Seahawks vs. Falcons Odds & Pick: This Week 1 Total Is Too High (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson.
- The Seattle Seahawks have fallen to one-point favorites ahead of their season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
- What should we expect from Sunday’s Week 1 matchup? Where is the betting value?
- Check out Mike Randle's full preview and analysis with updated odds below.
Seahawks vs. Falcons Odds
Atlanta comes off a Jekyll and Hyde season that saw a 1-7 start followed by a 6-2 finish. The Falcons will host a Seattle team that has finished no lower than second in the NFC West every year since 2011. This game features two teams with high expectations in 2020.
Atlanta and Seattle both have explosive offenses, but will that translate to a high-scoring Week 1 battle? Let’s explore why the highest total of Sunday’s main slate might be too high.
On the surface, most bettors will see a Seattle defense that was statistically the worst of Pete Carroll’s career. However, that may not be the same in 2020.
The Seahawks made two big moves in the offseason, acquiring former Washington cornerback Quinton Dunbar and New York Jets star safety Jamal Adams. Seattle also spent its first-round pick on Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who is now paired with All-Pro Bobby Wagner.
On offense, Seattle features a pair of big-play wideouts in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. When quarterback Russell Wilson has time, the Seahawks can connect on big pass plays. However, the offensive line woes that exist for Seattle are well-documented.
Brandon Thorn from EstablishTheRun ranks the Seahawks’ offensive line as the NFL’s third-worst unit heading into 2020. It projects to have three new starters and rely on quarterback Wilson’s mobility to try and avoid a high number of sacks. Despite this, Seattle ranked just 24th as a team with 48 sacks allowed.
Seattle offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will again lean on his running game. Chris Carson enjoyed another great season, ranking fifth in rushing yards for the second consecutive year. The Seahawks also added veteran Carlos Hyde with third-year rusher Rashaad Penny starting the season on the PUP list.
Atlanta’s season changed after that dismal 1-7 start. A surprising midseason coaching reshuffle spurred the Falcons to finish 6-2, including a 4-0 run to end the season. Atlanta’s road wins at New Orleans and San Francisco were led by a rejuvenated defense.
The Falcons signed defensive end Dante Fowler (11.5 sacks) and traded for edge rusher Charles Harris. They also used four of their six draft picks on defense, including cornerback A.J. Terrell at No. 16 overall. Head coach Dan Quinn and new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris recognize the need to balance their team’s efficiency better.
The biggest offensive concern is protecting the quarterback. Per Pro Football Focus, Atlanta’s offensive line posted the worst pass-blocking and run-blocking grades during Matt Ryan’s career. While the Falcons return all five offensive line starters, the effectiveness remains very much in question.
Right tackle Kaleb McGary struggled in pass protection and will need to show rapid improvement. Atlanta allowed 48 sacks last season and will be facing a revamped Seattle secondary. With a great wide receiver pairing in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, Atlanta needs to give Ryan better protection to allow time for explosive pass plays.
After leading the NFL with a 66.9% passing rate in 2019, the Falcons signed running back Todd Gurley to a one-year “prove it” deal. Atlanta also kept three backup running backs on its depth chart in Brian Hill, Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison.
I expect the Falcons to use a better running balance in their offense to help protect Ryan.
Vegas expects a close game with the Seahawks opening as a 1-point favorite, which has now only slightly climbed to Seattle -2.5. With Atlanta’s strong finish to close the 2019 season and Seattle favored to win the NFC West, all signs point to a very close non-conference Week 1 game.
Per BetLabs, during the Dan Quinn era, the under has hit 62.5% (15-9) of the time in Atlanta home games against non-divisional opponents. That percentage rises to 83.3% (5-1) in games with a spread of three or fewer points.
The over is getting 66% of the bets but only 56% of the money according to our public betting data. I’m going against the public and the perception of the Atlanta offense at home and took the under of 49.5 total points. I would bet it down to 48.5 — I welcome the chance to back the under in an Atlanta home game that most project as a high-scoring affair.
PICK: Under 49 (down to 48.5)