After hitting at a rate of 61% last year with picks here at The Sports Geek, I’m back at it again in 2013 looking to exceed last year’s mark. This year starts off with an intriguing affair featuring the highly touted Seahawks taking on an improved Panthers group. Two of the game’s most electrifying young quarterbacks square off as Russell Wilson takes his Seattle side across the country to take on Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers. While both teams have higher aspirations than last year, the Seahawks enter 2013 as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Expect Pete Carroll’s squad to be neck-and-neck with the 49ers in the super-competitive NFC West all season long, and games like this one present a tricky, yet tone-setting opportunity for Seattle.
There are many ‘can’t miss’ games kicking off during the 1:00 Eastern hour, and this is yet another example. An upgraded Panthers team taking on a Seahawks squad expecting big things will make for interesting viewing, and read on below for further thoughts and our first official regular season wager of the 2013 NFL season.
Seahawks at Panthers Betting Odds:
Seattle Seahawks -3 (-120)
@ Carolina Panthers +3 (+100)
Over 45 (-110)
Under 45 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Seahawks at Panthers Pick:
This is undoubtedly a tricky opening clash for a Seattle team that won’t want to get their season off to a bad start. Their fans and many pundits alike have pegged them as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and to lose in Week 1 would really put a damper on those lofty expectations. While travelling across the nation is never easy for a west-coast based squad, the Seahawks ultimately are the better side in this Week 1 match-up. Seattle is too deep, too strong, and too talented for an erratic Panthers team. Though Carolina, and quarterback Cam Newton improved down the stretch in 2012, their improvements aren’t close enough to mirror that of Seattle’s. The Seahawks are raring to go, and eager to seek redemption on last year’s bitter post-season exit.
Expect a competitive affair that is close throughout, with Seattle eventually pulling away. Last year when these two teams square off, the Seahawks squeaked out a narrow victory. Seattle held the Panthers to a season-low 190 yards of offense and expect more of the same come Sunday. The Seahawks defense is simply ferocious. Cam Newton will be unable to pass on the Seattle secondary, and as a result look for Pete Carroll’s team to load the box and stop the rushing attack. The secondary of Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas is undoubtedly one of the best the sport has ever seen and this will contribute to a successful day for Seattle.
On the injury front, key Seahawks off-season acquisition Percy Harvin will remain out until at least Week 7. The speedy wideout’s hip injury has lingered longer than expected and as a result Russell Wilson will have to rely on his other targets on Sunday. Elsewhere it’s expected defensive lineman Cliff Avril will miss this game as he enters the game listed as doubtful. And key figure Bruce Irvin will remain absent from the line-up until after Week 4 as he is currently serving a suspension. For Carolina they’ll likely just be without running back Jonathan Stewart as the backup tailback is currently dealing with a foot injury.
Look for Seattle to pound the ball early and often in this one. Both Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch have the tools to do damage on an untested Panthers’ defense and expect them to do so. While it’s a tough spot for Seattle, the opening game of the year is a big chance to set the tone, and Pete Carroll teams rarely lack motivation. The line is currently hovering around 3 or 3.5 points in favor of the Seahawks, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get 3 in this game. Seattle -3 is the pick in this one.
PICK = Seattle -3 (-120)