Over the last 20 years, defending Super Bowl champions are 18-2 but only 11-9 ATS in their season openers, an indication that perhaps they're being overrated on the betting lines.
This year the defending Super Bowl champions, Seattle Seahawks, open the NFL season with a rematch of the infamous "Fail Mary" game against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night at the Clink.
Point spread: Seahawks opened as 3.5-point favorites, but the number has been bet up to -5.5; the total was 46. (Line updates and matchup report)
OddsShark computer prediction: 33.0-20.8 Seahawks
Why the Packers can cover the spread
The Packers fought through a slew of injuries last year to win their third-straight NFC North title. QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Randall Cobb, LB Clay Matthews and others missed large parts of last season, and still Green Bay came within a field goal of making the second round of the playoffs.
This year the Pack have all those guys back, and look ready to roll.
Green Bay started 5-2 both SU and ATS last season, then went 2-6 SU, 1-7 ATS without Rodgers. Then, when he came back for the season finale at Chicago, Rodgers threw a game-winning touchdown pass on fourth down from mid-field with less than a minute to go to beat the Bears and win the division.
Finally, let's face it, the Packers had the Seahawks beat the last time these teams met, less than two seasons ago, until that fake ref snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Why the Seahawks can cover the spread
The Seahawks rolled through last season as the most dominant team in the league with the most dominant defense.
Seattle went 13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS through the regular season, then held the Saints, 49ers and Broncos to a total of 40 points through three postseason victories, winning the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy.
And there's no reason to believe the Seahawks can't do it all again this season. They've still got the best defense in the league, and a smash-mouth running game and a nimble quarterback who just seems to know how to win.
Seattle is also a monster at home, going 17-1 SU, 13-5 ATS over its last 18 games at CenturyLink.
This game is likely to be decided in the trenches, which gives Seattle the advantage. Green Bay is already banged up along the offensive line, and already lost run-stuffer B.J. Raji for the season to a torn biceps injury.
The Seahawks have been crazy-tough at home under coach Pete Carroll, and the Packers are just 1-5 both SU and ATS over their last six games as road dogs, even with Rodgers and Matthews.
So while it's always a little dangerous giving Green Bay points, the smart money here lies with Seattle.
- Seahawks won and covered past four Week 1 games at home
- Home team is 7-1 SU past eight meetings of these teams
- Packers 1-5 SU and ATS past six games as road underdogs
- Seahawks are 15-1 SU past 16 games as home favorites