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Week 7 Sunday Afternoon Preview: Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants Betting Advice

By Peter Brooks in Sports
| October 20, 2017 12:00 am PDT
seahawks-vs-giants

Every season in the National Football League, an average of somewhere between 4 and 6 teams that made the playoffs in the season before fail to repeat the following year.

This degree of playoff turnover is one of the hallmarks of the NFL, a league that prides itself on its parity. Even if a few dynastic franchises (such as the Patriots and Packers) are able to make the playoffs year in and year out for a decade at a time, other franchises on the fringe know that they always have an opportunity to make the playoffs even if they didn’t make the playoffs last year.

In this Week 7 game on Sunday afternoon, we see two of last year’s playoff teams that are struggling.

Last year, the Seattle Seahawks started out the season 4–1, and even though they suffered some adversity later on in the season after losing star safety Earl Thomas to a broken leg, there was never a question that the Seahawks would be a playoff representative – the only question was how high of a seed they would be able to pull.

This season, through five games, Seattle has looked much more mortal, being one last-second touchdown drop away from a losing record going into the bye week. With the Rams looking like they could contend in the NFC West and the Cardinals getting an immediate boost from the acquisition of Adrian Peterson, it’s not a sure thing at this point like it was last year.

Last year, the New York Giants ended up with a record of 11–5, and after their Week 8 bye they seemed to be a completely different team, coming out with a strong running game and seeing their defense ascend to one of the best in the league, indicating that their expensive gamble in bringing in multiple big name free agents had paid off.

This season, through six games, the Giants have looked like a completely different team, opening the season 0–5 before finally pulling off a surprising win on Sunday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. Currently 4th place in the division, and with the Eagles and Redskins both looking like legitimate contenders, at this point it seems all but impossible for the G-Men to make it.

Both of these teams have veteran quarterbacks that have made it all the way to the big dance multiple times, and both of these teams have a history of starting the season slow and then coming on strong as the season progresses.

But even still, the slow starts that we’ve seen from the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants so far in 2017/18 have taken everyone by surprise.

And even though it’s still early in the season, it’s still a critical juncture for these two teams as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive and try to keep from being one of those 4-6 teams that fail to repeat as playoff contenders.

For the Seahawks, even though they already have three wins on the season, they’ve already had their bye week, and with tough games upcoming against the Texans, the Redskins, the Falcons, the Eagles, the Jaguars, and the Rams, you can never be too careful. Coming off the bye, the Seahawks need to make sure that they don’t come out looking sluggish.

For the Giants, of course, with 5 losses already this season their margin of error is essentially zero. Coming off of a big win on Sunday Night Football last week and heading into their bye week next week, a loss this week would mean that they essentially need to go undefeated the rest of the way to have any hope of making the playoffs.

In this way, this game on Sunday afternoon is of paramount importance for both teams and should be a tense matchup in MetLife Stadium.

  • Who: Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants
  • Where: MetLife Stadium. East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • When: Sunday, October 22, 2017. 4:25 PM (EST) on CBS

And we’ve got you covered with all the information you need to know in order to make informed gambling decisions for the following bets:

  • Moneyline bets
  • Bets against the spread
  • The total score over/under bet
  • Any prop bets or futures that could hold value

Every season we see 4-6 teams that made the playoffs last season that fail to repeat the following year. In this Week 7 matchup, we see two teams that have looked especially vulnerable (particularly the Giants), and which are in danger of allowing this to happen.

Seahawks vs. Giants Betting

FootballMoneyLine
  • Seahawks -220
  • Giants +180

When picking games straight-up for moneyline odds, our philosophy is to try and determine which team will have a mental advantage in the game.

In our experience, the team that’s able to stay mentally tough for the entire 60-minute contest is generally the team that ends up on top when the final whistle blows. When a team loses focus and the mental edge goes to their opponent, they often start making those vital mistakes that pile up and end up leading to a loss.

These mistakes can include anything from errant throws, dropped balls, pre-snap communication issues, and penalties on the offensive side of the ball all the way to a general lack of discipline and gap soundness (not to mention missed assignments and blown coverages) on the defensive side of the ball.

One of the factors we generally take into account when assigning a mental edge is home field advantage.

While it may seem silly to talk about home field advantage when one team is 1–5, we believe that in this game the fact that the Giants are playing at home will play a significant role for several reasons:

  • First, it’s important to note how big of a momentum swing the Giants picked up from winning last Sunday in Denver on national television. Giants nation has to be more fired up this week than they ever have before, and they should be plenty loud at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
  • Second, we should also point out that the Seahawks are not only playing on the road, but they’re also traveling from Seattle all the way to East Rutherford, New Jersey, which is essentially as far west-to-east as you can get. This eastward travel always takes its toll.
  • Third, the fact of the matter is that home field advantage operates primarily by impacting the communication among offensive linemen, and Seattle’s offensive line is particularly susceptible to this type of distraction. Pre-snap penalties can easily put a team behind in down and distance.

When you add all of this together, it seems clear that the fact that the Seahawks are playing this game in MetLife Stadium rather than in CenturyLink Field should significantly alter the outcome.

In addition to home field advantage, we believe that the health of these two teams and the amount of rest that they’ve had recently will also impact the game.

The Seattle Seahawks have had their share of injuries this season, most notably with yet another injury on the offensive line, as the team lost starting tackle George Fant to a torn ACL in preseason. In addition, rookie running back Chris Carson – who had taken over the starting running back job in a crowded backfield – also ended up on injured reserve after suffering a broken bone in his knee.

However, the Seahawks are coming off of their bye week, and thus should be as healthy as they can be.

On the other side, however, the Giants have lost so many players at this point that it almost sounds like a joke.

Not only were both of their highest-paid receivers lost in the same game, with both Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall needing season-ending ankle surgery, but they also lost wide receiver Dwayne Harris for the season with a broken foot, and were also down Sterling Shepard in the receiving corps.

This slew of injuries among their receiving targets forced the Giants to run a two-minute offense with three tight ends on the field, the last thing you want.

And this doesn’t even mention the injuries on the defensive side of the ball for the Giants, which are extensive.

In short, from a health perspective, the Giants need their bye week to come more than any other team in the league, and the fact that it is coming next week impacts their personnel decisions. Coaches will sometimes hold out players in the week before the bye just to make sure that they are able to get a full three weeks of recovery time, and this could impact who is available for this game on Sunday.

Ultimately, we believe that the Giants’ injuries will be the major difference in the game.

Backup players are backup players for a reason – they weren’t good enough to start. And by definition, backup players get fewer snaps than starters, both in practice and during the game, and with less practice time comes a higher propensity to make mental mistakes.

For anyone watching the game last week against the Denver Broncos, it was clear that it wasn’t the Giants who won the game, it was the Broncos who lost it. Losing their starting quarterback during the game and falling prey to a whole host of additional mental errors, everything that could have gone wrong for the Broncos did go wrong.

Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place, and we’re hard-pressed to believe that the Seahawks – with their veteran leadership at quarterback and excellent coaching – will make anywhere near the amount of mistakes that the Broncos did. And when the Giants’ backup players make their fair share, we see the errors piling up and leading to a win for Seattle.

Pick: Seahawks to win

FootballSpread
  • Seahawks -5 (-110)
  • Giants +5 (-110)

Having established our pick for the Seattle Seahawks to travel all the way to the East Coast and win this game on Sunday afternoon due to the amount of mental errors that will be committed by the Giants’ very injured squad, it’s now time for us to turn our attention to the question of whether the Seahawks will win by more than 5 points.

In picking games against the spread, our philosophy involves taking a look at the way that the winning team’s offense matches up against the losing team’s defense.

In our experience, when the winning team matches up well against the losing team’s defense, they are generally able to put up enough points to win against the spread. On the other hand, when the losing team’s defense matches up well against the winning team’s offense, and they are able to generate stops, the game often ends up close, and the losing team often covers.

In this case, the matchup that we’ll be looking at is between the Seahawks’ offense and the Giant’s defense.

So far this season, the primary issue for the Seahawks has been the same issue that we’ve seen in seemingly ever season in Seattle for the past few years: the offensive line.

When you ask Seahawks fans, they’ll undoubtedly tell you that they wished savvy general manager John Schneider would direct a little more draft capital towards the offensive line. But this season, the difference was that the Seahawks felt that they had a combination they liked, only to have it taken away when George Fant tore his ACL in the preseason.

The ineffectiveness of Seattle’s offensive line has impacted the running game more than the passing game this season, as Russell Wilson is used to scrambling by now.

So far this season, the Seahawks have struggled to run the ball, ranking just around the middle of the league in both rushing attempts and rushing yards, and 6th-lowest in the league in rushing touchdowns. Their 4.0 yards per carry average is even below average, at 20th in the league.

In addition to the offensive line struggles, the Seahawks also had difficulty in the early part of the year settling on a running back. Going into the season, Seattle not only had returning players Thomas Rawls and C. J. Prosise (the two primary starters from a season ago), but they also brought in free agent Eddie Lacy from the Green Bay Packers and snatched rookie Chris Carson near the very end of the draft.

Ultimately, after Carson gave them a spark and they settled on the young rookie as the featured back, the young man got rolled up on and broke a bone in his knee, effectively ending his season.

These injuries in the backfield, the running-back-by-committee approach, and the difficulties along the offensive line have made it difficult for Seattle to run the ball this season, not to mention the fact that their general inability to sustain drives have made it difficult for them to show a strong commitment to running the ball, as has the fact that they have often been playing from behind.

In the absence of the run game, Russell Wilson has done what he always does: get out of the pocket.

Though it took a while to get things going, Russell Wilson has once again begun to excel in broken plays and scrambles outside the pocket, showing exceptional brilliance on long throws. So far through five games, Wilson has thrown the 7th-most passes in the league that have traveled at least 20 yards through the air, and his passer rating on these throws is an incredible 116.7.

We foresee Wilson being able to torch the Giants’ defense with some long balls, as the G-Men have given up 20 pass plays of 20+ yards, which is ranked 26th in the NFL.

In addition, the Giants are limited (as we mentioned above) by their injuries. With Landon Collins limited this week in practice, Olivier Vernon and Jonathan Casillas both missing last week’s game against Denver with injury, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a healthy scratch due to disciplinary action by Ben McAdoo, it remains to be seen what kind of defensive secondary the Giants will be able to trot out.

Ultimately, we believe that the beat-up squad for the Giants will be unable to handle the down-the-field passing production of the Seahawks. And with a full bye week to install a more effective running offense, we see the Seahawks finding a better balance in this game, and dominating on O.

Pick: Seahawks to win by more than 5

FootballTotal Score
  • Over 40 (-110)
  • Under 40 (-110)

Now that we’ve established our prediction for the Seattle Seahawks to go on the road and take this game from the Giants due to the injuries that New York has sustained, and for Seattle to be able to score points on offense with the deep pass, let’s turn our attention to the question of whether we believe this game will be generally high- or low-scoring.

When picking games for the total score over/under bet, our philosophy involves taking a look at the way that the winning team’s defense matches up against the losing team’s offense.

In our experience, when the winning team is both able to generate enough points to win against the spread and able to generate stops on defense, the combined score of the game will almost certainly end up going under the posted total. However, when the losing team is able to score points, the game often turns into a shootout that pushes the total score over.

In this game, the matchup we’ll be looking at is the Seahawks’ defense vs. the Giants’ offense.

For a team that has had a host of problems this season, the Giants’ offense has looked particularly bad, with a shaky offensive line, a quarterback who has looked very old, wide receivers who have looked out of sync, an injury to their key star Odell Beckham Jr. that seemed to completely ruin their whole plan, and no real running backs to speak of.

However, the Giants’ offense improbably looked great last week against the Broncos.

Even with all of the challenges listed above, and even while facing off against one of the better and more disciplined defenses in the league, the Giants managed to put up 23 points on offense, only one point below their highest total for the season.

The Giants’ made two key changes on offense: another new O-line combination, and a new play caller.

After head coach Ben McAdoo called the plays for the first 5 wins of the season (all losses), the responsibility was turned over to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who clearly injected a breath of life into a unit that had become stagnant. Going with simpler formations (by necessity, with mostly young and unproven players) and running the ball much more, Sullivan had success in Denver.

Secondly, the Giants seemed to finally hit upon an offensive line combination that worked, with Ereck Flowers at left tackle, John Jerry at left guard, Brett Jones at center, D. J. Fluker at right guard, and Justin Pugh at right guard. Pugh and Jerry were both moved from where they started the season, and the line ended up helping the Giants rush for 148 yards against the stingy Denver defense.

Even though this combination worked last week, we say that this had more to do with the Broncos’ sluggish defense, which didn’t take them seriously, than with anything the Giants did.

And regardless of whether the combination is effective or not, it’s almost certainly not going to last. The Giants will soon get Weston Richburg back from his concussion, at which point he would reclaim his place in the starting lineup at center.

Offensive line aside, the Giants still have essentially zero quality wide receivers.

With Odell Beckham Jr. out for the season after having season-ending ankle surgery, (and ditto for Brandon Marshall), and Dwayne Harris on IR with a broken bone in his foot, Eli Manning was working with backups that he had hardly ever thrown with last week in Denver.

This lack of receivers is one of the primary reasons why Eli Manning currently sits with 9 touchdowns to 5 interceptions, with a passer rating of 89.7. With Sterling Shepard due to return in this game, and Evan Engram surging last week, things should get a little better, but the Giants still need to rely on the run game.

The biggest revelation for the Giants in the game against Denver was running back Orleans Darkwa.

In the absence of last year’s standout Paul Perkins, who has been held out of the last two games with broken ribs, Orleans Darkwa has become the workhouse. Against the Broncos, Darkwa ran for 117 yards on 21 carries. And let’s not forget that this was a Broncos squad that had held Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy, and Marshawn Lynch to a combined 95 yards.

Darkwa has averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry this season but has gotten very few opportunities. Last week’s game was the first that he got more than 8 touches.

And against the Seahawks, the Giants are going to need to rely on their running game. Seattle’s pass defense, with such big names as Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Richard Sherman, has allowed opposing quarterbacks a combined 70.8 passer rating (good for 3rd in the league) and an average of 202.8 passing yards (good for 9th in the league).

However, Seattle has been susceptible to the run, with their run defense allowing opposing rushers 4.9 yards per carry (3rd-worst in the league) and 127.2 yards per game (7th-worst in the league).

The reason for this is mental. Passing defense involves coverage and pass rush, both of which rely on individual players making individual plays. Run defense involves trust and discipline, making sure that every individual does his job and doesn’t try to be a hero.

The Seahawks are still congealing together and learning to play as a unit, which always takes time. In this game, we see them start to put things together and make the Giants one-dimensional. Knowing that Eli Manning is severely limited in the number of offensive weapons he has available, the Seahawks should be expecting the run, and stack the box.

And when the Seahawks both take away the run and play with a lead, we foresee Eli getting behind in the down and distance, putting himself in obvious passing situations that lead to errant throws. Not only should this lead to little to no scoring for the Giants, but it should also lead to turnovers that help Seattle control the clock.

Put this all together, and we’re taking the under.

Pick: Giants 10, Seahawks 24

Prop Bets

Now that we’ve established our view of the game, that the New York Giants will lose at home due to injuries, that the Seahawks will be able to score with some long passing plays, and that the Seahawks defense should man-handle the Giants’ offense, let’s see if we can’t profit off of this view of the game by investing in some prop bets.

Specifically, we believe that the following bets will hold value:

  • Michael Bennett to go over his posted total for sacks. With Bennett leading the Seahawks in sacks so far through 5 games (with 4.0) and the Giants’ offensive line highly suspect, we believe that the Seahawks will be able to get home multiple times, and we see Bennett getting a couple.
  • Orleans Darkwa to go over his posted total for yards. With the Giants’ young running back having a breakout game last week, the Giants very light at receiver, and the Seahawks vulnerable primarily in run defense, we like the G-Men to rely heavily on Darkwa in this game.
  • Russell Wilson to go over his posted total for rushing yards. The Seahawks still don’t have their down-the-field passing game completely put together, and their offensive line still needs work, but if the Giants start putting extra defensive backs in coverage Wilson will have running lanes.

In addition to the bets above that we will be able to watch unfold live on Sunday, also keep in mind the following future bets, for which we will see some clues in this game:

  • Ben McAdoo for First Coach Fired. There’s no question that the Giants’ young head coach is sitting on the hottest seat in the entire league, with his team losing the first five games of the season despite losing only 5 games all of last If the Giants make a clean sweep, he’s gone.
  • The Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West. If the Los Angeles Rams continue to level off throughout this season (which we believe to be likely), then the odds for the Seahawks to win the division will only get less profitable. Grab them now, while they are still offering good value.
  • The New York Giants to miss the playoffs. No team in the league has ever made the playoffs after starting out 0–4, much less 0–5, so the Giants missing the playoffs is the closest thing to a sure thing you’ll ever find. The question is whether you’ll be able to find any good odds.

Experienced gamblers know that you can’t just watch the games to see your live bets unfold: it’s also important to be taking mental notes for any and all future bets that you might want to make down the line. Keep the bets above in mind as you watch, and thank us later.

Summary: Best Bets

Every season in the NFL, somewhere between 4 and 6 teams that made the playoffs last year end up failing to repeat as postseason contenders. This season, the Giants seem like an obvious contender to miss the playoffs, despite making it last year, and the Seahawks have also looked uncharacteristically vulnerable to a potential playoff snub, making this Sunday afternoon matchup all the more important.

We believe that the Seahawks will be able to capitalize off of all of the mental mistakes that the Giants’ somehow didn’t make in their improbable win in Denver last week. We foresee Seattle being able to throw the deep ball against the Giants, and like their disciplined defense to manhandle the Giant’s constantly reshuffled offensive line.

In order to profit off of this view of the game, here are our best bets:

  • Seahawks -220 moneyline
  • Seahawks -5 against the spread (-110)
  • The total score to go under 40 (-110)
  • Michael Bennett to go over his posted total for sacks
  • Orleans Darkwa to go over his posted total for yards
  • Russell Wilson to go over his posted total for rushing yards

For the Seahawks, it’s too early to call this game a must-win, but if you look at their schedule it’s clear that their toughest stretch of the season is still in front of them. And for the Giants, with one more loss, they would essentially need to finish the rest of the season undefeated in order to have a shot to win the NFC East, which seems like a very tall order.

It seems like one of these teams that we see on Sunday afternoon will fail to repeat as a playoff team, and we say it’s the Giants.

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