The Seahawks had a successful season in 2019, going 11-5 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Their Achilles heel, though, was the running back position. Seattle suffered a pair of season-ending injuries to starter Chris Carson and backup Rashaad Penny. It got so back at the tail end of the year that the 'Hawks had to lure Marshawn Lynch out from retirement.
Over the weekend, Seattle took a step toward ensuring history doesn't repeat itself by inking free-agent RB Carlos Hyde to a 1-year deal. Hyde, a second-round pick in 2014 out of Ohio State, is coming off a career year with Houston, where he rushed for 1,070 yards on 245 carries (4.4 average) with 6 touchdowns, playing in all 16 games. The signing of Hyde adds depth at a crucial position and gives Russell Wilson another offensive weapon to lean on.
Since entering the NFL in 2012, it has been death, taxes and Wilson winning double-digit games each year. The Super Bowl champion, seven-time Pro Bowler and Rookie of the Year is the epitome of dependable and a model of consistency. He has never missed a game in his eight-year career.
Here's the 'Hawks season-by-season won-loss records under Wilson:
Overall, Wilson has led Seattle to a record of 86-41-1, which averages out to 10.75 wins per season. He has won at least 10 games in every single season except one (2017, when he won 9).
So Wilson and the 'Hawks are a lock for double-digit wins in 2020, right?
Not so fast.
Seattle's win total is 9.5. That's not the surprisingly part. It's the juice.
Across the market, oddsmakers are forcing bettors to pay a heavy price on the under. At Circa Sports, the under 9.5 is -130 (over + 110). At FanDuel the under 9.5 is -155 (over + 130). At PointsBet the 9.5 under is -150 (+ 120). DraftKings is so bullish on the under that they're a half-game below the market, hanging a win total of 9 with even -110 juice on both sides.
Sportsbooks aren't stupid. They know the public loves betting overs, especially on popular teams with perennial winning records and star quarterbacks. So why are they juicing up the under and offering plus money to take the over? If it looks too good to be true, it almost always is. Reading between the lines, smart money and overall liability is on the 'Hawks going 9-7 or worse in 2020.
The Seahawks are in the middle of the pack in terms of strength of schedule this season. Their 2020 opponents went a combined 129-125-2 (.509) in 2019, which is tied for the 13th-hardest schedule overall.
Here's the full Seahawks 2020 schedule
Week 1: at Falcons
Week 2: vs Patriots
Week 3: vs Cowboys
Week 4: at Dolphins
Week 5: vs Vikings
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: at Cardinals
Week 8: vs 49ers
Week 9: at Bills
Week 10: at Rams
Week 11: vs Cardinals
Week 12: at Eagles
Week 13: vs Giants
Week 14: vs Jets
Week 15: at Redskins
Week 16: vs Rams
Week 17: at 49ers
Despite the juiced up under win total, Seattle is still a slight favorite to make the playoffs. The Seahawks are -122 to make the postseason at FanDuel and + 100 to miss the postseason. The 'Hawks are + 240 to win the NFC West, trailing only the 49ers + 100. The Rams are + 370 and the Cardinals a distant + 900.
Seattle is tied with Philadelphia for the 5th-best odds to win the NFC at + 1000. Only the 49ers (+ 460), Saints (+ 650), Bucs (+ 700) and Cowboys (+ 850) are higher. The Seahawks have the 8th-best Super Bowl odds at + 2100.
Wilson is tied with Lamar Jackson for the 2nd-best MVP odds at + 600, trailing only Patrick Mahomes at + 380.
Wilson's over/under passing yards in 2020 is set at 3,950.5. His over/under passing touchdowns in 30.5. Last season Wilson threw for 4,110 yards with 31 touchdowns.
Seattle's offseason has been regarded as a bit of a head-scratcher. The Seahawks entered with $52 million in cap space and spent the money on quantity, not exactly quality. The 'Hawks re-signed guard Mike Iupati and defensive tackle Jarran Reed, then added free agent offensive linemen B.J. Finney, Brandon Shell, Cedric Ogbuehi and Chance Warmack, plus defensive end Bruce Irvin and 35-year-old tight end Greg Olsen.
The Seahawks traded for Washington cornerback Quinton Dunbar. His playing status is up in the air after being arrested for armed robbery recently. Seattle has also allowed star edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney to walk in free agency.
In the draft, Seattle took Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks in the first round at 27th overall, which was considered to be a bit of a reach.