Free NFL Picks for Thursday Night Football Green Bay at Seattle
by CarbonSports - 9/3/2014
Game: Green Bay (+6) vs. Seattle (-6)
The NFL is finally back with a huge Thursday night opener between the Packers and Seahawks. Green Bay hasn't been to the Pacific Northwest since the "Fail Mary" game in 2012 with the replacement refs on the field. With both teams coming into the season among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year there will be no shortage of action in this game tonight between two of the league's elite.
Since Week 1 NFL lines have been out for months now this line has already seen plenty of action with bets on the side being just about split (52% for Green Bay) and the total getting bet hard on the high side (70%). It's no surprise that the 'over' is being hit in a game like this given the excitement for football to be back and the recreational bettor's love for 'overs', but don't be surprised to see this number come back down to it's opener (45.5) by the time we approach kickoff. However, it's the side that I want to focus on as the defending champs from Seattle look to snap a very poor trend for Super Bowl winners.
Since 2004 the defending champion has opened up the new season at home and has had mixed results. Straight up the champs are 8-2 SU in season openers but ATS they are only 5-3-2 ATS. If you got caught laying those nasty hooks on the favorite on New England in 2004 and New Orleans back in 2010 you'd be 5-5 ATS in season openers, with the most recent run being 1-4 ATS (counting the Saints as a loss). That doesn't bode well for Seattle in this game, especially since those two SU losses by defending champs have come in the last two years.
The Seahawks are loaded across the board once again this season, but you've got to wonder if a bit of that hunger and drive is gone after they got to the top eight months ago. In every sport there is always talk of a "championship hangover" and Seattle's got to overcome that grogginess on Thursday night if they want to start the year 1-0 SU and ATS.
Green Bay has a healthy Aaron Rodgers back in the mix and he's a favorite to bring home another league MVP this season. He's got great weapons around him but his O-Line is a concern coming into this year and they'll be tested right off the bat. Seattle's front four is one of the best in the business and they thrive off of rushing the QB and forcing him into bad decisions/throws, so look for Green Bay to neutralize some of that early on with a heavy dose of the run game and short screen passes to get Seattle to back off. The Packers have the right system and QB to be successful doing that as long as they have the correct communication and don't get caught up by that noisy 12th man in Seattle. Green Bay won't be underdogs like this the rest of the year so it's interesting to see that the action is split on the side at the moment.
Yet, it's tough to go against history here as the Super Bowl champs just haven't performed well in these season openers. Being expected to beat Green Bay by a TD is a lot and unless that Seahawks defense demolishes Green Bay's O-Line and rattles Rodgers, I have a tough time seeing this game finish with that big of a winning margin. Add in a bit of a revenge factor for the Packers after they got screwed here in 2012 and I believe the best option for this game is to take the points.
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