A bad team used the element of surprise to stun the Seattle Seahawks, and it should not come as a shock to coach Pete Carroll. He had to know what he was up against this season, and it’s an almost unbeatable opponent.
It’s the Super Bowl hangover, which has nothing to do with whiskey shots and all-night parties. It typically hits around this time every year. It is hitting the Seahawks now.
Seattle is a .500 team through six games, a sobering realization for bettors who believed this team was going to be different. But it’s looking like the same old story.
“For the Seahawks to get beat by a fourth-string quarterback after getting beat last week at home,” Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito said, pausing. “It’s still early. I’m not going to rule them out, but it is tough to repeat, and the Seahawks are finding that out.”
It was not tough for Seattle to repeat a poor performance. A week after getting dominated by Dallas, the defending Super Bowl champs were played as chumps and fools Sunday in a 28-26 loss to St. Louis.
The Rams, who were 1-4 and winless at home, used a gutsy fake punt, clever deception on a punt return and the hot hand of legendary quarterback Austin Davis to win as 7-point underdogs in a game that tricked the betting public.
“Seattle going down again was good for us,” said Jay Rood, book director at MGM Resorts. “It was a teaser killer and parlay killer.”
When the Rams took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter, Esposito said, “The room got awfully quiet.”
But the books did not stay silent for long. Buffalo, Detroit, Kansas City and Washington won thrillers that went to the wire, and public favorites Green Bay and Indianapolis rolled to rocking-chair blowouts.
It was Week 7 of the NFL season, and similar to every other Sunday there were comebacks and upsets. What made this one a little different is Jacksonville won a game, prematurely blowing up the 0-16 proposition wager that was posted three weeks ago at the South Point. The Jaguars, who attracted money to close as 4-point home ’dogs, buried the Cleveland Browns 24-6. So, it’s time to put up the 0-16 prop on the Oakland Raiders (0-6).
Carolina and Cincinnati, teams that played to a tie last week, got buried, too. Aaron Rodgers’ three touchdown passes helped the Packers, 6½-point favorites, pound the Panthers 38-17. Andrew Luck passed for 344 yards and two touchdowns as the Colts, 3½-point favorites, embarrassed the Bengals 27-0.
Last week, I used the Seahawks as my best bet in the Friday paper and got appropriately ripped by the critics. This week, I used the Colts and got payback. At the point when Indianapolis took a 24-0 lead, Cincinnati had 47 total yards.
“It’s almost never easy,” said Rood, who reported tickets on the Colts were written at a 9-to-1 ratio. “The only morning game that dinged us was the Colts, and we never had a shot in that game.”
Indianapolis, 5-2 straight and 6-1 against the spread, has been the best bet in a league full of unreliable teams.
“Our guests are backing the Colts and Packers every week,” Esposito said. “The Colts are on a short list of teams that could be playing in February. I think they have a really legit shot.”
The Bills are not on that short list of Super Bowl contenders, but Kyle Orton directed a long, dramatic 80-yard drive to beat Minnesota 17-16 on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins with 1 second remaining.
“Buffalo fans were going crazy, and Detroit fans were going crazy,” Esposito said. “It was a cool atmosphere in the book.”
Drew Brees and the Saints lost their cool, which is often the case when they are not in New Orleans. Up 23-10 with four minutes to go, the Saints, 1½-point ’dogs in Detroit, went down 24-23 after Matthew Stafford struck out of nowhere for two scoring throws.
“The Saints are really in quicksand,” said Rood, who could have been talking about the Bears.
Chicago, a 3-point home favorite supported by the public, was taken apart 27-14 by Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins. It’s never a surprise when Jay Cutler loses.
The Chiefs, 3-point ’dogs, drew sharp money and surprised San Diego by winning 23-20 on a last-minute field goal that Cairo Santos barely hooked in from 48 yards.
Dallas, 6-1 after beating the New York Giants 31-21, covered as a 5½-point favorite. The wiseguys were all over the Giants, but the public rode along with the Cowboys, who stopped being a surprise last week when they whipped the Seahawks in Seattle.
Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman cashed in with commercial deals. But a majority of movie sequels are flops — “Caddyshack II” could be the worst — and Carroll is overseeing a second-act slump by the Super Bowl champs.
“The first week, everyone said, ‘The Seahawks are a better team than they were last year,’ ” Rood said. “It’s definitely going to be a struggle, and they might not win the division. I’m not ready to write them off yet, but this is the NFL, and there’s a reason no team ever repeats anymore.”
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning set the league record for career touchdown passes as Denver destroyed San Francisco, and there’s no hangover for the Super Bowl losers.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports betting columnist Matt Youmans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. He co-hosts “The Las Vegas Sportsline” weekdays at 2 p.m. on ESPN Radio (1100 AM). Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.