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Can Russell Wilson get revenge when favored Broncos face Seahawks in MNF opener?

Denver is nearly a touchdown favorite against Seattle in Wilson’s first game as the visitor at Lumen Field.

Action Network Use Only - Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) is one of the key pieces surrounding new starting quarterback Russell Wilson in his return to Seattle on Monday. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/TNS)
Action Network Use Only - Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) is one of the key pieces surrounding new starting quarterback Russell Wilson in his return to Seattle on Monday. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/TNS)Read moreMatthew Stockman / MCT

Russell Wilson spent the first decade of his career with the Seattle Seahawks, winning a Super Bowl in 2014 over the team that traded for him this summer. He’ll have revenge on his mind Monday in his first game as a visitor at Lumen Field.

The Broncos opened as 6.5-point favorites in this one and were briefly priced as 7-point chalk on Sunday night. Yet the betting market is skeptical of a storybook return for Wilson and co., moving the Seahawks line down to +6 at BetMGM in the final game of a crazy Week 1 slate.

Here’s how we’re betting the Monday night opener, which kicks off at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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Seahawks vs. Broncos Odds (via BetMGM)

  1. Broncos -6 (-115), moneyline -275

  2. Seahawks +6 (-105), moneyline +225

  3. O/U 44 (-110)

Seahawks vs. Broncos Prediction: The Analysis

After the crazy results we saw on Sunday, it’s easy to get scared off from laying this many points on the road. Historically, that’s been the smart thing to do in this spot.

Over the last two seasons, road favorites in Week 1 are just 6-9 against the spread, including five outright losses and Sunday’s tie between the Colts (-7) and Texans. Teams entering Week 1 with a new head coach are also 0-10 ATS as road favorites in the last four seasons, which applies to these Broncos under first-time coach Nathaniel Hackett.

That said, I can’t get past the clear talent gap at virtually every position on the field on Monday.

Last year, the Seahawks went 1-3 in the four games that Wilson didn’t finish, and this roster is worse than the one that Geno Smith led a year ago. Bobby Wagner is gone, which is a key loss against this Broncos offense that should shred Seattle’s defense over the middle. Chris Carson (retired) and rookie Kenneth Walker (hernia) won’t be in action, either, putting pressure on Rashaad Penny to lead this run-heavy offense behind an unproven O-line.

And then there’s the big question of Wilson’s replacement. Smith was efficient but hardly threatening in his three starts last year, and he hasn’t opened a season as the starter since way back in 2014, when he led the Jets to a 3-10 before losing his starting job for almost a decade. He’s in a tough spot in this second act, surrounded by a receiving corps that dropped seven of his passes in the preseason and an offensive line that profiles as one of the worst in football.

That’s a particularly concerning issue for Smith, who was sacked on 21.4% of his third-down dropbacks in 2021 – the worst mark in the league among passers with at least 100 dropbacks. Expect the Broncos to dial up the pressure on Monday and force Smith to get the ball out quickly and decisively, something he’s struggled to do his entire career.

Regardless of the matchup, I’m particularly bullish on this Denver squad, which has surrounded Wilson with arguably the best supporting cast of his entire career. This defense has elite upside, too, a year after ranking fourth in points per drive (1.78) and second in hurry rate (13.1%). That sounds like a nightmare matchup for Smith and his makeshift protection.

The Broncos should be in attack mode from the start in Hackett’s first stint as a head coach after a successful run as the Packers’ offensive coordinator. If the Seahawks fall behind early, it’ll neutralize their promising but understaffed run game and force Smith into obvious passing situations – which sounds like a recipe for a blowout loss.

Seahawks vs. Broncos Pick

Broncos -6 (-115 BetMGM)

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.