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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 5:00 PM

You regular students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping know that I’ve been talking about, and winning with the Seattle Seahawks a lot in recent weeks. We recognized early in the turnaround that the Seahawks had lifted their game for the stretch run. My clients and I took advantage often.

Heading into the playoffs, Seattle is a virtual co-favorite with Carolina and Arizona to win the NFC (which would be their third straight conference crown). Even though Seattle is a #6 seed, and the other two teams have byes…it’s recognized by those in the know that the Seahawks are playing the best football in the NFC “right now.” They just manhandled Arizona in the first half when it was “starter vs. starter” last week. Carolina may have peaked too early, and is starting to look tired on defense.

If all playoff games were played on neutral fields like the college Final Four, then KELSO STURGEON might very well be on Seattle to win the NFC and the Super Bowl. But, the weather forecast for this Sunday’s game in Minnesota makes it very clear that the Seahawks toughest opponents in the brackets might be the weather.

Depending on which forecast you read, the high temperature is going to be zero, one, or two degrees. There will be a breeze blowing, which creates wind chill that will be in the minuses. It doesn’t look like there will be any precipitation. But, cold weather is enough to get in the way of what Seattle’s been doing recently.

Remember, this season…

*Seattle’s defense has taken a step backward (not nearly as scary)

*Seattle’s running game has taken a step backward (less smash mouth)

*Russell Wilson has taken three steps forward

Wilson has really stepped up in recent weeks to be a PLAYMAKER and GAMEBREAKER. He’s the reason Seattle is back in the championship hunt. This wasn’t a case of a team “re-capturing” the magic that had worked so well. Seattle was winning in a NEW way with a maturing quarterback taking a more emphatic leadership position.

Unfortunately for them, that isn’t a good match for wind chills below zero! Last year’s Seattle was ideally suited for horrible conditions. Imagine trying to score on the best recent Seattle defenses in frigid weather! This year’s team relies more on the pass to outscore what their slightly disappointing defense is allowing.

Seattle and Minnesota played on this field a few weeks ago, in much better weather.

Seattle won the game 38-7

Seattle won total yardage 433-125

Wilson was 21-28-0-260 in the air

Seattle’s defense wasn’t disappointing there. And, the Seahawks did control the ground game…particularly as they sat on a lead after Minnesota gave up. It’s interesting that Adrian Peterson only carried the ball eight times. I expect he’ll get a lot more chances this week! Teddy Bridgewater can’t beat the Seahawks on his own. He can win a frozen coin flip if he’s getting a lot of help from Peterson.

Obviously Minnesota will have to lift its game to win and advance. Note that Seattle was a 3-point favorite in that prior meeting, but is now -4.5 or -5 because the market is finally catching up to their new level of play. Minnesota will make adjustments from that loss. Minnesota will have revenge on its mind. Minnesota won’t have much to lose because they’re not expected to win the game. Dangerous host for a young visiting quarterback forced to throw in brittle cold weather on a team that might come in overconfident.

You’ll have to sign up for service to see who I’m picking in this game on Sunday. Maybe I’m still driving the Seattle bandwagon. Maybe I’ll put on the brakes this week and get back on in better weather (Seattle would play in Carolina next week if they win this week). I won’t tell you here because that’s not fair to my paying clients. Also, there’s still time for weather, injury, or market developments to influence that selection (certainly the unit rating even if I’ve made up my mind on the team side and/or total). Between now and then, I’ll be focused on the baskets and Saturday’s Wildcard action in the AFC.

KELSO STURGEON’S best bets can always be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters’ office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. This is a great time to lock in for the college football championship game Monday, the Super Bowl in early February, and all of March Madness.

Back with you in a few days to talk more football. Then, by Sunday, I’ll have posted my general thoughts on handicapping that Alabama-Clemson championship game that goes Monday night. It’s shaping up as a tricky one to handicap because both teams have playmakers, but one is much more battle tested than the other in terms of quality regular season opponents (go review what the SEC West just did in the bowls!).

January’s a great month for Las Vegas sports bettors. The Dean of Sports Handicapping hopes your nose is to the grindstone so you can make the most of it!


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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

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