Seattle Seahawks-Atlanta Falcons Picks Against the Spread

Senior analyst Larry Hartstein breaks down Seahawks-Falcons from a betting perspective as the NFL Divisional Playoffs get under way. Should a dangerous Seattle team be getting so many points?

 

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ATLANTA FALCONS (-5, O/U 51.5), Sat., 4:35 p.m. ET

Does history mean anything when it comes to the NFL playoffs?

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Sat 01/14 4:35 PM EST
Seattle +240 O/U 51
Atlanta -280 -6.5
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That question looms over this intriguing NFC clash. Seattle has a rich recent playoff history: 9-4 under Pete Carroll, including two NFC crowns and one Super Bowl title.

Atlanta, not so much.

With Matt Ryan, this year's likely MVP, under center, the Falcons are 1-4 in the playoffs, the only win coming in 2012 over these same Seahawks, 30-28, in the Georgia Dome.

But Atlanta should feel confident based on its Week 6 performance in Seattle this year. Although the Falcons lost 26-24, Julio Jones got the better of his matchup with Richard Sherman, catching seven balls for 139 yards and a touchdown.

Sherman grabbed Jones' arm on a deep throw late in the game. Had officials rightly called pass interference, Atlanta might have won.

And this time Ryan won't have to worry about Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, who's on injured reserve.

When it comes to attacking this Seattle defense, the Falcons basically have inside information. Dan Quinn coordinated the unit before taking over in Atlanta.

Atlanta's biggest concern, of course, will be on the other side of the ball.

Thomas Rawls exploded for 161 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries in last week's playoff win over Detroit. His success enabled Russell Wilson to get completely comfortable in the pocket.

The Falcons allow 4.5 yards per carry, tied for 26th.

LINE MOVEMENT

Books opened the Falcons as 3.5-point favorites. With nearly 60 percent of the bets on Atlanta, the line has jumped to 5.

"We moved this number to -5 due to a continuing stream of sharp money on the Falcons," said Scott Cooley, odds consultant for BookMaker.eu. "It jumped a point to -4.5 on the first day of being posted, and the steam has followed since. We do expect to see some dog money at some point, so I doubt this gets to -6 or anything higher."

The total has risen 2.5 points to 51.5, as bettors can't escape the fact Atlanta has yet to go Under at home this season.

By Friday night, the Falcons were holding as 4.5-point home favorites. The Over-Under stood at 41.5 and the Money Line was Atlanta -215 after an open of -195.

TRENDS

The Falcons are 0-6 ATS in their last six playoff games, and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 home games.

The Seahawks are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games, and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS win.

The Over cashed in all eight Atlanta home games this season. The Over is 6-1 in Seattle's last seven divisional playoff games.

SELECTION

NFL guru R.J. White and former Vegas bookmaker Micah Roberts have released strong plays on this game. Get all expert picks for Seahawks-Falcons here.