The Spread and Total
Seattle Seahawks (+5, Over/Under 47.5) at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, Dec. 24, 4:30 PM ET), odds courtesy of Bovada.
Seattle Seahawks: 8-6 (7-6-1 ATS), 2nd NFC West
Dallas Cowboys: 8-6 (5-8-1 ATS), 2nd NFC East
Oday Aboushi (shoulder), out; George Fant (knee), out; Cliff Avril (neck), out; Tre Madden (calf), out; Rees Odhiambo (hand), out; Richard Sherman (achilles), out; Kam Chancellor (neck), out; Malik McDowell (concussion), out; Oday Aboushi (shoulder), out; CJ Prosise (ankle), out; Deshawn Shead (knee), questionable; Neiko Thorpe (ankle), questionable; Chris Carson (ankle), questionable; Justin Britt (ankle) questionable; Jarran Reed (hamstring), questionable; Earl Thomas (heel), probable; Jimmy Graham (ankle), probable
Rolando McClain (suspended), out; Randy Gregory (suspended) out; Zac Dysert (back), out; Conner Hamlett (leg), out; Rico Gathers (concussion), out; Charles Tapper (foot), out; Brian Price (knee), out; Chaz Green (hip), doubtful; Orlando Scandrick (back), questionable; Tyron Smith (knee), questionable; Anthony Hitchens (groin), probable; Zack Martin (concussion), probable
- Nov 1, 2015 (AT&T Stadium, Arlington): Seattle Seahawks 13, Dallas Cowboys 12
- Oct 12, 2014 (CenturyLink Field, Seattle): Dallas Cowboys 30, Seattle Seahawks 23
Significant Betting Trends
- Seattle is struggling against the spread, going 2-5-1 in its last eight games.
- Similarly, Dallas is also struggling, going 2-3-1 ATS in its last six games.
- The total has gone under in four of Seattle’s last five road games.
An opportunity for redemption for all. Both teams are technically still in the running for a Wild Card spot, although they’ll need some help from Detroit and Atlanta to make that happen. Seattle wants to put another week, and hopefully a W, between themselves and last Sunday’s 42-7 thumping at the hands of the LA Rams, and the Dallas Cowboys are looking to get out from under the seemingly never-ending spectre of Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension/reinstatement/suspension. With Zeke back, and the Rams completely off Seattle’s schedule, both teams can finally take a step forward.
Despite somewhat disappointing seasons, both of these teams remains dangerous to any opponent. With Elliott back, the Cowboys are elevated from having a slightly above-average offense, currently ranked 10th in offensive DVOA, to potentially having an elite offense, the one we saw before Elliott was suspended and throughout his Offensive Rookie of the Year season. Seattle, despite fielding a laughable offensive line that was so rudely exploited by the Los Angeles front, retains the services of Russell Wilson, the best improvisational quraterback left standing. Despite their struggles, each team can still be deadly.
Expect the defenses to define this game. If Dallas can carve through Seattle’s offensive line like so many others have, they’ll likely neutralize the Seahawks. If Seattle’s injured secondary can keep Dak Prescott honest, and load the box to stop a running back who has spent the last six week in Cabo doing Lord knows what, they might stay in the playoff race. It’s here that the most distinct difference between the two teams emerges: Seattle, even while injured, is far more efficient on defense. The Seahawks are 13th in defensive DVOA, while the Cowboys are a lowly 23rd. Seattle is above average against the run, ranked 12th, while the Cowboys struggle against the pass and the run, ranked 20th and 23rd, respectively. If there’s a defense left on Seattle’s schedule that Russell Wilson can work his magic on, it’s this one (partly because there’s only one other option, and that’s Arizona’s fifth-ranked unit).
Betting this game means betting on what impact Elliott will have in his return from hiatus. On almost all fronts, the Cowboys have dropped off in his absence. In particular, Dak Prescott has struggled. If that way of thinking is rigorous enough for you it might appeal to lay the points for the Cowboys. If you think, perhaps, that other factors have contributed to the Cowboys struggles, and that Elliott’s departure merely accelerated the team’s decline, it might be smart to take the points and bet the Seahawks, the more efficient team (on-paper) coming off a dramatic and spectacular loss.
Betting Advice and Pick
As above, what you think about this game will be determined by what you think of Ezekiel Elliott. For my part, I think he’s a fantastic player, but just one player, and his return certainly won’t fix the Cowboys defense. Furthermore, his return has spurred a surge of betting in the Cowboys’ favor, and my father raised me to be an insufferable contrarian.
Pick: Seattle (+5) and UNDER (47.5)