Bengals at Seahawks Week 1 NFL Point Spread Pick – 9/8/19

betting on russell wilson and the seattle seahawks
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The Cincinnati Bengals are at the Seattle Seahawks in week 1 NFL action with a current point spread favoring the Seahawks by 8. The total, also known as the over under line, is 43.5.

This write up and pick is being posted towards the end of July. Things may change by September. However, it’s always interesting to analyze the betting trends as part of the NFL handicapping process.

This game between the Seahawks and Bengals is one of the most heavily bet NFL games at this point. In fact, the only game with more betting interest is the KC/Jax game.

Bigger Bets on Seahawks

Early bettors are taking the points with the Bengals. That’s in terms of the number of actual tickets being written on Cincinnati, which accounts for around 75%.

However, when looking at the actual money wagered, it’s almost a 50/50 split. In other words, more bets have been placed on the Bengals, but the larger bets have been placed on the Seahawks.

The Seahawks are coming off a 10-win season that ended in the Wild Card round of the playoffs with a loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

The team is not the same as the last few seasons. The Legion of Boom is no longer. Russell Wilson has a lot of pressure carrying the team after signing a HUGE contract extension. 

Seattle was a solid team to wager on last season going 11-5-1 ATS and they were 6-2 at home. 

Bengals Look to Regroup

The Bengals look to regroup after a 6-10 season where they only had two road wins. They ranked dead last in the NFL on defense. However, they covered the spread in nine of their 16 games and covered in their last four home games.

While Cincy ranked dead last on defense last season the team used their top two draft picks on offensive players. Their first-round pick in OT Jonah Williams (#11) is out for the season with a shoulder injury. 

Andy Dalton has produced playoff appearances in his time with the Bengals, but no wins. He has the weapons with the likes of WR duo A.J. Green, who has to stay healthy, and Tyler Boyd (1,028 receiving yards last season) and RB Joe Mixon (1,168 rushing yards last season), but can the D improve? 

New Cincy head coach Zac Taylor has a tall task with a team that lost their mojo last season. While the defense may be better than last season, they still have big-time issues. Dalton may be on a short leash. If the team loses early, they may take a look at Ryan Finley, who they took in the 4th round of the draft. 

Expect Seahawks to Run, Often

Wilson is the big star in Seattle and signed a $140 million contract extension in the off-season, but the run game is still the key to team. They led the league last season in rushing offense with Chris Carson (1,151 yards last season) and Rashaad Penny.

Wilson has a decent WR corps but look for a run heavy season opener facing a Cincy run D that only ranked 29th in the league last season. 

Seattle’s defense only ranked 16th in the league last season. The Legion of Boom is gone, but the club made some solid defensive additions in the off-season. That includes  three of their top four draft picks being defensive players. 

Our Pick Against the Spread

When we handicap week 1 NFL games, we look back to last season as a starting point. Seattle and Cincinnati did not play each other last season. Their last meeting was in 2015.

If they did meet, our score prediction model would have had Seattle winning by 8 just as the oddsmakers line suggests. However, that’s using data from the entire season. If we look only at the 2nd half of last season, our model would have had the Seahawks by two touchdowns.

So, clearly two teams headed in opposite directions as last season came to an end. In order to handicap this one, we need to determine if the Bengals made the proper moves to close the gap.

A look at the AFC North future odds and preview article we posted shows that both oddsmakers and futures bettors don’t have much confidence in the Bengals. They are dead last at odds of 15/1 in the division.

The Bengals off season moves and a new head coach suggest that it’s a work in progress in Cincinnati in 2019. While the Seahawks should make another playoff run. We’d love to get -7 or less so watch the board.

Our Pick: Seahawks -8