Seattle Seahawks (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date/Time: Sunday, October 28th, 2012, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
TV: FOX/DirecTV 705
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Sea. +2.5/Det. -2.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Seattle Seahawks need a win to keep the pressure on in the NFC West race, and the Detroit Lions need to win and win in a hurry to climb back into the NFC playoff picture, so this Sunday’s game at Ford Field between the Seahawks and Lions on Fox is worth more than meets the eye.
Seattle has been one of the surprise teams of the NFC West led by rookie QB Russell Wilson, but the rookie has struggled on the road and it happened again last Thursday in San Francisco, 13-6. Wilson is still having some issues on third down (4-for-13 vs. 49ers), something he and the Seahawks will have to figure out in order to keep Matthew Stafford and the Lions off the field on Sunday.
The Lions are coming off a hugely disappointing game on Monday Night Football, turning the ball over three times in the red zone in a, 13-7, “shoulda-been-a-win” loss on the road to the Chicago Bears. Stafford threw a late touchdown to make the turd of a game a little shinier, but with four turnovers you just can’t expect to win. After going up against the Bears defense, the Lions will have to strap it up again in a short week in order to get back on track against a Seattle defense that’s also a top-5 unit on defense.
Detroit opened the game as the “standard” 3-point favorites the home team is usually afforded by Las Vegas, but with most of the sharp money coming in early on the Seahawks the point spread has dropped to minus -2.5 or -2. There are even a few -1 at a few offshore sportsbooks, but you’ll have to pay extra juice (up to -125) to get the number that low.
The over/under total opened at 43.5 and has yet to move in either direction since it debuted on the board late on Monday.
Offensively these two teams couldn’t be further opposite of each other if they tried. Seattle takes a ground approach (132 ypg rushing - 8th in NFL) with Marshawn Lynch as the main workhorse to try and maximize the rookie Wilson off of play-action, whereas the Lions ride Stafford as far as his right arm will take them (307 ypg passing - 2nd). Both of these approaches are starting to show some warts.
Seattle has issues when teams stack the box to stop Lynch on early downs, leading to a lot of trouble in third-and-long situations. Seattle isn’t very explosive either, and with a 16.6 points per game average (31st) it’s getting harder and harder for the Seahawks defense to keep winning games for them.
Detroit’s lack of a run game is getting Stafford knocked around, which is only funny until the sometimes brittle former Georgia Bulldog goes down for a long period of time again. Running back Mikel Leshoure has burst and looked good against the Bears on Monday night, but his fumbling issues are beginning to creep up and could prevent the Lions from keeping the Seahawks defense honest with any kind of run-pass balance.
Seattle has beaten the Lions in three straight meetings, including the last time they played in Seattle back in 2009, 32-20. Stafford will be looking to redeem himself against the Seahawks for that game, since he threw five interceptions and dropped a fumble in one of his worst performances in his young career.
Over the last eight head-to-head meetings dating back to 1987, the Seahawks hold a 5-3 SU and ATS advantage on the Lions, but it’s a small sample size and not really a betting trend worth tailing.
The Lions have been an albatross to bettors, going 1-4 ATS in their last five home games at Ford Field and 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games versus a team with a winning record. But Seattle is 9-20-1 in their last 30 road games, so they’re certainly not the same bet as they are at home with the 12th man.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If the Lions don’t get a running game going, and its starting to look like that’s not happening, the Seahawks pass defense and pass rush will eat up Stafford and the Lions. Seattle just doesn’t score enough to make anything with them a safe bet. I think points are going to be tough to come by in this one, and Seattle somehow holds off a late Stafford rally in a 17-13 or 16-13 kind of game. Take Seattle plus the +2.5 points.
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