Over and over again, we’re told that NFL preseason games are meaningless. They don’t count in the standings. They only count for players who are trying to get ready for the regular season or attempting to make the team.
As fans, we watch for breakout players such as defensive end Benson Mayowa, the undrafted free agent from Idaho who shined in the preseason as a rookie last year.
But you have to keep in perspective what the Mayowas of the world do in the preseason because it’s typically happening against second- and third-stringers and others who will eventually be cut. As proof, Mayowa played a limited role in the first two regular-season games and wasn’t on the field for the last 14.
But that’s not the point of this post. In fact, what I’ve done is “buried the lead,” a journalistic no-no. Here it is, a way to make the Seahawks’ preseason games much more meaningful: put a friendly wager – or heck, even an unfriendly one – on the Seahawks to cover the point spread in every game they play in August.
Most of the time, I would agree that anyone who bets on preseason football or spring-training baseball games is sick. But the Seahawks are an exception. Why? They have an 8-0 record and are 8-0 against the spread over the last two preseason. As I recall, they’ve not only beaten the spread, they’ve covered it easily.
Coach Pete Carroll’s “Always Compete” stuff works year-round. Did you hear him yesterday?
“Don’t play a game if you don’t care about winning,” he told reporters before the team left for Denver, where the Seahawks will open the preseason against the Broncos tonight.
If you write a book called “Win Forever,” you don’t “Lose in August.” When you combine Carroll’s approach with the fact the Seahawks’ backups are better than the other teams’, you’ve got a formula for clobbering the spread in these supposedly meaningless games.
Usually the guys in Vegas who set the lines catch up to these trends and adjust the spreads to make it more difficult. Such is the case in tonight’s game. I would’ve thought the Broncos, wanting redemption for an embarrassing loss in the Super Bowl and playing at home, would’ve been slight favorites. But they’re two-point underdogs.
The Denver Post has a big headline this morning that says tonight’s game “matters” to the Broncos. But the last two preseasons tell us that every game matters to the Seahawks, too.
If I were in a Vegas sports book tonight, I’d take the Seahawks at minus-two and enjoy the game, knowing history is strongly on my side.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com and KitsapSun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.