Kevin C. Cox
Seattle is a road underdog at Atlanta in the second NFC divisional playoff game and the odds are holding at 2.5 points. The Seahawks have been money in the bank as an underdog over the past few years and the point spread reflects this trend.
The Seattle Seahawks have won six straight games and are 5-1 ATS over that stretch,but it's their play as an underdog that has many bettors backing them in the NFC divisional playoff against the Atlanta Falcons.
And their 15-3-1 ATS mark in their past 19 games as an underdog will make bettors think twice about backing the top-seeded Falcons.
Not only have the Seattle Seahawks been winning over the last six weeks, they've been dominating the opposition. Seattle has outscored its opponents 217-74 over the last six games, allowing 17 points or less in each of those games including last weekend's impressive defensive effort in a 24-14 win over Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.
Seattle's defense has been strong all season, allowing just 15.3 points per game, forcing football sportsbooks to take notice when posting over-under values.
Atlanta finished the regular season tied with Denver for the NFL's best record of 13-3 SU, and also had a respectable 9-6-1 record ATS. But can the Falcons finally prove that they aren't just a regular season team with a win this week?
Atlanta has earned a first-round bye in each of the last two seasons and has been blown out in divisional week home games in both, losing 24-2 to the New York Giants last season and 48-21 to the Green Bay Packers in 2010.
Atlanta passed the eye test with a strong offense (26.2 PPG) and defense (18.7 PPG against) this year, but fans and bettors want to see results in the playoffs.
The total has gone OVER in five of the last six matchups between Atlanta and Seattle and in each of their last three matchups. Seattle is 3-0 SU and ATS in its last three road games since starting the season off 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS on the road.
All in all, this is a terrible matchup for Atlanta. Not only is Seattle red-hot, but Atlanta's weak rushing defense (allowing 123.9 rushing yards per game) plays right into Seattle's strength with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield.
Seattle's defense makes the Seahawks a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and puts Atlanta in serious danger of suffering the same fate it has over the last two seasons.
PICK: Seattle +2.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)