Free Expert NFL Picks: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/18/2014
Huge game in the NFC on Sunday night this week with the top seed in the conference likely on the line when Seattle visits Arizona. The Cardinals (11-3), by some minor miracle, have the best record in the NFC. They are in the playoffs no matter what -- remember, the Super Bowl is in the Cardinals' stadium this February. Arizona clinches the NFC West and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs (literally in this case) with a win.
As for Seattle (10-4), it clinches a playoff spot with a win and one of the following: an Eagles loss or a Lions loss. The Seahawks also are in if the Eagles lose Saturday in Washington and Dallas beats Indianapolis on Sunday. However, Seattle clearly has designs on the NFC West and the No. 1 overall seed for the second straight season. If the Seahawks win this game, they almost surely will win the division because they would have swept the Cardinals this season. Seattle will be a sizable favorite in Week 17 at home vs. St. Louis, even though the Rams are playing much better. Arizona probably is an underdog Week 17 at San Francisco in the Jim Harbaugh finale for the 49ers.
If the Seahawks win out, the only way they wouldn't be the top seed in the NFC is to finish in a two-way tie with the Cowboys at 12-4 because Dallas defeated Seattle earlier this season. The Seahawks have surged into the favored role to repeat as NFC champion at 8/5 at Bovada. It is -300 to win the division. Arizona is just a fifth-favorite in the NFC at 12/1 and +200 to win the West.
Seahawks at Cardinals Betting Story Lines
Oddsmakers didn't have much faith in Arizona heading into Week 15 and they have even less after starting quarterback Drew Stanton, the former No. 2 to Carson Palmer, went down with a knee injury in last Thursday's 12-6 win in St. Louis (have to admit I thought the Rams would win that one, but killed it on the "under."). It has been reported that Stanton suffered Grade 2 ACL and MCL sprains. At least they weren't torn. Stanton is expected to miss around a month so maybe -- maybe -- he could play in the Cardinals' first playoff game if they are able to get a first-round bye.
It's not like Stanton was all that great, completing just 55 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and five picks. But he was better than this week's starter: Ryan Lindley. He was only signed by the team in mid-November. Lindley played in six games with four starts as a rookie in 2012 and served as the Cardinals' No. 3 QB last year but did not see any game action. Lindley was released by the team in August and joined San Diego's practice squad. Lindley was 4-for-14 for 30 yards and nearly a crucial interception (overturned on replay) in relief of Stanton vs. St. Louis. Coach Bruce Arians is making the Seahawks prepare for rookie Logan Thomas as well, saying the team is designing some plays for the mobile fourth-rounder from Virginia Tech.
Bovada has some Week 16 specials on Lindley against the No. 1 Seattle defense: over/under 185.5 passing yards, with under a -130 favorite; and "yes" Lindley will throw a TD pass at -150 and "no" at +120. That Seahawks defense is playing even better than last year's historically-good unit right now. Seattle has allowed just 27 total points in the past four games. Last year's best four-game run in the regular season was 43 points. Ever since linebacker Bobby Wagner returned from injury, it has been a different unit.
The Arizona defense is pretty good itself and has held nine of its past 10 opponents to 20 points or fewer. The Cardinals sacked Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson seven times in Week 12 in Seattle, but the Seahawks won 19-3. Wilson was 17-for-22 for 211 yard and a TD and led the team with 73 yards rushing. Stanton wasn't very good, going 14 of 26 for 149 yards and a pick. Neither team reached 300 yards of offense.
Injury wise, the Seahawks have some concerns on the offensive line. Starting center Max Unger, left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy all have missed practice this week. All three could still play because it's such an important game. Unger has missed the last four games with knee and ankle injuries. Arizona gets some good news as safety Tyrann Mathieu will play. He missed the past two games following thumb surgery. Starting guard Paul Fanaika also is expected to return after missing the past two games.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals NFL Week 16 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Seattle is a 9.5-point favorite (+105) with alternate lines of 8.5 (-105), 8 (-110), 7.5 (-115) and 7 (-135). The Seahawks are -400 on the moneyline and Cardinals +325. The total is a ridiculous 36.5 points, the lowest of the season. Seattle is 7-6-1 against the spread this season (3-4 on road) and 7-7 over/under (3-4 on road). Arizona is 10-4 ATS (6-1 at home) and 4-9-1 O/U (2-5 at home).
The Seahawks have covered 12 of their past 16 December games. Arizona is 7-1 ATS in its past eight in December. The Cards are 13-3 ATS in their past 16 after a win. They are 5-2 ATS in their past seven against the NFC West. The under is 8-1 in Seattle's past nine vs. the NFC West. The under is 5-2 in Arizona's past seven against the NFC West. The under is 8-1 in Arizona's past nine after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in its previous game. The home team has covered five of the past seven in this series.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
It's the lowest total of the season, and from what I can gather there have been only three totals to close under 40 this season. They all went under. Carolina beat Tampa Bay 20-14 in Week 1 with a total of 38.5. In Week 2 there was a total of 37.5 when the Rams beat the Bucs 19-17. And last week there was a total of 38 and Seattle beat San Francisco 17-7.
Arians has done a fantastic job this season, but I really can't see Arizona scoring in double digits here, and the Cards aren't going to hold Seattle under 10. Go under on Lindley's yards and no on a touchdown. Give the 7-point alternate line and go under even with that crazy number.
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