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Week 1 America’s Game of the Week Preview: Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers Betting Advice

By Peter Brooks
Published on September 08, 2017
sunday-night-football

Football is back!

After a long offseason of waiting, we finally have a full weekend of NFL action to look forward to. And with the return of football comes the return of everything that comes with it: Beer commercials, wearing jerseys to work, fall weather, watching highlights, back to school, and of course – rivalries.

If you’ve got a coworker who roots for your hated rival, it probably doesn’t bother you in April or May. But once September rolls around, things just might start to get icy around the water cooler.

  • Who: Seattle Seahawks (0–0) vs. Green Bay Packers (0–0)
  • Where: Lambeau Field. Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • When: Sunday, September 10, 2017. 4:25 PM (EST) on FOX
This Sunday, for the Week 1 edition of America’s Game of the Week, we get to watch one of the best budding rivalries in the today’s NFL: the Packers and the Seahawks.

The Packers-Seahawks rivalry was recently compared to the Raiders-Steelers rivalry of old, with the statement made that the rivalry between Green Bay and Seattle in the 2010s is roughly equivalent to the rivalry between Oakland and Pittsburgh in the 1970s.

Now, this is a bit of a reach. The Packers and Seahawks would need to meet several more times in the postseason before decade’s end to make that comparison legitimate.

But comparisons aside, it can’t be denied that the Packers-Seahawks rivalry has blossomed into one of the most exciting and entertaining non-divisional conference rivalries in the league today, on par with the Brady-Manning games of the late 2000s and the Patriots-Steelers rivalry of the past few years.

One of the reasons why these two teams hate each other is because they’re fundamentally similar.

The Packers have long espoused a draft-and-develop philosophy, routinely topping the league’s rankings in terms of player retention and the proportion of players on the roster who were drafted by the team. This philosophy stems primarily from Green Bay’s long-time general manager Ted Thompson.

At this point, there’s no denying that Thompson’s philosophy works. Not only does Green Bay tie with New England for the longest active streak of consecutive playoff appearances (with 8), but we’ve now seen three different executives across the league work in Green Bay under Ted Thompson, leave, and then turn around franchises of their own into successful draft-and-develop models.

Specifically, John Dorsey in Kansas City, Reggie McKenzie in Oakland, and most importantly John Schneider in Seattle all branch off of the Ted Thompson tree.

In the same way that Ted Thompson and the Packers have become known over the years for finding talent in the late rounds of the NFL draft and getting huge contributions from undrafted players, John Schneider has also become proficient at this in Seattle.

The following players were brought in in the third round or beyond since 2010 in Seattle:

  • Kam Chancellor
  • J. Wright
  • Richard Sherman
  • Byron Maxwell
  • Russell Wilson
  • Robert Turbin
  • R. Sweezy
  • Tyler Lockett
  • J. Prosise

And this isn’t even counting undrafted players like Doug Baldwin, Thomas Rawls, and Jermaine Kearse.

In addition to similar team composition, the Packers and the Seahawks have also engaged in some truly heated matchups over the past few seasons. Since John Schneider became the GM in Seattle in 2010, (after spending the previous 8 seasons in the Green Bay personnel department), the Packers and Seahawks have played each other 5 times:

  • The Fail Mary Game:

    In Week 2 of the 2012/13 regular season, the Packers lost a very controversial game to the Seahawks in Seattle. The NFL’s replacement referees ruled a last-second Hail Mary throw simultaneously a touchdown and an incomplete pass; .

  • Season Opener 2014:

    After winning the Super Bowl in 2013, the defending champion Seattle Seahawks took on the Green Bay Packers at home to kick off the 2014/15 NFL season. In the first rematch post-Fail Mary, the Packers were outmatched up and down the field; .

  • NFC Championship 2014:

    After playing Week 1, the Seahawks and Packers went on to secure the #1 and #2 overall seeds in the NFC, and met once more in Seattle for the NFC Championship game. It was the worst comeback loss in playoff history ‘til Super Bowl 51; .

  • Green Bay Home Opener 2015.

    In Week 2 of the regular season, the Packers and the Seahawks met once again in Green Bay’s first home game of the regular season. This time, the Packers started to turn the series around and dominated in all statistical categories. .

  • Running the Table in 2016.

    Three weeks after claiming to reporters that the Packers could run the table, Aaron Rodgers backed it up by facing his toughest test – the Seahawks (albeit without Earl Thomas) – and lit them up. Russell Wilson helped out with 5 interceptions. .

And now, to add on to this incredible head-to-head series, America’s first Game of the Week of the 2016/17 NFL season will feature the Packers and the Seahawks at Lambeau Field, where the Seahawks have not won since 1999.

And just like the last time these two teams met in Week 1, this matchup certainly could be a preview of the NFC Championship game, and the #1 and #2 playoff seeds.

But however things shake out down the line, this Sunday afternoon rivalry game is certainly going to be thrilling. Below, we’ve got you covered with predictions for the following types of bets:

  • Moneyline bets
  • Bets against the spread
  • Total score over/under bets
  • Prop bets and futures

The renewal of hated rivalries is one of the reasons why we’re so excited to be back to football. And we can’t think of very many better ways for things to work out than with Seahawks-Packers on America’s Game of the Week.

Seahawks vs. Packers Betting

MoneyLine

  • Seahawks +140
  • Packers -160

In picking games straight-up for moneyline odds, our philosophy is to try and determine which team will have the drive and the determination to play a complete, 60-minute game.

In our experience, teams that are able to maintain discipline for the entire duration of the game generally end up winning. When extraneous factors creep in and distract a team, they often stop being gap-sound, miss assignments, blow coverages, and the game eventually spirals into a loss.

In this matchup, we’ve no doubt that both teams are going to put their heart and soul into it.

Not only is this a heated rivalry, as we explained above, but it’s also the season opener – for which the two teams have been preparing all offseason – meaning that they are never going to be healthier and more well-coached than they will be for this Week 1 matchup on America’s Game of the Week. Not to mention that this is a game that could very likely have playoff implications down the line.

While it may seem far too early to talk about playoffs, think back to 2014.

In the 2014/15 season opener, the Seahawks beat the Packers at home. At the end of the season, both teams ended up at 12–4 – the Seahawks with the #1 scoring defense in the league, the Packers with the #1 scoring offense – and the tiebreaker that determined playoff seeding was none other than their head-to-head matchup in Week 1. The Seahawks ended up with the #1 overall seed, the Packers the #2.

Considering the fact that NFC Championship matchup between these two teams was an absolutely crazy game with a historic comeback, decided by an immense number of tiny swings in momentum, it’s fascinating to think about how the outcome might have been different if the game had instead been played at Lambeau Field, and the home crowd had been yelling and cheering in the opposite direction.

Long story short, both teams know that this game is incredibly meaningful.

For this reason, it’s apparent that we can’t rely on one team or the other to play with more or less heart, like we might in a Week 17 game that is meaningful for one team but not for the other. Instead, in order to determine which team has the mental edge, we would simply point to home field advantage.

As the head-to-head series listed above demonstrates, during the John Schneider era in Seattle neither team has lost while defending their home turf, and neither team has won on the road.

And this makes sense considering how strong of an advantage both teams get from playing at home:

  • On the side of the Packers, Green Bay is currently tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the highest home win percentage in the National Football League since 1990. The waiting list for season tickets at Lambeau Field lasts an entire lifetime (literally), and every single game is filled to the rafters with Cheeseheads and “Go Pack Go” chants. Not to mention that in the winter, the Frozen Tundra lives up to its name quite literally.
  • But even this lofty advantage might pale in comparison to the Seattle Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field. Utilizing the advantage of a “12th Man” by recruiting the fans to be especially loud, the Seahawks’ stadium not only holds the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd roar at an outdoor stadium, but also has been verified statistically to cause an increase in opposing false start and delay of game penalties.

In short, it’s clear that both of these teams receive a real and verifiable boost from playing at home.

And now the game is back on Aaron Rodgers’ turf. (Figuratively speaking; Lambeau is a grass field.) Even with the stellar play from Russell Wilson over the course of his career, no one could deny that when these two teams walk into the stadium on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers will be the best player in the building.

If you’re looking for a team to have a mental edge, look no farther than Rodgers.

As his three separate miracle Hail Mary plays from last season demonstrate, the Green Bay Packers never count themselves out of a game. If there are even 10 seconds left on the game clock, every man on the Packers sideline has full confidence that the offense will be able to score.

There are no secrets between these two teams, and by all accounts, they are extremely evenly matched.

But the confidence provided by Aaron Rodgers’ clutch gene provides a psychological advantage that other teams just can’t match. And when this is combined with the advantage that comes from playing at Lambeau Field, we believe that Green Bay will be able to gain the momentum needed to win.

Over the last five matchups, the Seahawks lead the head-to-head matchups in this rivalry series by a count of 3 to 2. On Sunday, look for Green Bay to even it out.

Pick: Packers to win

Spread

  • Seahawks +3 (-115)
  • Packers -3 (-115)

Above, we picked the Packers to win the game because we believe that even though these two teams are extraordinarily evenly matched, the psychological advantage provided by Aaron Rodgers playing at Lambeau Field will be enough to tip the scales towards Green Bay.

However, in picking the Packers to win straight-up, we didn’t specify how much they would win by.

In picking games against the spread over-and-above the moneyline pick, our philosophy is to consider the offenses involved, and ask ourselves whether the winning offense will be able to run up the score sufficiently to win the game even when handicapped by the line set in the spread.

In this case, then, the question we need to ask ourselves is whether Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense can bring Green Bay to a margin of victory greater than three points.

The last time these two teams played, the Packers certainly blew the Seahawks out of the water, winning by a whopping 28 points. However, it must be remembered that this was the Seahawks’ first game without Earl Thomas at safety, and it was obvious that the lack of adequate safety help over the top was exploited by Aaron Rodgers to great effect, as he blew the top of the defense multiple times.

It must also be remembered that the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson had one of the against Green Bay. Wilson ended up 22 for 39 (a 56.4% completion percentage) for 240 yards, throwing 1 touchdown to 5 interceptions, and ending up with a passer rating of only 43.7 despite getting sacked only 3 times.

We can’t rely on last year’s performance to predict what will happen in this game.

This time around, Earl Thomas (and every other player on the field) is as healthy as they will be all season, both teams have had a full preseason to hone their offensive schemes and get into a rhythm, and it’s highly unlikely that Russell Wilson would lay another colossal goose egg on national television.

The more important matchup to look for is how well the Packers’ 2017/18 offense matches up against the Seahawks’ 2017/18 defense.

The Packers have made some changes on offense since last season:

  • Green Bay cut ties with its two starting running backs from Week 1 last year (Eddie Lacy – who ended up on Seattle – and James Starks) and is now starting converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery, who ended 2016/17 as the #1 RB and is complemented by 3 rookie draft picks.
  • Green Bay lost its tight end from last season (Jared Cook) in free agency to the Oakland Raiders, and in exchange brought in two other free agent tight ends – Martellus Bennett, from the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, and Lance Kendricks, from the Rams.
  • Green Bay lost its starting Pro Bowl right guard T. J. Lang in free agency to the Detroit Lions, much in the same way that the team cut ties to former First-Team All-Pro guard Josh Sitton last year, and in exchange brought in 34-year old 6-time Pro Bowler Jahri Evans from the Saints.

All told, the Packers’ offensive line should be as good as ever, the backfield is a bit of a question mark with three untested rookies behind one unproven convert, and the stable of wide receiving targets should be as strong as ever.

Specifically, with Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams both returning (after going #1 in the league and tied for #2 in touchdowns last season, respectively), Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Martellus Bennett, and Lance Kendricks – not to mention a running back who can run routes like a receiver because he was a wide receiver, Aaron Rodgers should have no difficulty finding targets to throw to.

However, much like past matchups, the Packers’ potent offense (#4 in scoring last season) will have to match up against the Seahawks’ potent defense (#3 in scoring).

While the Seahawks’ defense did show moments last season in which there appeared to be some chinks in the armor, with teammates getting into fights on the sidelines and plenty of rumors circulating about discord in the locker room, this year appears by all accounts to be back to business as usual.

Specifically, the Seahawks’ defense boasts the following strengths in 2017/18:

  • Seattle’s defensive front could potentially end up being remembered as one of the best in the history of the league. Having Michael Bennett, Clivv Avril, Frank Clark and Jarran Reed would be a handful for any team, but now adding Sheldon Richardson to the mix makes it just disgusting.
  • Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor could be the best safety tandem in the league, and this will be the first time both play out the full game together against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field (Thomas had a broken leg in 2016/17 and Chancellor was a contract holdout in 2015/16).
  • The Seahawks’ linebacking corps is captained by two Pro Bowlers – Bobby Wagner and K. J. Wright – and brings the “Boom” portion of the “Legion of Boom.” Filling out their 2017 draft with two more defensive front seven players in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, Seattle is stacked.

And let’s not forget that in no part of the list above did we even mention Richard Sherman and the rest of the Seahawks’ cornerbacks.

In summary, while by all accounts the Packers’ offense is set to be just as potent this season as it has been in any of the past several seasons, the Seahawks’ defense could similarly be poised to put out a Super Bowl caliber squad on the other side of the ball.

Put all this together, and we believe that it makes for a very, very close matchup, where the Packers’ offense is able to do enough to win, but not enough to win by very much. We like Aaron Rodgers to have the ball down by less than 1 possession late in the game and to drive for a late game-winning score.

Look for Green Bay to win, but not to cover the spread, and hedge your bets with Seattle ATS.

Pick: Packers to win by less than 3

Total Score

  • Over 51 (-110)
  • Under 51 (-110)

Now that we’ve established that the Packers will win by less than 3 points – probably by a come-from-behind score late in the 4th quarter – it’s time for us to determine whether or not this score will cap off a high-scoring game or a low-scoring game.

When picking whether games will go over or under their posted total score line, our philosophy is to look at the defenses involved in the matchup. If either defense looks vulnerable, or matches up poorly against the other team’s offense, then we believe it more likely for the total score to go over.

In this case, the question we need to ask concerns whether Green Bay’s D can contain Seattle’s O.

As we saw above, the Packers have plenty of offense to go around, with a potentially-Super Bowl caliber offense, but they will be evenly matched by Seattle’s defense, which is also probably Super Bowl caliber.

Seattle’s offense and Green Bay’s defense are the weaker units for these two teams.

For Seattle, the biggest question marks that the team carries out of last season are as follows:

  • Will the offensive line improve? Many Seahawks fans have been frustrated over the last few years by the front office’s inability to protect Russell Wilson with a stout offensive line. This offseason, Seattle picked up Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi, and drafted Ethan Pocic.
  • Will there be enough depth at running back? The Seahawks have really been unable to replace Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch since his retirement, and when injury struck last season Seattle found itself pretty thin. Acquiring Eddie Lacy should help, provided the young man stays healthy.
  • Will the receiving corps fill out? Seattle fans have been waiting for tight end Jimmy Graham to become “the guy,” and hope that this could be the year. Seattle traded Jermaine Kearse for Sheldon Richardson, so Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Paul Richardson have to be enough.

As with all NFL teams, all of the questions above ultimately rest entirely on the shoulders of the offensive line.

With an incredible offensive line, even a mediocre quarterback can look like a stud (just ask the 2016/17 Dallas Cowboys). But with a porous offensive line, even a Super Bowl-winning quarterback can look like a scrub (just ask the 2016/17 Seattle Seahawks).

The Seahawks will need their offensive line to come together – and quickly – if they want to move the ball on offense and score points against the Packers.

On the side of the Packers, if the team is going to be able to contain the Seahawks’ offense, they are going to need to hope that they have found answers to the following questions this offseason:

  • Do they have enough depth at cornerback? Losing their top 5 cornerbacks last season for various stretches absolutely sunk the Packers’ defense in 2016/17. and bringing back former draft pick Davon House will need to do the trick.
  • Can their young middle linebackers stop the run? Despite being ranked 6th in rushing attempts last season, Green Bay’s defense ended up with the 14th-most yards per rushing attempt. Third-year player Jake Ryan and second-year player Blake Martinez will have to be better to fix this.
  • Can the Packers generate a pass rush? Despite having Clay Matthews on the roster, the Packers struggled to generate pressure with 3- and 4-man rushes in 2016/17. Signing free agents Ricky Jean-Francois from Washington and Ahmad Brooks from San Francisco will need to be enough.

As the old adage says, “defense wins championships,” and if the Packers want to find themselves on top of the league at the end of the season – and more pertinently, on top of the scoreboard at the end of this Week 1 matchup – they are going to need to hope that the changes described above have shored up the unit that ranked 21st in the league last season.

Altogether, we believe that the Packers defense will be just enough to contain the Seahawks offense.

These two units – the Packers’ defense and the Seahawks’ offense – are the weaker units of their respective teams, making them evenly matched in the same way that the Super Bowl-caliber Packers’ offense and Seahawks’ defense are evenly matched.

So while the product we see on the field may not be as exciting to watch when Seattle is on offense, the result in both cases should be the same: close, evenly-matched play that ends up keeping the game under the posted total of 51 (but just barely).

Pick: Packers 26, Seahawks 24

Prop Bets

Now that we’ve established our view of the game as a tense, low-scoring, defensive matchup that is ultimately won by the Green Bay Packers, let’s take a look and see if we can’t turn a profit off of this view of the game by wagering on specific prop bets that correspond to the storyline we’ve described:

  • Ty Montgomery as an anytime touchdown scorer. The converted wide receiver spent the offseason working out with Melvin Gordon and Adrian Peterson, who had high praise for the young man. Green Bay has kept Ty under wraps all preseason, so watch for him to break out.
  • Eddie Lacy to go under his posted total for yards. Rivalries and players returning to former teams have a way of exciting the imagination of the gambling public and running up the lines unnecessarily. Eddie Lacy may not even get very many carries in his return to Green Bay.
  • Wager on a scoreless first quarter. With both teams sporting strong defenses, and especially excellent secondary units, the passing game for both teams will be stymied initially as they try to get into a rhythm in the first game of the season. The scoring won’t heat up until Quarter 2.

In addition to these in-game props, make sure to keep a weathered eye out for the following future bets:

  • The Packers receiving corps unlikely to win individual awards. Look and see how much Aaron Rodgers spreads the ball around. With so many weapons in his stable of receivers, it’s probably impossible for any one individual to get enough targets to lead the league in yards this season.
  • The Packers and the Seahawks to win their respective divisions. Both of these teams are the front runners to win the NFC North and the NFC East, respectively, and it will take games like this one in order to pull it off. Look for any chinks in the armor that might show a weakness.
  • Either quarterback to win MVP. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are both top candidates to MVP this season, so make sure to watch the game looking for any signs (e.g. offensive line; running game production; etc.) that would potentially make them unable to win the award.

It’s important for gamblers to watch games intelligently, making sure to use their time wisely and take mental notes for potential future bets. Keep an eye out for the futures above and thank us later!

Summary: Best Bets

One of the best things about the return to football every season is to watch new chapters unfold in old rivalries. The Seahawks and the Packers have been one of the most entertaining rivalries of the 2010s, with the head-to-head series in the John Schneider era in Seattle currently settled at 3 to 2, Seahawks.

The Packers have a Super Bowl caliber offense and the Seahawks have a Super Bowl caliber defense, but the opposite unit on both teams was their weakness last season, making the two teams extraordinarily evenly matched, for a very close game. We believe that this first edition of America’s Game of the Week will end up with a win for the Packers, due to Aaron Rodgers playing in front of the home crowd.

In order to wager on this prediction for the game, look to wager on the following best bets:

  • Packers -160 moneyline
  • Seahawks +3 against the spread (-115)
  • Total score to go under 51 total points (-110)
  • Ty Montgomery as an anytime touchdown scorer
  • Eddie Lacy to go under his total for yards
  • No scoring plays to occur in the first quarter

While we’re not sure if people will look back on the Seahawks/Packers rivalry the same way they look back on , if the Packers can tie up their head-to-head series in the 2010s, we could be in for one heck of a rubber match come playoff time!

And either way, who cares? No matter how it turns out, this rivalry game will be a rip-roaring good time.

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