Here is something you seldom see in the National Football League; a team enjoys a primetime romp on Monday Night Football one week, and for their game coming up the following Sunday the opening point spread goes up while the public lines up on their opponent.
What makes this strange is that if the books are moving the line on a game like this, then the wise guys early action also has to be against the team that enjoyed a romp win on Monday night.
Okay, let’s put a real life situation behind these factors. The Arizona Cardinals went into Dallas last night and dismantled a Cowboys team that looks as out of sync as a synchronized swimming squad on the first day of tryouts. Dallas lost their sixth straight point spread decision and maintained giving up more than 30 points in every game since losing their opener at Los Angeles. This one, not as close as the score, saw Dallas hammered to submission, 38-10.
The win kept the Cardinals in the thick of the NFC West Division playoff hunt, now even with the second place Rams and one-and-one half games behind the front running Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are one of two undefeated teams this year, and carry their 5-0 mark into Arizona this week in an attempt to widen their gap on first place.
So, if we are doing the math our way, we like the second place Cardinals to tighten this race with a home win over the Seahawks. But, what is cautionary is why everyone else, including people I respect, are backing the road team here.
Turns out, they have some mechanical factors that point to the Seahawks extending their perfect season.
First, Seattle is coming off their bye week and the Cardinals are working on a short week.
That is an interesting factor, and something the schedule makers knew they were doing when they set up this home game for the Cardinals after a Monday night encounter while the Seahawks had their open date.
And fishy normally favors Seattle.
But, I’ve got some other stats that I think will sink the crowd on the Seahawks.
First, that big win the Cardinals got last night was achieved in a spot where the home team had the edge motivationally. I know it doesn’t look like that now, when the Cowboys lost 38-10, but they did.
If the Cardinals were able to win decisively in a spot that they weren’t benefited by a motivational boost, and now they return home where they are, well you get my point.
The Seahawks perfect record is in contrast to their defensive stats, which has them giving up more yards through the air than nearly every other team in the league. Seattle is winning for a single reason, their quarterback refuses to lose. No player on the planet is more capable of bending a decision in his team’s favor all by himself than Russell Wilson.
Which means we have two advantages with the Cardinals this week in Arizona. First, we’ve got the team that is likely going to win, and second, in lieu of that, we have a point spread served up by the bettors that more than doubles our chances of winning the wager.
Then, they have Russell Wilson, which nullifies all advantages and makes this contest one for viewing only.