Tag Archives: Seattle Seahawks

Beating Vegas: College Rolls, NFL Starts

Last week: Killed it with Tulane, killed it with the UNC/Georgia over, pushed on Boston College and even nailed the under on the Stanford / Kansas State game.  Seriously, keep checking this column out every week. . .

 

Cincinnati -6.5 at Purdue

Gunner+Kiel+Cincinnati+v+Houston+xXiETlmbjWsl

Games like these are avoided by the casual college football watcher and for good reason.  Purdue might be the worst team in the Big Ten, while Cincinnati is better remembered as “the school Brian Kelly used to coach at.”  Purdue lacks a pass rush and has one of the weaker secondaries in the NCAA.  Cincy can answer for at least ONE of those weaknesses.  The Bearcats’ running game and offensive line is the back bone of this offensive attack.  Quarterback Gunner Kiel is one of those guys with the “physical” talents (and cool first name) that usually leaves fans unimpressed.  This year, Kiel will be working with a new crop of wide outs to test this weak Purdue secondary.  Purdue will try to run the ball but won’t have the speed to outrun Cincy on the outside.  The over / under is set at 64.5 because of the lack of defensive firepower but Vegas might be over-selling the value of these offenses.

The Pick: The Under at 64.5

Louisville -16 at Syracuse

Lamar+Jackson+Franklin+American+Mortgage+Louisville+d1rC_v9KKzFl

This line keeps going up and for good reason.  If the nation was sleeping on Louisville before this season started, the Cardinals definitely woke up the dormant masses last week by trouncing Charlotte 70-14.  Yes, it was Charlotte, but make no mistake this Cardinals team is legit.  After being up 56-0 in the first half the Cardinals took their foot off the throats of Charlotte. Quarterback Lamar Jackson scored 8 total touchdowns last week and made it look as if he was playing on “easy-mode.”  On the other side of things Syracuse is a team that just won 33-7 verse Colgate, but looking deeper at the numbers there is cause for concern.  Two of their three touchdowns came on a 43 yard pass and a 49 yard run – Louisville’s defense might give up a play like that once a game. . . to a good team.  Syracuse also had to settle for field goals four times during the game because their offense was stopped by Colgate. . . Louisville may be at Syracuse, but they’re going to be those disrespectful house guests that put their dirty feet on your kitchen table and spit on the floor.

The Pick: Louisville -16

Miami Dolphins -10.5 at Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee+Titans+v+Miami+Dolphins+sO9x-669x9Ul

The NFL returns this week, and it does so with a very “bleh” opening weekend.  The Seahawks enter the season with high expectations as they should while the Dolphins tell themselves things will be different and they won’t be.   It’s becoming really easy to go “chalk” and take the Seahawks at home but how can you not when the Dolphins are traveling 3,300 miles to play a game against a team that got better on offense and is still a top five defense.  Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is one of the more overrated starting quarterbacks in the league, who usually does his damage in “garbage time.”  Hopefully for him, when the game gets to that point, he’ll be already on the bench game planning for next week’s game.

The Pick: Seattle -10.5

 

Tulsa +29 at Ohio State

Urban+Meyer+Bowling+Green+v+Ohio+State+dQFn0M_WNCJl

Logic would say, take Ohio State and don’t worry – history would say “not so fast.”  So which way do we lean?  The logical way or the way of the historian?  Ohio State likes to line up these out of conference games and try to make quick work of their opposition.  They did that last week with a sixty-seven point blow out against Bowling Green and are looking to do that against Tulsa this week. Last season, Ohio State beat Western Michigan by 26 points and squeezed by Northern Illinois with a seven point victory.  Tulsa on the other hand is a bad team that can put up points.  Last year against Houston and Oklahoma they put up 24 and 38 points respectively in those losses.  Expect Tulsa to keep their starters in this one for all four quarters, which will give way to the “back door” points late in the game – or just keep up with the great Buckeyes for more than the Ohio State faithful will care to see.

The Pick: Tulsa +29

If you must: Take Clemson first half against Troy.   Right now the first half line is non-existent but the total game line is set at -36.  Lets guess that the first half is at 22.5 — you still take it.

4 Game Teaser: Louisville -2, Iowa -3, Tampa Bay Bucs +15 and Seahawks +1.5

 

Good luck and wager wisely!

 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

 

Beating Vegas: Entry Three

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: Looks like your boy “The Heartthrob” underestimated the speed and athleticism of Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh made me feel downright foolish for believing BYU would cover the spread. . .  The Jets entered the game against the Eagles with Chris Ivory and Eric Decker on the bench – this is a team that cannot afford to lose what they have on offense, at any cost.  The pick of Ohio University was an easy one at +10.  It looks like Vegas caught wind of my pick and by kickoff the spread dropped to +7. . .

Bobby+Petrino+Kentucky+v+Louisville+s3lnkVBBf-El

Louisville (+4.5) at N.C. State

Louisville enters this game with a 1-3 record including a season opening loss at the now disappointing Auburn Tigers as well as back to back three point losses at home.  Coach Bobby Petrino is one of the best in college football, but this may be a “down” year for Louisville in terms of talent.   The N.C. State Wolfpack can be a “sneaky” team in the ACC Conference this year and Louisville is their first real test of the season.   While Louisville is 1-3, they have actually played real competition this year while N.C. State has been facing some lowly opponents.  While this rhetoric usually means something favoring the team facing better competition, the truth is, N.C. State is slated for a 9 or 10 win season and this game against Louisville brings them half way there.   Running backs Matthew Dayes and Shadrach Thorton are both averaging at least six yards a carry while quarterback Jacoby Brisset’s completion percentage is  a decimal point below eighty.  Louisville is a shade below mediocre defensively which is perfect for a team like N.C. State who doesn’t get greedy on offense, but more or less takes what opposing defenses are giving them.  Expect the final score to be somewhere along the lines of 27-20 or 23-17. . .

The Pick:  N.C. State -4.5

Trevone+Boykin+Stephen+F+Austin+v+TCU+MgESvfMAk4ll

Texas Longhorns (+15) at TCU Horned Frogs

Although the line is at fifteen, the number we are concerned about for all entertainment purposes is the over/under which is set at 71.   The Big 12 is the spot for high flying offenses and terrible defenses.  Remember, once upon a time, coach Gary Patterson, coached TCU and they were one of the best defensive teams in the nation?  This was a team putting out NFL talent from the defensive side of the ball but once this team moved to the Big 12, he converted to the Church of Offense.  TCU gives up 28 points per game and Texas gives up 35 per contest.  While TCU was expected to be able to rack up points against anybody this year, Texas’ offense has been surprisingly effective the last two weeks.  They lost by one point (at home) to a pretty potent Cal offense and last week put up 27 against an Oklahoma State team many thought would put them away early.   TCU may actually cover this spread and win with a final score of 55-27 when it’s all said and done.

The Pick:  The “over” at 71

Army (+24) at Penn State

With all due respect to our military forces, the Black Knights of Army are just a pitiful football team.  Any team that loses to Fordham and then UConn in back to back weeks, should ask to leave Division I football.  . . Not that Penn State has looked fantastic in their 3-1 start this season but this is the kind of game that Penn State should have wrapped up by the end of the first half.   Expect Penn State to open it up early with the running attack of Akeel Lynch and  Saquon Barkley  – which will open things up for Hackenberg.  Christian Hackenberg has been mostly disappointing since last season, but take into consideration what is around him.  If UConn’s quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was able to throw for 270 yards on 19 of 25 passing, Hackenberg should easily be able to use this game to inflate his stat for the season.  Army doesn’t have the speed or size to contend with Penn State, who is actually one of the tougher teams Army will face this year.   In true Penn State fashion, they’ll make you worry but they should have complete control of this game and win 38-7.

The Pick: Penn State -24

Kam+Chancellor+Chicago+Bears+v+Seattle+Seahawks+gax1ZI_sDl_l

Detroit Lions (+10) at Seattle Seahawks

Here’s a situation where you don’t want to over-think things.  Seattle is at home against a Detroit Lions team that is sloppy on offense and has taken a step down, defensively.   If Russell Wilson is able to display talents that are above adequate, then this should be an easy victory for Seattle.  Seattle has the secondary to take care of Calvin Johnson because they have the physical presence of Kam Chancellor back in the swing of things and Matthew Stafford’s offensive line will have no answer for the blitz packages that Seattle has to offer.  Throw in the crowd noise, under the Monday Night Football lights in Seattle and the fact that the Lions ground game has not taken off – this one could be over quickly.   Bottom line – Seattle will win the battle in the trenches and because of that will the field position battle, making things easier for their vanilla offense to take shots against this Detroit defense.

The Pick: Seattle -10

If You Must:  Take the Green Bay Packers -8.5 points going into San Fran.  The 49ers fan base has already had it, Colin Kapernick looks lost and the Packers are making it all look easy on the offensive side of the ball.

NFL Football Tease of the Week:  (three gamer) Green Bay Packers +1.5, Arizona Cardinals +3 and Seattle Seahawks PK.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Seattle Seahawks 2015 Preview

Why didn’t they give the ball to Marshawn Lynch?

That’s a question that will be asked throughout history like:

“What was first, the chicken or the egg?”

“What’s the meaning of life?”

“Who shot J.R.?”

Coach Pete Carroll said:  “It’s much easier for me to move forward than most people,” and Seahawks fans hope that’s the truth.  They also hope that quarterback Russell Wilson is the truth as the Seahawks and Wilson have inked a four year extension worth over $87 Million.  Every quarterback is grossly over-paid and here at NGSC we have already gone over why it’s a bad idea to give in to Wilson’s demands.  Regardless of our economic stances, Wilson is under center and this team wouldn’t want it any other way. . . for now. His options at wide receiver are still nothing that blows you away, but they get the job done. Doug Baldwin is a tough receiver that doesn’t mind doing the dirty work or going over the middle and Jermaine Kearse pretty much fits that same mold.  Everyone is expecting Chris Matthews to capitalize on his “out of nowhere” Super Bowl performance, but that’s doubtful.  The best wide receiver on the team may be the rookie out of Kansas State – Tyler Lockett.  At five foot ten inches tall and a buck-eighty in weight, he isn’t the biggest threat, but he has great hands, good speed and loves big moments – which is what the Seahawks are all about.

Russell+Wilson+Super+Bowl+XLIX+New+England+j15yxDEUp1hl

The Seahawks went out and traded for tight end Jimmy Graham as Wilson’s go-to-target but the gamble here is one to watch.  In order to obtain Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks traded away offensive lineman Max Unger to the Saints.  Keep in mind they also lost guard James Carpenter to free agency and then there’s the fact that Jimmy Graham isn’t the best blocking tight end in the world.  All of a sudden one of the league’s most offensively aggressive teams, seems to have lost some of that aggression.   Luckily, they have the most aggressive player in the league running the ball: Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch seems to be a malcontent but he generally keeps it to himself and it doesn’t apparently bother anybody.  Lynch might be a little more vocal this year because of the previously mentioned “softening” of his line up front though.  Lynch has been trucking over people for years and there is no reason to assume he’ll drop off anytime soon, but something’s got to give eventually.   After the Super Bowl loss and the acquisition of Jimmy Graham, it’s obvious this team is leaning in the direction of putting the ball in Wilson’s hands over Lynch’s.

Marshawn+Lynch+Super+Bowl+XLIX+New+England+6RAJGyMGL36l

The funny thing about Seattle is, even if Lynch AND Wilson weren’t on this team, this defense would keep them in and win them games on its own.   Cliff Avril’s signing went with not much fan fare in 2013, but it was one of the best “gets” for this Seattle defense.  Avril brought an athleticism to a defensive line that – didn’t even need it – along with Michael Bennett and Brandon Mebane they make life easier for one of the elite line backing corps in the league.

When a former first round pick, Bruce Irvin is the weakest part of your linebacker group, things can’t be bad.  K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner have great vision and lateral movement – they can cover most tight-ends and collapse on the running game quickly.

Cliff+Avril+Super+Bowl+XLVIII+Seattle+Seahawks+-Wvv2410Bhql

The “Legion of Boom” may have lost Byron Maxwell, but if nickel corner Jeremy Lane comes back quickly from injury he may slide into that number two corner spot held, for the time being, by Cary Williams.  If Richard Sherman isn’t the best corner in the game – he’s definitely the most confident – and with good reason.  Sherman’s size and athleticism makes it hard for opposing quarterback’s to look his way – although Sherman’s one fault is that he does NOT cover opposing team’s best wide outs every week.  He simply stays on his side of the field.  The safeties are the heart and soul of this defense and their hasn’t been a more talented / feared pair in quite some time – of course we’re talking about Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.  Earl Thomas is literally everywhere while Kam Chancellor is where receivers don’t want to end up.

Seattle has a tough road schedule including games at Green Bay, Dallas and Baltimore; and playing in the NFC West guarantees that every division contest will be a long and grueling one.  Even with that, Seattle has what it takes to win the division and still make a run at the conference.

Predicted Record: 9-7

Predicted Pro Bowlers: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Is Wilson Worth the Dough?

The average football fan has been duped.  Duped by social media, commercial America and the NFL itself that the position of quarterback, is the do all and end all of everything important in the game of football.   Is the position important?  Of course it is.  It’s just as important as an left tackle,  defensive end, wide receiver, cornerback etc . . .   It’s been well documented how the NFL has modified it’s rules to help protect the quarterback while elevating the potential of a quarterback’s ability.

Russell+Wilson+Super+Bowl+XLIX+New+England+j15yxDEUp1hl

The Seahawks drafted quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft and have made a successful starting quarterback out of him.  The Seahawks have constructed a roster the way many NFL teams only wish they could – by landing “gems” in the later rounds of the NFL draft.   The only problem when doing that is, eventually – all those gems that were drafted come to the end of their rookie contracts and look to a big pay day when the time comes.

The quarterback market in the NFL is almost as lucrative as the Gold Rush of 1849.   The narrative of “you need a quarterback to win in this league” is an overstated and overused one, which has some truth to it, but folks have gotten out of control with it.  Look at the quarterbacks who have gotten huge contracts after winning a Super Bowl – Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Tom Brady and Russell Willson. Tom Brady – is on another level and not part of this discussion and Eli, for all the praise he gets, happened to be an average quarterback on a talented roster, so he was fortunate to get back to and win a second Super Bowl. . .

Joe Flacco, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have all had their own versions of “success” but they all have not returned to the big game although they are paid as if they get there every year.   It’s common sense but it must be said – if you decide to pay a quarterback $20-$25 million a year – then as a general manager you have to find ways to cut corners with your roster.

This is why the Seahawks and Russell Wilson conundrum is an interesting one.

The Seahawks tote around one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, albeit mostly on the defensive side, but still – finding a hole in this roster is nearly impossible.  Russell Wilson has been a direct beneficiary of this roster.  Being the game manager he is, having a running back like Marshawn Lynch in his back pocket is one of the greatest resources any offense could ask for.  Sure, the receivers on the Seahawks aren’t of Pro Bowl caliber, but what they are are blue-collared wideouts, who run routes well, block for the running game and aren’t afraid to put their bodies on the line for the sake of something like a three yard slant route.  This defense is solid all around and they make up for three and outs, and bad field position like clockwork.

Seattle+Seahawks+v+Kansas+City+Chiefs+1VieGWYKGzEl

Is Russell Wilson terrible?  No.  He’s average.  His stats go hand in hand with Alex Smith’s but the perception of the two is vastly different.  Alex Smith was able to coax the Chiefs into a four year and nearly $70 million contract.  That’s with minimal success over his career and no commercial appeal what-so-ever.  Russell Wilson is on tv all the time and has been on a winning team since his entry to the league.  At the end of it all, Russell Wilson wants $20 million a year (he enters this season in the final year of his rookie contract, with an expected salary of $1.5 million).  Russell Wilson plays just as well as a guy who many were calling a “bust” a few years ago – and he wants $20 million a year.

Of course if you’re Russell Wilson, you should try to get paid as much as you can, while you can.  Especially considering how mediocrity at the quarterback position is consistently overpaid : Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and now, Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins.  The Tannehill contract showed the lunacy which ensues during quarterback contract talks.  Miami Dolphins fans were actually happy with the fact that they overpaid for a player who’s ceiling of potential won’t get them into the playoffs.

Russell+Wilson+Seattle+Seahawks+Practice+-pXXypYvWGhl

Giving Russell Wilson the contract which is expected, will without a doubt start the decline of the Seattle Seahawks organization.

When will there ever be a general manager and coach combination that stands up for how good they are and tell a quarterback : “You know what, we’re good.   We appreciate your time in this organization, but we know how to put a team together.”

You see, it’s not just Russell Wilson – it’s every quarterback.  There are probably three quarterbacks in the NFL who are maybe worth $20 million a year because they have the ability to make everyone around them better.   Those kind of quarterbacks are rare.  Quarterbacks who throw for 20 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and 3400 yards in a season are quite abundant and need a team around them to have success.

G.W. Gras

@GeeSteelio

How To Play the Super Bowl Prop Bets

The Super Bowl is not only the biggest sports day of the year.  It is an unofficial American Holiday, a gathering of friends and family and also for all things considered, the end of “betting season” for many.  Whether it’s a blessing or not is the gambler’s issue – but the Super Bowl is the last time for many to cash in, feel the rush or hand their money over to their bookee one last time.  Vegas is aware of this and that is why “prop bets” were created.

Coin Toss:

All of the coin toss props are 50/50 and it’s a quick way to lose or make your money right at the start of the Super Bowl.  Heads or tails, which team will call heads or tails, will the team who wins the coin toss win the game, etc, etc.  If you have to get your early fix and bet on the coin toss, ride with history.  In the Super Bowl, Seattle is 2-0 in winning the coin toss while New England has only won the coin toss twice in seven trips to the big game.

Will There Be Three Unanswered Scores by Any Team:

This one is interesting because the line on YES is -200 and NO is +160.  Without giving away a Super Bowl prediction just yet, this game will be close.  The -1 line on the game itself (favoring Seattle) is proof enough that Vegas does not see any one of these teams running away with the game.  “NO” is the bet on this one.  Easily.

Richard+Sherman+NFC+Championship+San+Francisco+qweMxyyIZHzl

Will Richard Sherman Record A Interception:

This prop bet is tailor made for those who know the name of Richard Sherman but do not know the game of football.  In 16 regular season games Sherman had 4 interceptions but in the playoffs he has 2 interceptions in two games.  Both of those picks weren’t necessarily great plays by Sherman, but really a bad throw by Cam Newton and an uncharacteristically bad throw/read by Aaron Rodgers.  Sherman will be dealing with a Patriots offense that has had two weeks to prepare and game plan for him – oh, and Tom Brady is one of the leagues most annoyingly accurate perfectionist when it comes to in game execution.  The YES on this bet is at +195 while the NO is at         -250.  The  easy money is on the bigger bet, risk 250 for every hundred and laugh at the losers who will bet on Sherman because of his soup and headphone commercials.

Total Tackles + Assists by Kam Chancellor:

Kam+Chancellor+NFC+Championship+Green+Bay+jzoSJkVLUvEl

The over/under for this prop is set at 6.5 (over -155/under +105).  Kam Chancellor is an absolute animal.  The Patriots are no doubt going to try to soften up and find a crease within the tough D Line of the Seahawks and there is no doubt that Kam Chancellor will be called upon to navigate that line of scrimmage more than a few times. Aside from the running game, expect Kam to be dealing with Rob Gronkowski in the middle of the field.  Gronk is Brady’s favorite target and Chancellor is the kind of monster, competitively that wants to be the one to lay him out one on one.  The Pats use the middle of the field with their tight ends and (a-hem) eligible lineman so Kam will get many opportunities to get that tackle number way above 6.  Take the gamble and risk 155 units to win your easy 100.

Which Song Will Katy Perry Begin The Halftime Show With: 

Of course we have to talk some Katy Perry.  The odds for this one go like this: Firework 3/2; Roar 3/2; This is How We Do 5/1; Dark Horse 12/1; E.T. 12/1; Wide Awake 12/1; and Waking Up In Vegas 20/1.   Automatically eliminate Waking Up In Vegas because most people have forgotten about that song.  ET was  a hit but even then we’re talking some years back – The Songstress Perry is all about keeping things fresher.  Firework will no doubt be performed but that seems more like a closing song – TV-wise – this song was the highlight of her 2010 performance for Victoria Secrets.  Dark Horse may be too slow to kick off something as exciting as a halftime show should be which leaves three more: Wide Awake, This Is How We Do and Roar.   Wide Awake might be a song that would be on the edge of not even being heard, so that leaves Roar and This is How We Do.  Most would put money down on both but go for the longer shot and the safer start up song in “This Is How We Do.”  It still has some relevancy so it’s a safe bet.

Katy+Perry+Katy+Perry+Performs+Live+Brisbane+i0mrAIqR-10l

The Game Itself

No, this isn’t a “prop” bet but it’s the most important bet of the day.  As of now, Vegas has the Seattle Seahawks as a one point favorite over the New England Patriots.   The talk has been the Seahawks defense versus the Patriots offense – but folks should flip that around.  For all the fan fare that Russell Wilson gets, this Seahawks offense is a run first and run dominant offense, they are far from a juggernaut (although Marshawn Lynch represents the Marvel Comic villain of the same name at times).   Bill Belichik is one of the greatest coaches of all time and his integrity has been called into question because of “Deflate Gate.”  The Hood has had two weeks to get that defensive mind of his wrapped around this run heavy offense.  This WILL-NOT be a repeat of last year and the Seahawks are not set to repeat either.  Take the Patriots here at +1 and enjoy your Super Bowl viewing party.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio