Free Expert NFL Picks: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/8/2014
I really didn't want to preview this Cowboys-Seahawks matchup. I'm frankly tired of all the hype surrounding Dallas, but they always move the needle when it comes to TV ratings and NFL betting at sportsbooks. And I'm sure I will be touching on at least a few more Seattle games because they are the defending Super Bowl Champions and favorites to repeat. However, I am left with really no choice but this game because it's clearly the best matchup of Week 6 between one-loss teams, and it's going to get monster ratings and betting action.
The last two times Dallas has played at CenturyLink Field have been pretty notable. The most recent was in 2012 when Seattle won 27-7. Why was that notable? It was the first home start of a Seahawks rookie QB named Russell Wilson. Who would have thought Wilson would become this good already as a third-round pick? And he's pretty unbeatable at home as Seattle has won 19 of its past 20 there, outscoring its opponents on average by 15.6 points per game. In those 20 home contests, Wilson has a stellar 109.6 QB rating with 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Those are numbers Peyton Manning would proud of.
The last visit to Seattle before that for Dallas was a very memorable wild-card game following the 2006 season. It rather symbolized the Cowboys' struggles in the playoffs (the rare times they get there) under Tony Romo. You may remember Romo bobbled the snap on a 19-yard field-goal attempt with 1:19 left in the game that probably would have won the game if good. Romo tried to recover and scramble in for a touchdown but was pulled down just shy of the goal line. Seattle won 21-20.
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Betting Story Lines
The Dallas defense gave up franchise records in yards last season and among the most in NFL history. Despite losing key players like Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware, this year's group is much better under new coordinator Rod Marinelli. It's not Seattle or anything but ranks No. 24 overall in yards, No. 18 against the pass, No. 20 against the rush and No. 8 in points (20.6).
My one worry if I'm a Dallas backer would be last week's 20-17 overtime home win over Houston. The Texans have a mediocre QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is incapable of beating a team. And he did nothing statistically. Yet the Cowboys allowed 176 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground. Seattle attacks on the ground more than anyone.
The Cowboys offense also has been a shock because it's middle-of-the-pack in passing but No. 2 in rushing. DeMarco Murray leads the NFL by far with 670 yards rushing and has rushed for at least 100 in every game. The record to start a season with 100-yard games is six straight by Hall of Famer Jim Brown in 1958. I am very curious to see what the books list Murray's "over/under" as this week as Seattle is No. 1 against the rush. Green Bay's Eddie Lacy had 34 yards against Seattle. Washington's Alfred Morris only 29 on Monday night.
I thought Seattle might struggle in Monday's 27-17 win at Washington, and the team didn't play great. For example, the Seahawks committed 13 penalties (most by the offensive line) and had three Percy Harvin touchdown catches called back, including on consecutive plays. Seattle did rush for 225 yards as Wilson went crazy with a career-best 122 yards rushing (and a TD) to go with 201 yards and two touchdowns passing. He is the only player in MNF history to have 200 yards passing and 100 rushing, and his 122 yards rushing were the most for any QB in MNF history. Seattle leads the NFL in rushing. Trust me, the team doesn't want Wilson running that much because as good as he is at sliding or getting out of bounds -- unlike Robert Griffin III -- he is going to take a few big hits if he keeps carrying the ball 11 times a game (plus scrambles).
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks NFL Week 6 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Seattle is a 9.5-point favorite (+105) and -370 on the moneyline. That line is a full 1.5 points higher than some other major books. The "over/under" is 47. You can get alternate lines of 8.5, 8 and 7.5 at 5Dimes. Dallas is 3-2 against the spread (2-0 on road) and 2-3 O/U (1-1 on road). Seattle is 3-1 ATS (2-0 at home) and 2-2 O/U (1-1 at home).
Dallas is 5-2 ATS in its past seven against teams with a winning record. The Seahawks are 5-0 ATS in their past five at home vs. teams with a winning road record. They are 14-6 ATS in their past 20 after an ATS win. The over is 4-0 in Dallas' past four on the road against teams with a winning home record. The over is 5-0 in Seattle's past five when playing on a Sunday following a Monday night game. The under is 7-1 in Seattle's past eight against teams with a winning record.
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Expert NFL Picks and Betting Predictions
Clearly the Cowboys are going to struggle to gain rushing yardage, so it's going to be on Romo to keep this close. I am presuming that Seattle sticks Richard Sherman on Dez Bryant, so if Murray and Bryant are taken out of the game what does that leave for Dallas to have any shot to win? I'm also not sure the Cowboys can slow the Seattle rushing attack. Starting linebacker Bruce Carter won't play, and fellow starter Rolando McClain is dealing with a groin injury. He might play but won't be 100 percent. According to Pro Football Focus, McClain has the Cowboys' second-highest defensive grade for the season, trailing only lineman Tyrone Crawford.
Obviously, I would shop around and get this lower than the 9.5, but I do think Seattle will win by double digits. Take the under.
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