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Super Bowl LIII betting odds (As of Aug. 29):
Seattle Seahawks: 35.00
After five straight years of making the NFL playoffs - and winning a championship in 2013 as part of two consecutive Super Bowl appearances - the Seattle Seahawks experienced another, but much more sweeping shift away from being one of the league's elite teams in 2017.
A 9-7 record wasn't enough to get them into the playoffs, and certainly wasn't enough to win the NFC West Division. In the end, the Seahawks were on the sidelines when the postseason began, the championship window for the team's core group of players at the time now firmly shut.
The division went to the Los Angeles Rams, with Jared Goff at quarterback, Todd Gurley enjoying a resurgence at running back, and Sean McVay bringing in a completely revamped system as head coach.
At only 32 years of age, McVay is among the favourites at PlayNow.com to earn NFL Coach of the Year honours.
NFL Betting Breakdown:
A sign of the times for Seattle's upcoming season is that the Seahawks have the second worst odds to win the NFC West, at 5.60, with the Rams and rival San Francisco 49ers both listed ahead of them.
The Rams are favoured to win the division with odds of 1.60. The 49ers are behind them with odds of 4.00. It shouldn't be a surprise that the Arizona Cardinals bring up the rear, a long shot to win the division with odds of 13.00.
Not that long ago, lofty expectations were the norm for the Seahawks. Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl.
Things can, and often do, change quickly in football. Their run to the Super Bowl in 2014 against the New England Patriots seems like an eternity ago at this point, and the expectations of that time have given way to much more humbling hopes in 2018.
The Seahawks win total for the year has been set at 8.0 at PlayNow.com, following an offseason of change to the roster and coaching staff. Barring some incredible occurrence along the way, eight wins very, very likely wouldn't get Seattle into the playoffs. Taking the Over on the Seahawks win total comes with odds of 2.25, compared to 1.56 for the Under.
Seattle's defence has undergone significant changes, with Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril and Sheldon Richardson all gone from last year's team, and safety Earl Thomas still not in camp due to a contract dispute with the club. There were changes to the coaching staff, with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, defensive coordinator Kris Richard, and offensive line coach Tom Cable being shown the door and replaced by Brian Schottenheimer, Ken Norton Jr., and Mike Solari.
It is, in a number of respects, a new-look team. A number of core players on defence are gone. Key players on offence - Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson - are also gone. On offence, Doug Baldwin remains the key target in the passing game but is dealing with a knee injury that could hamper his season.
As far as offence goes, it seems the same key questions remain, and it begins and ends with the offensive line. Will the Seahawks have anything resembling a running game in 2018? Will the offensive line do a better job of actually protecting Russell Wilson rather than having the star quarterback try to perform miracles with the football as he's forced to run frantically away from danger?
There was MVP chatter around Wilson last season, as he did almost everything he could to keep the Seahawks contending for a playoff spot. His odds of earning regular season MVP honours this year sit at 26.00 at PlayNow.com, compared to odds of 5.20 for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers - the favourite for this bet - and odds of 7.00 for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
It will likely take nothing short of an MVP calibre effort from Wilson to lead the Seahawks - the underdog Seahawks - back to the playoffs.