For the first time ever, an NFL game will kick off and be played in Munich. What a terrific locale for a football game! Remember the time difference. This NFL game begins early Sunday morning.
Seattle vs. Tampa Bay (In Munich, Germany)
Line: Buccaneers -2.5
Moneylines: Seahawks +125 / Bucs -145
A strong case can be made that the wrong team is favored in this game. A hot 6-3 team is nearly a FG underdog to a struggling 4-5 team? Oh, and the dog has won 4 straight.
So, why are the Bucs favored by -2.5 vs. the Seahawks and why would anyone possibly bet on them and lay points, aside from the Tom Brady fan club?
In Brady's defense, he's a perfect 3-0 in NFL international games, throwing 10 touchdown passes while averaging 317 passing yards per contest. But do those old stats really matter anymore to a team with its fortunes riding on a 45-year-old arm? Well, I'll get to speculate on this in a moment.
First, let's address the unusual setting for this game, in Germany. After many games in London (and Mexico City), the NFL plays for the first time on the European continent. It's tough to predict how these intangible factors will impact preparations and performances. As a general handicapping principle, whenever there's any added randomness---just take the points. So, advantage---Seattle.
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ALL LINES ARE BASED ON WHAT'S AVAILABLE AT SPREADS.CA. ALSO NOTE THE BONUSES, BOOSTED BETS, AND OTHER ATTRACTIONS AT SPREADS.CA
Our main concern with betting on the Seahawks (and why they're +2.5) are road and travel factors. This is Seattle's third-straight road game. That's a difficult stretch for a great team, let alone one that's relatively young and still coming together as a unit. As for historical trends on this, third-straight NFL roadies are 35-69 SU, and 46-55-3 ATS.
Moreover, the Seahawks have been a marvelous surprise this past month, whipping division rivals LA Rams and AZ Cardinals on the road (which is rare), and now must fly as far as logistically possible to their next road contest (check this -- is Seattle to Munich the longest flight in NFL regular season history?). We expect these factors to catch up with the Seahawks here. So, it's advantage---Tampa Bay.
We've presented some contradictory evidence, which seemingly makes it difficult to pick either side. Actually, we think these contradictions may help us to make two picks, which we'll now explain:
PREDICTION: We expect this game to be close early, with Seattle possibly leading in the first few quarters. Then, as the game wears on, look for Tampa Bay to win and cover. This calls for an unusual combination of wagers, which we've done a few times this season.
First, take Seattle +1.5 and lay the -115 in the first half. The Seahawks are an NFL-best 8-1 ATS in the first half this season and playing versus a slow-starting opponent. The Bucs are just 3-6 ATS in the first half this season. The Seahawks' offense in the 1H; this is the #2nd ranked team in the league in the fewest three-and-outs in the first two quarters. That stat tells us Pete Carroll is coaching his ass off and preparing his team well. They come out of the locker room ready, yet obviously still aren't getting any respect from betting markets on this first-half angle. They're getting points! Oh, and Tampa Bay has trailed at halftime in 3 of their last 4 games facing opponents that are a combined 13-21 SU, not exactly a fast starting offense even when facing bad opposition.
We are combing a bet on the dog in the 1H with laying -2.5 (not -3, that's a pass) with Tampa Bay. We see the very real possibility that road fatigue impacts Seattle in the second half, and the Tom Brady magic is always a wild card in the deck. Would anyone be surprised to see a little extra NFL and officiating love for Brady and the Bucs in the 2H to make this first-ever game in Germany something to remember? Yeah, that sounds ridiculous, but it just seems more likely to see Seattle leading or tied at the half based on better recent performance, and then Tampa Bay making a 2H comeback that could result in both wagers cashing.
Perfect scenario: Game tied at the half, then a late field goal wins it for Tampa Bay by -3.