Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oakland Raiders vs Seattle Seahawks: SEA -7 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The Seahawks opened at - 6.5 earlier this week, but that hasn't scared off bettors or sharps. The line has moved to a full touchdown and there are even some shops that are attaching extra juice to that now.  Will late money come in on the Raiders?  +7 for a preseason game is enticing, but who in their right minds wants to bet against the Seahawks at home under any circumstances? Especially on a train-wreck organization like Oakland? To no surprise, 73% of the bets are coming in on the Hawks.

Coaching

Pete Carroll is now an amazing 20-12 straight up in the preseason, 22-9-1 against the spread, and 10-1 during his time in Seattle. His full roster competition mantra is well documented and his desire to win every game is the worst kept secret in the betting community.

Dennis Allen might want to win these games, but he doesn't have the roster to make it happen. He's just 3-4 against the spread and 2-5 straight up thus far. 

Carroll's Seahawks have beaten the Raiders in the final NFLX week for two years in a row, 20-3 in 2011 and 21-3 in 2012.

Quarterbacks

All the attention is on the Oakland QB position and with good reason. Matt Flynn has taken 7 sacks and is responsible for 3 turnovers in 3 preseason games. Now he might have to stand on the sidelines and watch his job slip away to Terrelle Pryor ... in Seattle no less.

Why is everyone so excited about Pryor? Well beyond his athleticism and highlight reel plays, his mobility offers much more protection against a porous offensive line than Matt Flynn does. Yet, what are we to make of his production when it's come against a really poor Chicago reserve unit?

Pryor's stats through 3 games are 14/24 for 190 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Nothing special. His real damage comes outside the pocket where he is 11 for 83 rushing yards and a TD.  Overall he has 26 points on 10 drives. 

But how will Pryor do in the pocket? He still struggles to go through his reads. If his first option isn't open, his instinct is to run. I'm not convinced he's ready to take over an NFL team on a full time basis and he'll have a much stiffer test up in Seattle than he did in last week's game. 

McGloin will try to fend off rookie Tyler Wilson in the second half. One of these guys will be destined for the practice squad. Most likely Wilson.  McGloin hasn't looked all that great though. He's 15/28 for 238 with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.  Wilson has only attempted 6 passes, completing 3 for 28 yards.

The big advantage comes with the Seattle rotation.

Tarvaris Jackson is 14/19 for 238 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brady Quinn is 14/23 for 162 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. 

If Pryor can't take a lead into halftime or at least keep it tied, I don't see how McGloin or Wilson outperform whoever Seattle has under center in the second half.  

Loose Ends

The Raiders offensive line has been horrendous. Now they'll be starting a rookie at left tackle, Manelik Watson. He's never played this position before as he spent all his time at right tackle in college. Bruce Irvin missed a lot of the preseason, so he'll get extended action. Also keep an eye on Benson Mayowa off the edge. Even though Seattle's starters are banged up on the DL, I don't see how the Raiders can prevent pressure from entering the backfield.

Seattle's #2s are a really good group compared to most around the league, especially in the secondary with guys like Maxwell, Lane, and Thurmond.

The Seattle QB's should have some time to find their receivers in this game as the Raiders DL is porous. They only have 3 sacks in 3 games using lots of young guys and cheap free agents.

With a 7 point spread it's unlikely to come down to a field goal, but it helps that Sebastian Janokowski is out with an injury.

RC Christine Michael has186 yards and 1 TD on 27 carries. He also has a reception for 25 yards.

Bottom Line

Laying a touchdown in the preseason is a bit silly. Normally I'd stay away from a number like this, but I'm going to ride the Seahawks train to the last stop.  I'm not sold on Pryor and I think things get bleak after he leaves the game. Given his offensive line, I think his only option is to keep this game close with his legs. 

I'm gonna trust that Carroll continues his exhibition mojo and walks away with one last cover before we give way to the regular season. It's also a big boost that this game is played in Seattle. The 12th man might not be as loud as they usually are, but they'll be into the game early. If Seattle can prevent a hot start, their chances to cover should go up dramatically.

NFL Pick: SEA -7.