Pick with Analysis
This years NFC Championship Game features the Green Bay Packers heading West to take on the defending NFC and Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The current line at 5 dimes and sportsbook.ag has the Seahawks favored by -7 to -7.5 with a total of 46.5.
Many bettors like the Seahawks in this spot and it’s easy enough to see why. They’ve had a stretch run that’s been 2nd to none, holding opponents to an average of just 8 points per Game and seemingly returning to the form we saw one year ago when Seattle and their ferocious defense won the Super Bowl. But have they really returned to form?
One major differeNCe between this year and last is that a year ago, the Seahawks were good from start to finish. This year, well, there’s a handful of Games that we can call into question and wonder just how good they really are compared to last season.
Seattle started the year with wins over these Packers and in Game 3, the Broncos. But that was sandwiched around a 30-21 loss at San Diego. A few weeks later, Dallas came into Seattle and hung 30 on the board, upsetting the Seahawks 30-23. That was followed by losing to the Rams 28-26 the following week and barely getting by the Panthers the week after that, 13-9. The next week the Giants outplayed the Seahawks in the first half and led 17-14 before Seattle turned things around in the 2nd half and then the following week they went on the road and lost to KC 24-20.
That’s a 9 Game stretch where the Seahawks went 5-4 with an average winning margin of 25-22. Hardly “Super”. In that stretch we saw teams Score24+ points in 5 of the 8 Games. After the KC Game, they went on a roll down the stretch, winning their last 6 Games and then knocking off Carolina last week in the Divisional round.
But a closer look at that stretch run and we see that their last 7 Games were no where near as difficult as the top half of their Schedule in terms of who they played. In their 7 Game home stretch, they beat a Cardinals team with NO OFFENSE twice, a 49ers team that was struggling offensively TWICE, the Eagles, Rams and then another struggling offensive team, the Panthers.
The Packers are far and away the best offensive team Seattle has faced since early November which was 9 Games ago. If we look at the 7 Game stretch run, against weaker teams, the Seahawks averaged 23.5 points per Game. At that average, they’d have to hold the Packers to less than 17 points in this Game in order to cover the -7. That’s been done just 3 times this year. To their credit, Seattle was one of those 3, however that was also in week 1. The other side of that is, if we look at Seattle’s 1st 10 Games, when they played teams with an offensive pulse, they were only able to hold 2 of 10 opponents to less than 17 points.
If there’s a coNCern here for the Packers it would be that they weren’t great on the road this year. They were 4-4 and the best defensive teams they played, Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo, held them to 16, 7 and 13 points.
The feeling here is that based on what we saw from Seattle thru their first 10 Games, the Packers figure to at least have some moderate success offensively here. again, it will be the biggest test this Seattle defense has had in months. Combine that with the fact that the Seahawks haven’t exactly been an offensive powerhouse and we have the makings for a Game that ends up being pretty close. Seattle figures to scoresomewhere between 17 and 24 points. Most times out, the Packers are going to hang at least 3 TD’s on the board. 3 TD’s or more in this Game likely means a cover and could mean a straight up win and by the way, the Packers offense is clicking on all cylynders.
Below is how Our model sees this Game. Now, keep in mind everything mentioned above about WHO Seattle played down the stretch during their last 7 Games.
Prediction using data from ONLY the last 7 Games – Seattle 23 Green Bay 8
Prediction using data from the ENTIRE season – Seattle 26 Green Bay 20
In this spot, the feeling here is that you have to take the entire season into consideration. Considering only the stretch run for Seattle could be misleading. I don’t want to go as far as to call the Seahawks a paper tiger, because that wouldn’t be ACCurate. They are a talented team. However, they very well may not be as dominating and talented as their 7 Game stretch run makes them out to be. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are in a zone and I’d expect them to show up and then some on Sunday. Packers +7.5 -120 and we’ll play the Packers on the Money Line at +275 (using 5 dimes reduced juice +275 is the best money line price on the planet)