The Seattle Seahawks will try to do something they could not four years ago against the Falcons when they visit Atlanta in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs Saturday: win as road underdogs. The Seahawks fell 30-28 as 2.5-point underdogs in the 2012-13 postseason when quarterback Russell Wilson was a rookie, and the Falcons are slightly bigger chalk this time.
Point spread: The Falcons opened as 3.5-point favorites. The total was 49.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL pick, via OddsShark computer: 33.7-15.1 Falcons (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Seahawks can cover the spread
Wilson nearly pulled off the upset the last time he and his Seattle teammates visited the Georgia Dome in the playoffs, and they won there in the next meeting 33-10 as three-point road favorites the following season.
Atlanta nearly returned the favor in the most recent meeting back in Week 6 but ultimately fell short in a 26-24 road loss as a 6.5-point underdog. The Seahawks are capable of playing much better defensively though, and they showed that in a 26-6 rout of the Detroit Lions last week. They will need to do that again to advance on the road.
Why the Falcons can cover the spread
The Falcons will be trying to extend Seattle's eight-game playoff losing streak as an underdog in this spot, and they played well in the first meeting earlier this season despite losing. The Seahawks got some breaks from the referees at home, including a controversial no-call on what could have been pass interference while covering wide receiver Julio Jones late in the game.
Regardless, Atlanta earned home-field advantage and will not have to deal with the same kind of crowd noise from the 12th man in this matchup.
Seattle is a dangerous team in the NFC, capable of beating any of the remaining contenders when playing at its best. The Seahawks saw running back Thomas Rawls set a franchise postseason record with 161 yards on the ground, and they could get C.J. Prosise back from a shoulder injury this week as well.
Atlanta has a history of disappointing at this time of year, going 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS at sports betting sites in its last six playoff games. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan may be the NFL MVP this year, but Wilson will best him here and give the Seahawks a boost on the Super Bowl LI odds.
The Falcons are 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS in their last six games in the playoffs.
The total has gone over in the Falcons' last six games.
The Seahawks are 0-8 SU in their last eight games in the playoffs as road underdogs.
All NFL lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.