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Weak Division Will Pave the Way to Another Competitive Season for Seahawks

Riding a streak of five straight playoff appearances, the Seattle Seahawks appear set to make another run in 2017. Similar to the New England Patriots, they get a nice boost from playing in a fairly weak division that consistently has them in the mix for a first-round playoff bye. Despite the luxury of having a few extra pathetic opponents on their schedule for the better part of the last few seasons, there’s a few question marks around this team and whether or not it can get back to the Super Bowl.

The running game was always a strength for Seattle after ranking in the top four in total rushing yards from 2012 to 2015, but last season the wheels fell off and they plummeted to 25th! Thomas Rawls was expected to fill the massive shoes left by Marshawn Lynch, but he appeared in just nine games and rushed for only 349 yards. Then we have Russell Wilson, who wasn’t much of a dual threat in 2016, rushing for a career-low 259 yards. Injury issues were obviously a part of the problem, but the offensive line was a disaster. It allowed 42 sacks, which was sixth-most in the NFL, and Seattle was one of just seven teams to not average 100 rushing yards per game.

As a result, it was expected that rebuilding the O-line would be a major point of emphasis during the offseason, but that wasn’t the case. A few moves were made, namely bringing in former second overall pick Luke Joeckel, but many Seahawks fans were let down by the team waiting until the 58th overall pick in the draft to pick an offensive lineman.

All that said, Seattle won a playoff game in 2016 and is clearly still one of the NFC’s top contenders. Here’s my thoughts on their betting futures heading into the 2017 season:

Super Bowl +1200

Seattle is tied for the fourth-best odds to win the Super Bowl with the Steelers and Falcons. For Seattle to get back to the Super Bowl, it’s all about taking advantage of their home-field advantage, meaning earning a first-round bye is imperative. Having the top seed in the NFC in 2013 and 2014 paved the way to their Super Bowl appearances those seasons. It’s simple, really — Seattle has won 10 straight home playoff games; no one wants to play there.

So, is having the best record in the NFC a realistic possibility? Absolutely, especially when you consider they’re tied for the fourth-easiest strength of schedule this season. The Seahawks have just five playoff teams from 2016 on their schedule and six of their eight home games occur after Week 7 when the cooler temperatures start to set in.

Is Seattle better than the Falcons, Packers and Cowboys — the other consensus top teams in the NFC? Based on last year’s results, probably not, but if they can nail down that top seed, they’ll only have to be better than one of them, and they’ll get to play them at home. I think they get that top seed due to their easy schedule and I think +1200 is a fair price for them to win the Super Bowl despite my doubts about their offensive line. If you can’t see them getting past the Patriots in the Super Bowl, consider taking them to win the NFC at +500.

NFC West -275

If the Patriots are considered a lock to win the AFC East, then I would consider the Seahawks winning the NFC West to be a very safe bet. I suppose that’s why they’re the second-biggest favorite in division futures betting markets. There’s no debating that the Rams and 49ers are in complete rebuild mode and are nowhere near even sniffing a playoff spot. The biggest threat to the Seahawks repeating as division champs is the Cardinals, who were a massive letdown in 2016 after winning the division in 2015. With a rapidly aging Carson Palmer still calling the shots at QB for the Cards, I don’t see them improving very much on last season’s 7-8-1 record.

One divisional futures bet that I like is parlaying the Seahawks, Patriots and Steelers to win their divisions. This bet comes in at around +150 depending on what book you use and I feel that these are the three safest bets in division futures markets.

Win Total 10.5

10.5 wins ties Seattle with Pittsburgh for the second-highest win total behind New England. I am on the OVER here, but one point of concern is the Seahawks’ penchant for taking their foot off the gas in games that they should win. Most notably, they’ve dropped four of their last six games vs the Rams.

They finished 10-5-1 last season and I think they’ll make the adjustments to be better than they were last season. This season they’re paired up with the AFC South and NFC East with games vs the Falcons and Packers as well. If they can go 5-1 in their divisional games, 3-1 vs the AFC South, split the NFC East games, then beat either the Packers or Falcons, they’ll be 11-5. I think this is a very realistic scenario.

Doug Baldwin for Most Receiving Td’s +2500

Baldwin isn’t regarded as one of the top receiving threats in the league, but let’s not forget we’re not that far removed from his breakout 2015 campaign when he tied for the league lead with 14 touchdown receptions. That number was cut in half in 2016 to seven, but he received 22 more targets and had 16 more receptions, meaning, if anything, his role within the offense is only growing.

Another argument for Baldwin is that Russell Wilson is throwing the ball more. A lot more, actually, as his pass attempts have increased every season of his career. With 15 other receivers ahead of Baldwin in odds to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns, this is one of the top value player prop bets you’ll find entering the 2017 season.

2017 Seattle Seahawks Futures Odds
MarketOdds
Super Bowl+1200
NFC Championship+500
NFC West-275
Win Total10.5

Odds as of August 20 at Bovada

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