Monday Night Football: Denver at Seattle

Russell Wilson will make his Denver debut on Monday Night Football at Seattle against the team he spent 10 seasons with before getting traded during the offseason.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos

Line: Broncos -6.5

Total: 44.5

Where: Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington

When: Monday, 9/12 at 8:15 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

There aren’t many games that scream “prime time” like Monday night’s showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.

Long-time Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson will make his Denver debut—and return to Seattle—in the same game. Wilson was traded to the Broncos in March, putting an end to his decade with the Seahawks.

“I was fortunate to play there for 10 years,” Wilson said. “I know they’ll be rowdy. I know they will be excited. I know that. It’s Monday Night Football, so it’ll be a special environment. And listen, I think that I gave my heart and soul every day. I know nothing less. And hopefully it’ll be positive, but at the same time I know we’ve got a game to play.”

Bettors have been backing Wilson to beat his former team, causing the spread to inflate from -3.5 to -6.5 as of Friday afternoon. The total has been bet up as well, shifting from the opener of 41.5 up to the current number of 44.5.

Wilson joins a Denver roster that many experts thought was a solid quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender last year. The Broncos ranked eighth in the NFL in yards allowed per game (326.1) in 2021, but their offense finished in the bottom half of the league.

They have several talented players at skill positions though, led by wide receiver Courtland Sutton, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. Denver ended last season on a four-game losing streak and has scored 14 points or less in seven straight losses.

The Broncos are facing a Seattle defense that was among the worst in the league last season, ranked No. 28 in yards allowed per game (379.1). Offensively, the Seahawks will now turn to quarterback Geno Smith, who filled in for an injured Wilson on four occasions last season.

Smith completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 702 yards and five touchdowns while throwing just one interception. He still has a talented group of wide receivers to work with, headlined by Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. The Seahawks also added tight end Noah Fant from Denver in the Wilson trade, and their rushing attack remains strong with Rashaad Penny and rookie Kenneth Walker III, but Walker is ‘questionable’ to play (hernia) on Monday.

“I can’t imagine that he (Smith) is not in the best position to own the offense as he’s ever been,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said.

Denver has only covered the spread once in its last six road games, while Seattle covered in four of its final six games last year. The Seahawks are 13-7 ATS under Carroll in their last 20 games as underdogs.

They went ‘over’ the total in five of their final six games last year, while Denver went ‘under’ in eight of its last 11 games. These teams have cashed the ‘over’ in four of their last six head-to-head meetings.

The pick: Seattle +6.5

It is hardly shocking to see bettors on Denver and its new-look offense in this game, but this is a perfect buy-back spot on a contrarian home underdog. Seattle’s offense might not have been explosive with Smith at quarterback last season, but his numbers were not bad. He still has one of the top wide receiver duos in the NFL at his disposal, along with a solid ground game. Denver’s offense might need some time to improve under Wilson, and I am certainly not going to back them in one of the league’s loudest environments to open the season. Seattle has thrived as an underdog in recent seasons, and this is simply too many points to be giving the Seahawks at home.

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