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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Before the season started, there was a growing consensus that the Seattle Seahawks were going to be the best team in the NFC. They closed the season well last year, and topped the NFC in many respected Power Ratings even though they didn’t ultimately reach the Super Bowl. The rumbling only got louder when Seattle crushed San Francisco in a national TV game early in the 2013 campaign.

But…something wasn’t quite right for the Seahawks when they played on the road after that home rout of the Niners.

*They played poorly, and needed a MIRACLE to come back and beat the imploding Houston Texans. That’s the same Houston team that’s subsequently been humiliated by San Francisco and St. Louis in back to back weeks.

*They played well below standards in a road loss to Indianapolis. That’s the same Colts team that couldn’t score an offensive touchdown against San Diego’s vulnerable defense this past Monday Night.

Is Seattle a pretender? Are they a team that’s truly great at home where a loud crowd helps their defense…but just a run-of-the-mill contender on the road when offenses could audible in friendlier conditions?

We’ll learn more about that issue Thursday Night when the Seattle Seahawks visit the Arizona Cardinals in a game that will be televised nationally by the NFL Network. Arizona’s a “tweener” team that’s capable of beating teams who aren’t executing…but will fade to irrelevancy if the other team knows what it’s doing.

Arizona already has home underdog wins against Detroit and Carolina…which gives them a puncher’s chance of making headlines here. They also lost by double digits on the road to New Orleans and San Francisco. Seattle is in the class of those Super Bowl contenders, which means this is their game to win if they want it.

Let’s run some numbers…

Won-Lost Records (opponents so far)

Seattle: 5-1 (at Carolina, SF, Jax, at Houston, at Indy, Tennessee)

Arizona: 3-3 (at St.L, Detroit at N. Orleans, at TB, Carolina, at SF)

Seattle is lucky not to be 4-2…but they’re still playing at a level that would suggest they’re a frontrunner for a bye in the NFC brackets…and could possibly be the #1 seed come January. Arizona is 3-3, but was the underdog in all six of those games. Good for them showing up! But…this is still probably a 5-11 or 6-10 type team even though they currently sit at the .500 mark.

 

Yards-Per Play to Date

Seattle: 5.7 on offense, 4.7 on defense

Arizona: 5.2 on offense, 5.2 on defense

Wow…+1.0 is impressive in the NFL…and that defensive mark is truly elite for the Seahawks. Arizona is at break-even in differential, backing up their 3-3 mark in the standings. We still think they’re a 5-11 type team…but we’ll stay open-minded for a few more weeks. Obviously a win over Seattle would change perceptions for both teams significantly.

 

Turnover Differential

Seattle: +7

Arizona: -2

Some pundits attribute turnover differences to luck. We don’t believe that. Aggressive defenses force mistakes. Clumsy offenses make them. We expect Seattle to stay positive all season, potentially VERY positive given the priorities of their head coach. Carson Palmer’s erratic play for Arizona suggests they’ll be a negative in this category at the end of the season. Arizona’s even-steven mark in yardage differential is likely to get trumped by miscues over time.

 

Market Performance

Seattle: 4-2 ATS

Arizona: 4-2 ATS

Obviously the market had underestimated Arizona. They’re at .500 straight up after being underdogs in every game! Did you realize the market had also underestimated Seattle? That’s keyed by the miracle win in Houston. If you turn that into the straight up and ATS loss it should have been…then the market’s been fairly in line with the Seahawks.

Current Line: Seattle by 6, total 40.5

Road favorites between a field goal and a touchdown are always a challenge for handicappers because the game could blow up in either direction. We all know TV home underdogs can work some magic. But, San Francisco crushed St. Louis in this price range recently in the same division. Seattle at its best should win by double digits. Has Seattle been anywhere near its best on the road at any time this season? They only won by 6 at Carolina, and Carolina just lost badly on this very field.

JIM HURLEY knows you want to GET THE MONEY Thursday so the profits keep piling up all weekend long. He’ll provide the very best from this game, Miami-North Carolina in the colleges, and Game Five of the ALCS to his clients. You can purchase daily or full season packages right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.

Back with you tomorrow to continue our big game previews. The remaining schedule this weekend:

Friday: early look at Saturday’s UCLA/Stanford

Saturday: Florida State at Clemson in the ACC Clash of the Titans

Sunday: Denver at Indianapolis on NBC (Peyton’s NFL “homecoming”)

Monday: Minnesota at the NY Giants on ESPN! (Freeman gets the start for Vikes!)

Every dollar you make Thursday will multiply through the weekend. PILE UP YOUR PROFITS with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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