Week 12 of the NFL concludes with a confusing game between Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks and Taylor Heineke’s Washington Football Team.
If you’re hunting for the best bets that the NFL has to offer, then this game is almost assuredly not on your sheet. Nevertheless, it does evoke some powerful memories for Seattle and Washington fans — a 2013 Wild Card game comes to mind — so I’m diving into a fresh set of NFL betting odds to look for any sort of angle on how to play this week’s Monday Night Football game.
Seattle Seahawks Preview
The first rule of betting on the Seahawks is to stop thinking about the championship Broncos’ beatdown from nearly a decade ago. You’re not going to be researching Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl odds any time soon. They are not a good team.
Seattle has won just one of its last six games, including an outright loss at home to NFC West rival Arizona last weekend. The Seahawks closed as a 5.5-point favorite; they lost 23-13, with Colt McCoy playing quarterback for the Cardinals.
I’m not invoking the Super Bowl run here just to rub Seattle fans’ faces in the dirt. Instead, I’m trying to make an important point. Wilson and the Seahawks have more brand power in the marketplace than actual football power on the field. Until the marketplace levels out for them, there is aggregate value in betting against the Seahawks.
To find Seattle’s last outright win with Wilson playing quarterback, you actually have to go all the way back to Week 4, when Seattle scored a road win as a 2.5-point underdog at San Francisco. In other words, it’s been almost two months since Russell Wilson has quarterbacked his team to a win. And if you want the Hawks to cover as a 1-point favorite, then you’re in the hunt for a win on Monday Night Football.
Really, the only Seattle argument worth listening to for Monday’s game is that it’s a buy-low spot against a bad team. And not just any bad team, but a Washington team that has been legendarily bad on Monday Night Football.
Washington on Monday Night Football
There are trends … and then there are abject disasters. Dating back to the beginning of 2013 — AKA, RG3’s All In For Week 1 season — Washington has been featured on Monday Night Football 13 times. In those games, they are 2-11 straight up and ATS.
There is an incredible array of stats I could pull out of this dataset. For example, Washington was favored in three of those 13 games, by an average of 4.3 points; they lost all three games outright, by an average margin of 6.3 points.
How about their net average margin of loss across all 13 games? That’s 10.6 points. So even while factoring in the winning margins from the two games that they won, they still had an average margin of loss in the double digits.
It’s worth noting here that the last Monday Night Football game that Washington played was last December, in Pittsburgh, and it was one of those rare wins. Washington won outright as a 5.5-point underdog, 23-17.
I’m of the opinion you can’t let the trend color your handicap of this particular matchup too much, as Washington has a competent coaching staff, as well as a roster that’s actually rounding into form a bit. (Those are two things you might not have been able to say about them for much of the last nine seasons.)
Given that the Football Team has notched two outright wins as underdogs over the last two weeks, I think it’s very hard to rely on a historical trend over the current form of the team … even if that trend is absolutely hysterical.
How to Bet Seattle at Washington
I don’t see a ton of value in betting this game either way, at least in the traditional sense. Laying even one point with Seattle on the road right now is foolish; buying a Washington ticket in a sell-high spot like this, especially given their historical trend for Monday Night Football, could end up being just as foolish. Washington has a notoriously poor home-field advantage, so you can’t even count on much of a home team hook-up in this spot.
The total hasn’t moved from 46.5 all week, meaning professional handicappers see no real value in those NFL odds, either.
If you made me bet this game, I would take Washington, simply because I think it’s playing better right now. But I think a more interesting way to take a position here would be on an alternate line, or in the props market. Paying out at +225, “Terry McLaurin to score a TD & Washington to win” is an intriguing prop, as those two are slightly correlated outcomes; in fact, it’s so interesting that it’s the third most bet prop of the game at BetMGM.
As I mentioned in this week’s episode of The Lion’s Edge, I would also consider buying a lottery ticket like Seattle -9.5 at +350. That’s especially juicy if you want to play into the Washington on Monday Night Football trend.
In short: I don’t necessarily see the value in betting a traditional game side here, but I do think there are some intriguing spots to invest in a much more lucrative payout.
Lean: Washington +1