You can thank the Atlanta Falcons for making the stretch run in the NFC West extremely interesting. What appeared to be a foregone conclusion a month ago is now anything but as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are tied atop the divisional standings. Making things all the more interesting–the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker and will host the Niners in the ‘Jet City’ to conclude the regular season on December 29. That game could potentially determine the NFC West champion but first the Niners and Seahawks must take care of business by winning Game #15 of the 2019 NFL season on their home field. The Niners take on the Los Angeles Rams while the Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals.
It’s easy to conclude that the Seahawks have the easier matchup this week based simply on W/L records. San Francisco faces the 8-6 Rams while Seattle takes on the 4-9-1 Cardinals. While the Cardinals might not have the most impressive SU record they’ve been very competitive all season long. As a result, they’ve performed very well against the spread covering 8 of 14 games with one push. Seattle, on the other hand, has shown a tendency for ‘flirting with disaster’ at home. CenturyLink Field is still a tough place to play for opposing teams but it long ago reached the point that Seattle was overvalued at home. They’re 4-2 SU at home this year but just 2-4 ATS and over the past three seasons they’re 9-12 ATS. The Seahawks could have very easily been 1-5 ATS this year as one of their covers was against Tampa Bay where Seattle won by 6 in OT as -5.5 home chalk.
Not only has Arizona been a moneymaking team against the spread overall they’ve been particularly effective in a couple of relevant situations. They’re just 2-4 SU on the road but have gone 4-1-1 against the spread. As an underdog, they’re just 4-8 SU but 8-4 against the number. As an underdog in this price range (+3.5 to +9.5 though there are a few +10 prices on the board now) they’re 1-4 SU but 3-1 ATS. They have gone 0-6 SU/1-4-1 ATS against opponents with winning records but as noted above the Seahawks have shown a decided aptitude for ‘playing down’ to their opponent’s level at home. Seattle is 5-0 SU against opponents under .500 but managed to push in two of those wins for a 3-0-2 ATS record.
The Seahawks have played a generally high level of opposition at home this season but failed to cover against Cincinnati winning by 1 as -9 favorites. The Bengals ended up being an awful team but since it was the first game of the year they weren’t ‘under .500’ at the time. They won but failed to cover against an erratic LA Rams team in early October winning by 1 as -1.5 favorites. We talked about the Tampa Bay game earlier–the Seahawks ended up covering but needed OT to do it.
From a pointspread perspective, Arizona has had Seattle’s number of late. The Seahawks are 4-1 SU in the last five meetings but Arizona is 3-1-1 against the spread including 2-0 in their last two trips to CenturyLink Field. Kyler Murray can definitely do damage against a porous Seattle defense that yields 378.3 yards per game which is a lowly 27th in the league. Seattle’s scoring defense is just #21 allowing 24.5 PPG. These Seahawks are a far cry from the ‘Legion of Boom’ era and now wins games by outscoring opponents as opposed to shutting them down defensively. Throw in the massive lookahead potential of next weekend’s showdown against San Francisco and the Cardinals are a very live dog here. The Seahawks will probably scrap out the victory but as has so often been the case this year it won’t be easy.