I’ve worked with Paul since he was a teenager and stuffed envelopes in my San Francisco office in 1982. He’s my brother’s son, and has a real keen talent for identifying motivational factors that dictate National Football League results.
He found a game this week that has all the calling points for him to indicate an extraordinary point spread play. We think alike, some games you don’t need to look for, they find you. This is one of those games.
As our enthusiasm for this selection bubbled up in our conversation we realized something, Paul sees dead teams. Like the character in the Sixth Sense that saw dead people, Paul sees dead teams. Teams that have run their string to the end on the possibility of upcoming success. Teams that if they knew what Paul knew could save the travel expenses for an away game.
Paul thinks the Seattle Seahawks could have saved flight and hotel costs this week for their game in Cleveland. The Seahawks are coming off a hard-fought one-point home win over the defending National Football Conference Champion Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks victory was their fourth in five games, and followed a lopsided win the week before against the Cardinals in Arizona.
This is a Seahawks team not in the upper echelon of the league, a squad that won at home on opening day over the Cincinnati Bengals by a single point … and the Bengals are still winless on the season. This is a team that won last week because the Rams missed a would-be winning field goal on the game’s last play.
This is a Seahawks team that has skated through their schedule avoiding one disaster after another, and yet shows up in Cleveland this week as a bet-on road point spread favorite. The books know the problems the Seahawks are sure to face this week, that’s why they installed the Browns as a 2½ point favorite.
But the public seems to think they know better. They have shown up in huge numbers to back the Seahawks chances this Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. More than 75% of all wagers on this game are taking the underdog Seahawks, even after the books moved them to a road favorite. A line that opened with the Browns favored, now has Seattle giving two points.
If it were only the Seattle side of this wager to consider, we would have a strong play. But, wait, there’s more, like they might say in a late night television info ad. The Seahawks are not only set up for a loss, but the home standing Browns are poised for a win.
I suspect the strong wagering on the Seahawks this week is just as much a wager against the Browns. Anyone near a television set last Monday night probably saw them get blown out by the San Francisco 49ers, 31-3. The luster the Browns had built up following a seven win season last year and high praise coming into the 2019 campaign, has been replaced by the reality that games are won on the field, not in the press clippings.
While the Browns got shelled in San Francisco last Monday, they are perfectly capable of responding to that defeat with a big effort.
This is a team that beat the Baltimore Ravens on their home field two weeks ago, 40-25, and responded to an opening game of the season blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans with a 23-3 road triumph over the New York Jets.
I can see this one coming and going, while in Paul’s view, the Seahawks are dead.
Qoxhi Picks: Cleveland Browns (+2) over Seattle Seahawks