Think about being a bookie a bookie for a second. This game comes up last week and you need to set a line.
- Public perception, the media, and every other pundit with an english degree that somehow gives them a license to predict game outcomes has to be taken into account. Very few give Seattle a chance... "clearly" Atlanta is the better team, with more playoff experience, playing at home while Seattle cant play without their 12th man, has a rookie QB, and was "lucky" last week with RG3 going down. Based off that one would think the line should be -6 to -7 probably opening at -6.5.
- Your models along with some really smart guys point to a pick-em game so you cant lay that kind of number out there or it would be a feeding frenzy for the sharps. This is probably not going to be one of the bigger bet games of the weeks from a public perception as neither team is from the New York, LA, Dallas, Chicago area nor are they one of America's favorite teams that can do no wrong like New England and Green Bay. You release -2.5 staying away from giving the sharps a shot at the field goal and immediately Twitter, Facebook and the media blow up how they cant believe Atlanta is only favored by 2.5 and again... The Seahawks where "lucky" RG3 went down. That's when you know, you set the PERFECT line to balance the action. Since the opener the line has been bet down to a -3 which could also be taken as the books taking a side on the game. Pinny is holding tight on the -2.5 @ -123 while others like CRIS keep to their standard practice of rarely moving off the comfort of the number 3 although there seems to be a slight regression back towards the -2.5 at some books this morning.
The bottom line is I believe this line is off. I have one set of stats/models I follow and trust showing this game as a pick-em and the other as Seattle -1. Obviously the linesmakers could not make Atlanta a 1 point home dog and I am seeing a clear adjustment for public perception on this line. If this game is played out 100 times in Atlanta everything I see points to Seattle winning 50% of the time. For virtually every argument you can make for Atlanta to win the game there is an equal counter argument that Atlanta should lose i.e. Seattle doesn't win on the road? Well the Falcons and Matty Ice cant win a playoff game.
In close games like this, and in particular playoff games I like to look at who can control the clock better. Seattle has the clear advantage with there running game ranked 3rd and an elusive QB with the Falcons ranking 23rd in run defense. On top of this, what Atlanta does best... passing the ball, Seattle is good at defending against.
Seattle is 5-1 against playoff teams this year and I see a nice tight and well balanced game. I'll take the points.
Edited 1/13/13 at 11:37AM by Parker - No reason listed.