Betting News & Analysis

Scoreless in Seattle? Seahawks a good bet to score fewest points in NFL

Philadelphia, PA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll congradulates free safety Marquise Blair (27) after a special teams play during the fourth quarter Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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Most bettors place wagers in multiple markets — spreads, totals, teasers, props, etc. — where they generally get oriented by following a bottom-up approach: “Which spreads do I like?” “Which totals stand out this week?”

But the goal in this space is to articulate our process for bets by following a top-down approach. We will consider how a specific thesis on a team, player, or trend is best applied and capitalized on in the proper market. Some bets will track traditional markets, but more often we will look to maximize our upside in the multitude of different markets offered by sportsbooks — it all depends on finding the right market for the thesis! Let’s dive in.

With a below-average quarterback and slow offense, the Seattle Seahawks will be among the NFL's lowest-scoring teams

Best Bet: Seahawks to score the fewest points in the NFL

BOTTOM LINE

Wins are fluky and induce more variance — it would not be shocking at all to see the Seahawks win a few 13-10-type slugfests this year. But they're lacking in offensive talent and comfortably project to play at a slow and inefficient pace, making it likely that the Seahawks' offense will struggle to score points in 2022. If we simulate the season 100,000 times, we need Seattle to finish as the lowest scoring offense 10.1% of the time or more to make it a positive EV bet. With a 10 percent breakeven at 9/1 odds, we like our chances.

Any betting approach selling the Seahawks this season likely begins by looking at their weak QB room. Regardless of whether Drew Lock or Geno Smith starts at quarterback, they project to be among the league’s worst. Our betting tool, PFF Greenline, has Lock ranked as the worst quarterback, and Smith, though not listed, would be tied for last with Cleveland Browns QB Jacoby Brissett and Houston Texans QB Davis Mills

While there are loads of efficiency stats to further illustrate this point, we don’t think it bears further explicating. The Seahawks have a bottom-tier QB room. Add that to perhaps the league’s worst projected offensive line according to PFF’s rankings, as well as the general market, and Seattle projects as one of the worst offenses in the league. 

But why the fewest points market and not some other market, such as fewest wins?

Play count: The fewest-points bet represents an opportunity to capitalize on Pete Carroll’s coaching tendencies — which are sticky and less prone to variance than on-field play. Seattle is perennially one of the slowest teams in the league, resulting in fewer plays and fewer points. In 2021, Seattle was dead-last in offensive plays, and the difference between the Seahawks and the team with the second-fewest plays was the same difference as No. 2 and No. 13. 

Since Carroll took over in 2011, the Seahawks have run the fourth-fewest plays in the NFL. That style of offense could succeed with an efficient quarterback in Russell Wilson. Replacing him with a backup-caliber passer and the combination of few plays and an inefficient quarterback should lead to very few points scored. 

Running is far less efficient than passing, full stop. We also know that Carroll loves to run the football — with a negative pass rate over expected four of the past five years (the one exception was in the 2020 #LetRussCook year). Moving on from Wilson and not drafting a QB nor trading for a stopgap in Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo suggests that Carroll is fine rolling with whoever is behind center. This is likely because Carroll wants to play it his way: a slow pace with few plays and an offense focused on running the ball as much as possible, despite it being inefficient. The combo of inefficient and slow is just too great to pass up. 

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