over that has some strong betting trends in its favor for this game.
The over is 18-7-1 in the Seahawks last 26 games versus the NFC, 7-2 in their last nine road games and 14-4 in their last 18 games overall. The over is also 10-2 in the Cowboys last 12 home games, 8-2 as a home favorite and 12-4 in their last 16 versus the NFC.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I fully expect the Cowboys to bounce back here and save face from a terrible Sunday Night game versus the rival Eagles, but I hate laying up to 12 points to do it. I know the trends say over, but with the total already jumping up a few points since it opened, it appears just about everyone else is thinking the same thought. Im going to break the trend and play the anti-public angle in this game, so Im taking the under of 44 in this game.
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