Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons Expert NFL Betting Picks for Best Props on Board
by Chris Vasile - 1/12/2017
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Dome, 4:35 p.m. EST. Jan 14, 2017
The Divisional Round of the NFL postseason kicks off with a rematch from Week 6, when the Seattle Seahawks travel to Atlanta to tangle with the Falcons. There were plenty of talking points in that Week 6 meeting, with the main one being the non-call on Richard Sherman for pass interference. The Falcons trailed by two with less than a minute left and were left fuming after a clear PI penalty was not called against the Seahawks' cornerback. That penalty would have moved the ball just inside Seattle territory and given the Falcons a last-second field goal attempt to win the game. A different result could have affected the entire NFC landscape, but we are here now and there is no more looking back.
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The Falcons earned one of the two bye weeks in the NFC and will be well rested for this game. They will have had plenty of time to put in some new wrinkles offensively to bolster an already top-of-the-league scoring offense. They lead the NFL with an average of 33.8 points per game. They are second in total yards per game (415.8), third in passing yards (295.3) and fifth in rushing (120.5). To say they are a well-rounded team on offense would be an understatement. They can hurt you in many different ways and with a variety of players. The Falcons closed the regular season strong, winning their last four games . They also have a bit of history on their side in this one as Matt Ryan's only playoff win came against these very Seahawks back in 2012 in Atlanta.
The Seahawks will be in tough to contain the Falcon's high-powered offense, but they should like their chances. The defense has been the MVP of the team this season, giving up just more than 315 yards per game (fifth overall) and 18 points per game (third overall). The loss of Earl Thomas is big, but players like Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Bobby Wagner have taken their game to another level. They were able to shut down the Detroit Lions' offense last week with ease. And while this week's opponent presents a whole new challenge, I expect them to be ready.
I have keyed a few prop bets I expect to hit and make us some money.
All lines are courtesy of Sports Interaction
Alternative Point Spread
Atlanta -10, +163
Revenge will be a huge factor in this game. The Falcons are still pissed off about that Week 6 loss and are reminding everyone about it leading up to this game. I am a bit baffled by this low line of -4.5 . If home field is worth three points, then Las Vegas is saying that the Falcons and their historic offense are only 1.5 points better than the Seahawks. That is what I would call nonsense.
The Falcons do four things very well. They run the football, they have a solid aerial attack, they put up plenty of points and they have a solid pass rush. The pass rush will be the single most important facet of the game this week, and luckily for Falcons' fans they will be able to take advantage of a very bad Seahawks offensive line. Another aspect the Falcons will be able to take advantage of is the turnover margin. The Falcons don't turn the ball over and the Seahawks have just three takeaways in their last five games. Extra possessions mean extra chances to score, which means a higher-scoring game. Las Vegas is tempting bettors to think this line is a trap and to take Seattle. I'm going the opposite way. The Falcons are at least seven points better than the Seahawks, and if you add in three points for home field, this game won't be close.
Team Total - Seattle Seahawks
"Under" 22.5, -110
The Seahawks offensive line has been one of the worst units in the league this season. Russell Wilson has been sacked 41 times already this year, and facing one of the elite pass rushes in the NFL is not going to fix the problem. The main reason teams tend to put up a lot of points against the Falcons is because they give the opposing QB time in a clean pocket and let him make the right read. However, this week I expect Wilson to be hurried, pressured and sacked many times, leading to poor passes and bad decision making.
I also expect the Seahawks' run game to come back down to earth after last week's solid performance. Thomas Rawls chalked up 163 yards on the ground. However, in a game where I expect the Seahawks to play from behind, the run game will need to be abandoned in favor of the pass. Cue the pass rush.
The Seahawks averaged just 15.8 points per game on the road in the regular season. I see no scenario where they will put up more than 20 points against this Falcons team that not only has revenge on the mind but will be playing their last game ever in the Georgia Dome.
Anytime Touchdown Scorer
Julio Jones -111
Julio Jones was the victim of the Week 6 non-call between these two teams and will be eager and hungry to make amends for that loss. Jones was hampered by an ankle injury to close out the season, but with a full two weeks of rest he is closing in on 100 percent health.
Jones turned in a solid performance in his last game of the regular season, catching seven balls for 96 yards and a touchdown against the Saints. In the Week 6 game against the Seahawks, Jones burned the secondary for 139 yards and a touchdown. That was with Earl Thomas on the field. Without Thomas, Jones will have more room to operate and ultimately more opportunities to make plays for his team.
The key to any successful postseason run is having your star players make plays, and if Jones is going to be considered as one of the best receivers in the game then he will need to make a statement and earn his paycheck by catching plenty of balls and scoring touchdowns.
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