The Seattle Seahawks have been criminally undervalued for years. They might be the only good team left in the NFC West, but they’re still providing top value for your football picks.
Find our preview of the NFC East here.
If a tree falls in the Pacific Northwest, does it make a sound? Unless you happen to live in this magical land, you probably don’t pay attention to what happens in the top-left corner of the (contiguous) United States. Too bad, because there’s this football team called the Seattle Seahawks, and they’re pretty good. They even won the Super Bowl. Remember that? Anyone?
Folks in Seattle don’t mind if you haven’t been paying attention. Neither do sharp NFL bettors. The Seahawks have been delivering value for years now, and while the Pete Carroll-Russell Wilson Era may have passed its peak, the ‘Hawks are still undervalued as -275 favorites on Bovada’s NFC West futures market. Who’s going to beat them? The Arizona Cardinals (+300)? Maybe. The Los Angeles Rams (+1200) or the San Francisco 49ers (+1800)? Highly unlikely.
Down on the Upside
Being the only credible team in the division doesn’t automatically make Seattle the best choice for your NFL picks. The price has to be right, so let’s take a look at the computer projections for the NFC West and see if there’s enough betting value in the Emerald City. This is how the Football Power Index (FPI) numbers at ESPN looked on June 1:
And here’s how those percentages look once you run them through our SBR Betting Odds Converter and turn them into American odds, vigorish (or hold percentage to be precise, since we’re dealing with the futures market) not included:
Betting value: Confirmed. Based on the FPI projections, the ‘Hawks are indeed a bargain at – 275, while the other three teams aren’t worth betting on –and the prices get worse as the long shots get longer. You’ll often find this pattern on the futures market; the payouts for the extreme outsiders are almost always way too small. But there are some specific geographical forces at work here in the NFC West.
Looking California Looking California
Old-school bettors will be familiar with the concept of “East Coast bias.” It’s not as rampant as it used to be before the Information Superhighway came along, but the major American media centers are still in the Eastern Time Zone, and those are the teams that get the most coverage. Teams in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones get less attention, and with less attention comes less understanding. California teams are a bit different. The Golden State does get a fair bit of coverage, and there are tons of football fans in Los Angeles and the Bay Area who will throw a few dollars down on their favorite clubs, regardless of how good those clubs are. The Rams (4-12 SU, 4-11-1 ATS last year) and 49ers (2-14 SU, 5-11 ATS) are not very good at all. They’re almost starting over from scratch with their respective rebuilding programs.
Arizona’s a pretty quiet part of the country, too, and there was betting value on the Cardinals (7-8-1 SU, 6-10 ATS) during the first three years of the Bruce Arians-Carson Palmer regime. However, that window may be about to close; Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald are both staring down retirement after the 2017 campaign. Good health will be a must if Arizona’s going to get over the hump this year. Playing football does not contribute to good health.
That leaves Seattle, which might as well be part of Canada as far as most people are concerned. The stat gurus at Football Outsiders had the Seahawks ranked No. 1 overall in team efficiency every year from 2012 through 2015 inclusive, then the ‘Hawks fell to 11th last season as they dealt with a multitude of injuries. Here’s how they’ve fared since Wilson took over as the starting QB:
2012: 11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS
2013: 13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS
2014: 12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS
2015: 10-6 SU, 8-7-1 ATS
2016: 10-5-1 SU, 8-8 ATS
Even with all the issues they had last year, the Seahawks still won the division handily and managed to break even against the spread. They should be even better this year with a reinforced offensive line, and RB Eddie Lacy (4.4 yards per carry lifetime) coming over from the Green Bay Packers. The NFC West is theirs to lose. Pay attention, and you may be rewarded come January.
NFC West Winner: Seattle Seahawks -275