On Sunday, Feb.3, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens will battle it out with the NFC’s top team, the San Francisco 49ers, in Super Bowl XLVII. The early money in this game has been pouring in on the Ravens as 3.5-point underdogs, but the play of the game just so happens to be on the total line, which BetOnline currently has set at 47.
All season long I have dug deep into each week’s matchups to come up with golden opportunities to cash in on the total line with winning results. The following is my breakdown and prediction for betting the Super Bowl over and under.
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Super Bowl XLVII - Sunday, Feb.3 (6:30 p.m. EST, CBS)
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
Total Line: 47
Baltimore’s run to this title game has been nothing short of spectacular considering that it came into the playoffs with just one win in its last five regular season games. There is no denying that the return of linebacker Ray Lewis, who has decided to retire after 17 seasons anchoring this defense, has provided the inspiration for this run. However, you also have to give major credit to the sudden big-play capability of Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense.
This unit has been able to effectively use Ray Rice and the running game to set up a couple of crucial long-yardage pass plays to help secure victories over Indianapolis, Denver and New England on its way to this game. Flacco has thrown for 853 yards and eight touchdowns in those three games with Anquan Boldin accounting for 276 yards and three scores. Baltimore finished the regular season ranked 10th in the NFL in scoring with an average of 24.9 points a game, but after pinning just 24 points on the Colts, they racked up 38 against the Broncos and 28 against the Patriots.
The 49ers mirror Baltimore to a certain extent with a run-first mentality on offense and a defense that has made its living by shutting other teams down. The team’s rushing offense was ranked fourth in the league with an average of 155.7 yards a game, while its defense was ranked fourth against both the pass and the run and second in points allowed; in giving up an average of 17.1 points a game.
San Francisco’s two postseason games have taken on a new dimension of the team becoming a scoring machine behind the elevated play of second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In the Divisional Round against Green Bay, he turned into the second coming of Steve Young with 263 yards passing and one touchdown to go along with an NFL-record 181 yards rushing and two more scores on the ground. The result was a 45-31 rout to advance to the conference title game. His heroics in the 49ers 28-24 come-from-behind victory over Atlanta were not as dramatic, but he still made the plays when he had to the most.
What was kind of shocking in both of these games was how easy both the Packers and the Falcons were able to move the ball against San Francisco’s vaunted defense. Both teams may have given Baltimore the perfect blueprint of how to use its weapons on offense to do the exact same thing. Through the two games, the 49ers gave up a total of 829 yards of total offense and 55 points on the scoreboard.
Game Betting Trends
The total line for this game actually opened at 48, and the early money on the under has pushed it down a point. It is safe to assume that the over money will start piling up as we get closer to kickoff. That is what the general betting public tends to do no matter what. However, this time they are right.
Looking at some past betting trends for this matchup, the total has stayed under in four of the Ravens last five games overall, but it has gone over in the 49ers last six games. Both teams have shown the ability to quickly put points on the board this postseason, and that is not going to change in this showdown. I see this as a three-point game either way, but count on the total points scored adding up to more than 47.
Game Prediction: OVER 47
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab