It took a punter throwing for a touchdown, a Hail Mary-style two-point conversion, and an onside kick to help Seattle return to the Super Bowl, and that all took place during the second half of the NFC Championship Game.
The champs are one win away from repeating, how did they get to this point? Let’s take a closer look at their performance (both straight-up and for their betting backers) so far this season.
The Seahawks began the year 3-3 straight-up and against the spread: they won and covered in early home games against Green Bay and Denver; they lost as a five-point favorite in week 2 at San Diego; and, after a rather easy win in Washington in week four, they dropped a 23-30 meeting (as nearly a double-digit favorites) at home against Dallas and then lost (as seven-point faves) in St. Louis. Four of those first six games went over the total, as the Seattle defense struggled to find the same form it showed last year.
Then things took a turn for the better, at least straight-up, as Seattle won 11 of their next 12 games (including last weekend’s miracle comeback against Green Bay).
Against the number, however, it took a little more time for Seattle to find its footing. The Seahawks failed to cover in three of four during late October and early November (and had three more games hit the over).
Then the team (and, more specifically, the defense) really turned a corner. Starting with a 19-3 win over Arizona in week 12, the Seahawks covered seven straight games before failing to cash a ticket for their backers on Sunday against Green Bay (when they were seven-point favorites). The first four of those went under, but now three of the last four games have hit the over.
Overall, Seattle went 12-4 during the regular season and 10-6 against the spread. Their over/unders were an equal 8-8 split. Against the AFC this season, Seattle went 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS, with three unders and one over.
In the playoffs, the Seahawks covered a 13.5-point spread and eclipsed a total of 40 in the Divisional round (a 31-14 victory over Carolina). Overtime helped them go over the 45 point total Sunday against Green Bay, but they failed to cover the seven-point handicap. As a playoff starter, Russell Wilson is 5-2 against the spread in his career.
That is a lot of information to digest, but perhaps the biggest trend emerging from this Seahawks’ team is that it has covered in seven of its last eight games.
If you’re considering any props, know that the Seahawks were the top team in the NFL this season in two big categories. They rushed for more yards than any other team, and ranked number one defending the pass. Their passing game was weak for much of the season and that was illustrated for most of Sunday’s game against Green Bay.
Seattle was the third best team in the league stopping the run. While the Seahawks picked off only 13 passes during the regular season, they have four INTs in two playoff games. If Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are healthy enough to play (make that healthy enough to play well) in the Super Bowl, Seattle will do everything they can to lock down Patriot receivers and force New England to win the game on the ground.
(Photo credit: Kelly Bailey [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)