Thursday Night Football: Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle …

Despite both the Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) and the Seattle Seahawks’ (4-7) struggles this season, with the two teams meeting up in the loud and rowdy confines of CenturyLink Stadium in Seattle, tonight’s Thursday Night NFL Football contest figures to be an exciting option for online sports betting on a relatively slow day of sports betting action.

No doubt the most disappointing of these two teams heading into tonight’s contest is the Philadelphia Eagles, who after adding a corps of top-level talent on defense including Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, have sputtered to the brink of being ousted from playoff contention, losing more games through 12 weeks this year than through all of last season. It’s clear that even with the Eagles highly touted offensive arsenal on display, which ranks 2nd in the NFL in rushing behind running back LeSean McCoy, and 10th in passing for the 3rd all-around offense in the league, finding a way to mesh together complete games on both sides of the ball has been a challenge. So much so that the Eagles’ veteran head coach Andy Reid, a master at revitalizing his teams towards the end of the season, has had many fans in Philly calling for his head after the disappointing year the Eagles have produced thus far in the 2011 campaign. Heading into tonight’s match-up with Seattle even, where the Eagles are clearly the more talent-packed, experienced team, Philadelphia’s chances of winning aren’t clear cut especially considering the swath of injuries that has begun to plague the team in recent weeks.

With starting QB Michael Vick out still with broken ribs, Vince Young will get another start after putting up 400 yards against New England last week, albeit with most of his stats coming in garbage time in a blowout Pats win. For today’s match-up, it’ll be curious to see how Young spreads the ball around without one of his top receivers in Jeremy Maclin (sitting with a hamstring injury),and possibly without the services of the league’s leading rusher LeSean McCoy (1,050 yards rushing, 11 TDs), should his sprained toe hold him out. There’s certainly some depth in the Eagles passing game, which led by the speedy DeSean Jackson could be a tough threat for the 20th-ranked Seahawks defense to deal with, but with McCoy likely not getting too much work even if he does play, it’ll be interesting to see how Andy Reid balances the running and passing games in a hostile environment this evening. As for the defensive side of the Eagles game, missing the presence on defense of Dominque Rogers-Cromartie, and possibly Nnamdi Asomugha certainly doesn’t help, however at least against a terrible Seattle passing attack (ranked 25th in the league at 196.4 yards/game), at least the Eagles will get some relief, with top receiver Sidney Rice out and QB Tarvaris Jackson playing through injury.

There isn’t all too much to say about the Seattle Seahawks this season, other than it’s a building year. Without a solid quarterback, Seattle has struggled to maintain ball possession, and has struggled to produce long-lasting drives all season. Though they have promising talent, namely with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield (180 carries, 706 yards, 6 TDs), and the likes of Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Ben Obomanu at wide-out, they’ve been unable to let their stars shine consistently throughout games, something which is blatantly evident by the highly-touted tight end Zach Miller being used as primarily a blocker this season instead of a key pass catcher. Seattle simply struggles to find rhythm in the passing game, which leads to a stalled running game, which was more than evident in last weeks’ loss to Washington in which Seattle generated -9 yards on its last 4 possessions to essentially hand the Redskins a 23-17 win. Though Marshawn Lynch has been one of the best backs in the league over the past month (averaging 110 yards/game in 4 November contests), it’s been the inability of the Hawks to play a complete game around him that has kept them out of the win column, beating themselves up with penalties, too many 3-and-out series, and inopportune turnovers.

One must factor in however the setting for this game tonight, taking place at the loudest venue in the NFL, with the Seahawks desperate to knock the Philadelphia Eagles out of playoff contention in a retribution game. Though the teams haven’t match-up since 2008, and come into this match-up as very different squads than before, there is something to be said for a good NFL grudge match even when both teams involved are underperforming, and definitely something to be said about playing in front of a confidence-boosting home crowd. What I do like about Seattle, especially when playing at home, has been their ability to stop the rush, ranking at 11th in the league giving up just over 100 yards per outing to opposing backs. With LeSean McCoy in doubt (and questionable as a contributor any which way after a 31 yard effort on 10 carries last weekend), Seattle could find ways to put more coverage on the Eagles’ deep threats, something Philly no doubt will look to exploit in this match-up. If Seattle can contain the Eagles offense and hold them within 3 touchdowns while generating a turnover or two, this game could very well go the way of the home team Hawks. That is of course, if Seattle can muster better than the 15.2 points per game they’ve put up in their last six games….

Betting Lines for Philadelphia at Seattle

Oddsmaker.ag Sportsbook is our featured top sports betting website for Thursday, and looking at their top betting lines we see that coming into this match-up Philadelphia is a slight favorite on the money line, getting -155 odds to win in this Thursday Night NFL Football contest. With Seattle playing their best ball at home each year, they get much tighter +135 odds in this match-up than one might expect initially, as while consideration has to be taken for how poor of an offense Seattle has by comparison, one also must consider the burden of injuries factoring in for the Eagles as well, and how hard it’s been for them to win games even with all their top players suited up. Against the spread tonight, the Eagles could be the best bet with the -3 points at -120 odds, as if the Seahawks lose, they will probably find a way to do it by a touchdown or more late in the game. However, if you like the prospects of Seattle overcoming a better team at home (ala vs. Baltimore in Week 10), taking the +3 points on Seattle at EVEN money might be an intriguing bet for the risk taker. Lastly for betting lines at Oddsmaker.ag, the over/under stands at 43.5 points, a mark that may be tough to reach if Philly sits LeSean McCoy, and/or the Seattle Seahawks fail to generate any offense this evening.

Our Pick to Win:

I have to admit that I’m a life-long Seattle Seahawks fan, by virtue of the years spent growing up in the Pacific Northwest. However, being a Hawks fan finds me likely to be even more pessimistic about Seattle’s chances in big match-ups like these, as it’s been a characteristic of Seattle teams to find a way to lose ballgames, rather than win them. Though Seattle has a lot of promise and some talent, this game tonight is Philadelphia’s to lose, as despite potentially missing players due to injury, the Eagles are still the better offense, better defense, and better team overall. It’ll be key tonight that Vince Young avoids mistakes which would otherwise allow Seattle to keep within grasp of this game, but otherwise don’t expect Seattle to do itself any favors. While Marshawn Lynch has another solid game for the Hawks tonight, Seattle falls a bit short and gets eliminated from the playoffs with a 27-14 loss at home tonight.

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