Seattle Seahawks (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week X
Date/Time: Sunday, September 10 at 4:25pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field
by Evergreen, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SEA +3/GB -3
Over/Under Total: 50.5
Every game feels big when you have been waiting since February for the week one of the NFL season but some games feel, and are, bigger. Seattle visits Green Bay to open the 2017 slate and few games this week will pit two high level contenders they way this one does. Both teams are favored to win their respective divisions and many sportswriters have these teams tabbed as favorites to fight for the NFC Championship. Postseason feels forever and a day away but games like this tend to haunt the loser all year. These teams have a lot of familiarity with each other given they do not share a division and there is some actual bad blood born from last last four years in this mini-rivalry.
This game has one of the more interesting lines of the opening week with Green Bay coming in as a three-point favorite at just about every online betting site. The line opened at three points and has not budged despite roughly 70% of the bets going in favor of the Packers. Green Bay is one of the biggest public betting darlings every week so the fact that nearly 3-of-4 tickets are going in their favor is not a surprise but the dollars bet are not nearly in that same range so the sharps are looking Seattles way a bit more. I thought this line would be closer to five or perhaps six but that is why I am not working at a book in the desert, I guess. Seattle enters on an 0-4 skid against the spread in their last four as the visitor with Green Bay 4-0 ATS in their last four at Lambeau. The Pack has also dominated the early part of the year recently with a 6-1 ATS mark in their last seven in September and have gone 7-3 against the spread in the last ten week one games. The Sagarin computers have Seattle ranked sixth with Green Bay at second overall. That method is calling for a 23-21 Packer win.
This will be the fifth meeting between these teams since the 2014 season. Seattle got the better of the first two meeting, including the lone playoff matchup but Green Bay has won the last two. The Packers rolled by a 38-10 score last season as they recorded five interceptions against Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers needed just 23 pass attempts to rack up 246 yards and three touchdowns. These teams have remained largely intact over the postseason with just a few additions for depth on each squad. After an injury plagued season, Seattle enters week one with few injury concerns. Thomas Rawls is battling an ankle injury and may not suit up for the game but there is plenty of running back depth there, including former Packer Eddie Lacy. Tackle George Fant was placed on IR so that Seahawk offensive line will again be shorthanded as they often were in 2016. Green Bay has a few bumps as well with Nick Perry listed as questionable. He is a leader at the linebacker level and covering a tight end like Jimmy Graham becomes tougher as the Packers go down the depth chart. Offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga may miss Sunday and that further stresses Green Bays protection schemes with backup Don Barclay already on IR. Green Bay allowed 35 sacks last season and keeping Rodgers upright is constantly a focus for this team. For comparison, Tom Brady was only sacked 24 times. Seattle needs to improve in that category as well as Wilson hit the deck 42 times last year.
Both teams have a very defined identity and that makes this one feel even more familiar. Green Bay finished the year 7th in passing and fourth in points per game at 27.6 to make for another heavyweight match against the Seattle D that was 8th against the pass and 3rd in points allowed at 18.2 per contest. There is not much else to focus on in terms of key matchups. Both teams will try to run but when in doubt, they both turn to their QBs to make big plays. Rodgers throwing to Jordy Nelson has been the most successful QB-WR tandem in recent years but Davante Adams and Randall Cobb in the slot make up tough matchups as well for any team, even the Legion of Boom. Wilson will look to Doug Baldwin, especially to move the chains, but look for Graham to gouge the Pack D up the seam and C.J. Prosise could do similar damage as a receiver out of the backfield. The Packers won every game last season where their offense outperformed the opposition and their defense had some room to make mistakes. They ran into trouble when the back-and-forth games broke out and that defense was not able to make the same mistakes without surrendering the lead. Seattle was just 18th in points for last season at 22.1 per game so their ability to get 21+ points on the board at some point during the third quarter will determine who is in control of the pace this Sunday. It will be a major plus for Seattle if this one stays within a score at all points as the Green Bay defense is a front runner, not a clutch unit.
I really feel like I know how this game is going to go and while that confidence can often mean I am missing something from a handicapping perspective, I think Seattle is the pick this week. Green Bay is nearly identical to the team from 2016, right down to the blatant weaknesses in the secondary. There are zero Pro-Bowlers on the Packers defense although Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix is trending towards that. That overall lack of playmaking on D really puts Seattle in a great position given that they are now healthy. Wilson was a shell of himself as he battled through multiple ailments last season and he could not extend plays in order to do damage. He will be able to do that again and even though Jimmy Graham played last season, he is fully health and another year removed from his knee procedure. There is trouble brewing for the Green Bay defense as this Seahawk offense looks to be significantly more potent than last year.
This one will come down to who has the ball last by my guess and that should split this one at at 50/50 bet despite being in Green Bay. I think Seattle is a sneaky good money line bet and I will definitely take the three points as a result. The Seahawks have had some big bust games over the last few years so I am a little leary of a repeat from last season but I do not think you can predict a Green Bay blowout against a defense that is still very good. Rodgers will not be held down but he shouldnt expect much from the run game and even #12 cannot automatically provide 28 or 31 points on demand. Take the Hawks, they will get the 28-26 upset.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Seattle Seahawks plus the points! If you went to the store and two of the same exact product were sitting side by side; One for $105.00 and one for $110.00, which would you buy? THE CHEAPER ONE OF COURSE! So why are you still betting at -110 odds when you could be betting at -105? Dump your overpriced bookie TODAY and start enjoying the benefits of discounted odds at the web’s BEST sportsbook: 5Dimes!