The cross-country trip to the East Coast supposedly is hard on West Coast teams, but the Seattle Seahawks don't seem to mind considering they're 5-0 both straight up and against the spread in their last five games in the Eastern time zone including a victory and cover at Carolina last year and the Super Bowl victory in New Jersey. In a scheduling quirk Seattle visits Carolina for the third season in a row Sunday afternoon.
Point spread: The Seahawks opened as three-point favorites; the total was 44.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (Line updates and matchup report).
NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 31.6-18.6 Seahawks
Why the Seahawks can cover the spread
The Seahawks ran into a buzzsaw last week in St. Louis, falling outright 28-26 as six-point favorites. The Rams did everything right, from scoring on an ingenious punt return to converting a fake punt for a first down in the final minutes to basically ice the game. And still the Seahawks almost rallied from a 21-3 deficit to win.
For the game, Seattle outgained St. Louis 463-272, as even without target Percy Harvin quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 313 yards. The defending Super Bowl champs have lost two games in a row, but they can take solace in the fact they just beat Carolina last September 12-7, outgaining the Panthers that day 370-253.
Why the Panthers can cover the spread
The Panthers are struggling at the moment, after last week's 38-17 loss at Green Bay, but they still lead the NFC South at 3-3-1 (4-3 ATS). So they've got something to defend. Carolina also ran into a bit of a buzzsaw last week, falling behind the Packers 28-0 in the first quarter, but that could happen to a lot of teams considering the way Green Bay is playing at the moment.
Two weeks ago the Panthers tied the score at the buzzer to force overtime at Cincinnati, then tied it again in OT before escaping with a 37-37 tie, and three weeks ago Carolina rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to win at Chicago. The Panthers are not playing like the team that won the NFC South last year, in part due to the lack of a running game outside of Cam Newton, but perhaps the return of running back Jonathan Stewart will help.
Seattle has outgained four of six opponents this season and outrushed five of six foes, while Carolina has been outgained by six of seven opponents, and outrushed by five of seven. So the smart money here resides with the visiting Seahawks, minus the points.
- Seattle is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games
- Carolina is 14-5-1 SU in its last 20 games