Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 | 2 a.m.
The unofficial Bettor’s Bowl takes place Sunday afternoon.
Week 2: Seahawks at Chargers
- What bet would you take in the Sun's Game of the Week? (Public Opinion: 0-1 season to date)
- Seahawks minus-6 — 55.0%
- Over 44 points — 20.2%
- Chargers plus-6 — 15.5%
- Under 44 points — 9.3%
This poll is closed, see Full Results »
Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Since the beginning of last football season, it’s no surprise that the Seattle Seahawks have cashed more betting slips than any team in the NFC. The defending Super Bowl champions have gone 14-6 against the spread over the period.
It might have taken more than one guess to reveal the Seahawks’ AFC counterpart. It’s the San Diego Chargers, who have bruised the Vegas number at a 12-6-1 clip since the start of the 2013 season.
The trustworthy teams proved irresistible in the Las Vegas Sun’s NFL handicapping contest. All three sportswriters used one of their six weekly wagers — available at the bottom of the page in full — on Seattle at San Diego to make it the Sun’s Game of the Week.
The odds set the Seahawks as a 6-point favorite on the road against the Chargers with an over/under of 44 points. In addition to covering at a gainful rate, both teams have also established themselves as nice bets to go under sports books’ total since 2013.
The Chargers have seen 12 of their 19 games fall below the over/under, while the Seahawks are 12-for-20 in the same regard. Other than the Seahawks’ opening game of 2014 narrowly going over, the two teams seemed to pick up where they left off.
Seattle and San Diego breezed to relatively easy covers over Green Bay and Arizona, respectively.
The Seahawks were covering their minus-5 spread against the Packers by halftime and ended up obliterating it by 15 points in a 36-16 opening-night victory. The Chargers were ahead by two touchdowns on the plus-3 betting line in the third quarter at the Cardinals, though they ended up losing an 18-17 squeaker late.
They may have both ended up cashing, but their gracefulness was in great contrast. Seattle had the poise of a veteran Cirque du Soleil acrobat. San Diego came off more like a casino-wandering inebriate who stumbled across the ropes setup.
The Seahawks held one of the best offenses in the NFL to 4.5 yards per play, the sixth-worst in the league through one week. The Chargers finished just as poorly as the Packers with 4.8 yards per play against the Cardinals, tied for the seventh-worst.
Although San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers endured no sacks, Arizona routinely hurried him into throws with its tight secondary leaving no one open downfield.
If they choose to employ the same approach, the Seahawks could find even better results. Seattle defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril each followed eight-sack seasons last year with one to start off 2014 on Sept. 4.
And the secondary is a monster itself. It’s telling when "Madden 15" cover boy Richard Sherman might not even be the best defensive back on the roster.
Sherman, 12-to-1, and Earl Thomas, at 35-to-1, are two of the top 13 choices to win the Defensive Player of the Year award according to offshore odds. Nevada gaming regulations do not allow betting on voted awards in-states.
The cornerback opposite Sherman, Byron Maxwell, intercepted the typically indefatigable Aaron Rodgers to start the year. The safety beside Thomas, Kam Chancellor, was the team’s leading tackler.
It’s not as if the betting market was oblivious to these Chargers’ concerns.
Over the summer as part of its full-season lines, CG Technologies opened the spread on this game as Seattle minus-2.5. A week ago on the Westgate Superbook look-ahead line, the Seahawks were minus-3.5.
They’ve jumped an extra 2.5 points since the Chargers’ mediocre Monday Night Football performance. San Diego rose from 30-to-1 to 40-to-1 to win the Super Bowl at the Superbook after the first game, while Seattle dove down to 7-to-2 from 9-to-2.
One knock on the Seahawks is that they’re not quite the same team on the road as they are at home on CenturyLink Field. While it’s true the team is a prolific 25-10 against the spread under coach Pete Carroll as opposed to 18-16-1 as the visitors, there’s also evidence to the contrary.
Seattle was actually better from a betting perspective on the road in its Super Bowl season, going 6-2 versus the number as opposed to 6-4. Since quarterback Russell Wilson came into his own at the end of the 2013 season, the Seahawks are 11-2 against the spread on the road.
The Chargers don’t necessarily have the same home-field advantage as the Seahawks either. In the same four-year span, San Diego is a symmetrical 16-16 against the spread at Qualcomm Stadium.
It failed to cover in the only other instance it was this big of an underdog, losing 28-20 to Denver getting seven points in week 10 last year.
San Diego had major troubles trying to stop teams last year, finishing dead last in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric for defense. Seattle was first.
But there are hopes the trend could turn this season with pass rushing outside linebackers Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram back to full strength after missing most of last season. San Diego also signed a former Pro Bowler, Brandon Flowers, and drafted a TCU standout, Jason Verrett, to help at cornerback.
No gambler should encounter problems finding reasons to like either team. The Seahawks and Chargers have quite literally been money for a year now.
Find full picks for week 2, which are listed in order of sports books’ rotation numbers, below.
Case Keefer (2012 champion, 2013 co-champion)
Record: 3-3 (108-99-3 lifetime)
Panthers minus-2.5 vs. Lions
Lions vs. Panthers under 43.5
Vikings plus-3.5 vs. Patriots
Bengals minus-5 vs. Falcons
Seahawks vs. Chargers over 44
Bears plus-7 at 49ers
Ray Brewer (2013 co-champion)
Record: 3-3 (100-104-6 lifetime)
Bills plus-1 vs. Jets
Jaguars vs. Redskins over 43.5
Cowboys plus-3.5 at Titans
Giants plus-2.5 vs. Cardinals
Falcons vs. Bengals over 48.5
Chargers plus-6 vs. Seahawks
Record: 3-3 (95-108-3 lifetime)
Cowboys plus-3.5 at Titans
Falcons plus-5 at Bengals
Chargers plus-6 vs. Seahawks
Broncos minus-13 vs. Chiefs
49ers minus-7 vs. Bears
Eagles vs. Colts under 53.5