Week 1 America’s Game of the Week Preview: Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers Betting Advice
Published on September 08, 2017
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.
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.
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:
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:
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; .
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; .
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; .
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. .
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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:
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
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.
For Seattle, the biggest question marks that the team carries out of last season are as follows:
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).
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:
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
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:
In addition to these in-game props, make sure to keep a weathered eye out for the following future bets:
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!
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:
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.