Seattle Seahawks (2-9) +13, 46.5 O/U at Dallas Cowboys (7-4) -13,
46.5 O/U, Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas, 4:15 PM Eastern, Thursday, FOX
by Badger of Predictem.com
The Dallas Cowboys appear to have their mojo back, and theyll put it on display in front of the nation Thursday afternoon when they host the Seattle Seahawks in Texas Stadium in their annual Thanksgiving
Day tilt on Fox.
The Cowboys lit it up in last weeks 35-22 victory over San
Francisco. In just his second game back from a broken pinkie,
quarterback Tony Romo threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns and
the humble Terrell Owens caught 213 of those yards and one of the
scores as the Boys rolled once again in Big-D.
Armed with one of the NFLs longest injury reports, the Seahawks
continue to struggle and lost for the fourth game in a row last week,
20-17, at home to the Washington Redskins. Quarterback Matt
Hasslebeck returned from his knee injury two weeks ago, but it has
done nothing to help the Seahawks slide as they are now 1-7 in their
last eight games and tied with the St. Louis Rams for the worst
record in the NFC West at 2-9.
The self-proclaimed Americas Team opened as 10-point favorites at
the Las Vegas Hilton (one of the first sportsbooks to offer a line
each week), but within hours the point spread quickly shot up to -13
in favor of the Cowboys. It then opened at just about every other
offshore sportsbook at -13 as well, although there are a few books
that list the game at -12.5 still.
Bookmaker opened the over/under at 48 and like the spread, it was
quickly adjusted down to its current number of 46.5 at most books.
There are a few smatterings of 47 still available if you shop around.
The moneyline bet shows the Cowboys as huge -800 favorites, with the
Seahawks listed as +600 underdogs.
While many will point the finger at the return of Romo as the
catalyst to the Cowboys recent surge on offense, its actually been
the return Marion Barber and the running game as the focus of the
scheme from offensive coordinator Jason Garrett that has caused the
spark. Barber ran for 114 yards and a score two weeks ago in the big
win over the Redskins, and he also added 59 yards on 19 carries in
the San Francisco game to open up the play-action passing game for Romo.
In the last two games the Cowboys are back to averaging 361 yards per
game, a lot closer to their season average of 348.2 (10th in NFL)
then they were when backup Brad Johnson was running the show.
As mentioned, the return of Hasslebeck has yet to revive the Seahawks
on offense. Hasslebeck has been rusty, with five interceptions in his
two games, but with a depleted receiver core still working its way
back into the lineup its hard to make chicken salad from chicken you-
know-what. When tight end John Carlson is the teams leading pass
catcher (just 351 yards), you know you are in a world of hurt.
The lone bright spot on offense for Seattle has been their two
offseason free agent pickups, running backs Julius Jones and T.J.
Duckett. Jones leads the team with 637 yards and a 4.5 yards per
carry average, while Duckett has cashed in when the Seahawks get in
the red zone with a team-high six touchdowns. Jones will be playing
his first game in Dallas since leaving in the offseason, so look for
him to try and stick it to his former team and ruin their holiday plans.
The Cowboys defense has been disappointing to many, even though the
still rank in the top-10 in yards allowed (294.5 ypg 8th) and
rushing yards allowed (97.4 ypg 10th). A lot of the disappointment
comes from the fact that they are giving up big plays and lots of
scoring, as their 22.8 points per game allowed is 20th in the league
and simply not good enough for a playoff-bound squad.
What can we say about the Seahawks and their defense? Lets see
29th in yards allowed (381.2 ypg), 31st in passing yards allowed
(259.2 ypg), 25th in points allowed (25.2 ppg). Lets just say
theyve struggled, and they are still without their best pass rusher
in Patrick Kerney (out indefinitely with a shoulder injury), so its
probably going to get worse before it gets better.
These two havent met in Texas Stadium since the 2002 season, a 17-14
victory for Seattle as 2.5-point underdogs. They have played five
more times since then, but they have all been at Seattle, and Dallas
has still managed to win three of those five games on the road. The
Cowboys have covered in all five of those games, and own a 7-3 ATS
edge in the head-to-head series.
Neither team has been a good wager for bettors this season, as Dallas
has a slightly better against the spread record (5-6) than the
The Cowboys high-octane attack on offense has made the over a strong
bet this season (7-4), and the over has hit in six of the Cowboys
last eight Thursday afternoon Turkey Day games. The over is also a
sterling 21-8 in the Seahawks last 29 games on a grass field.
Badgers Pick: In my gut, I really think this is the type of game
that outgoing head coach Mike Holmgren inspires the troops to put
forth a strong showing on national television. But with the troops
hes working with this season, I just dont see how it can happen.
Plus, 13 points is a big number for an NFL game, which also scares me
off a straight side bet. Take the under of 46.5 and hope the Cowboys
call off the dogs early.