The Super Bowl has become the most heavily-wagered-on single-day sporting event in the world over the first 47 years of its existence, and Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium next Sunday, Feb. 2, will be no exception. The Denver Broncos have been listed by BetOnline as 2.5-point favorites over the Seattle Seahawks, but the number I want to focus on is the current “over/under” line of 47.
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I have been making over/under picks for Doc’s all season long with a success rate of just over 55 percent, but I am saving my best for last on the NFL’s biggest stage. The unique aspect of this particular matchup is that the league’s top offense will be squaring off against the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL, so something is going to have to give in this one.
Super Bowl XLVIII Overview
Everyone knows what a prolific passer Peyton Manning has been over the course of his storied NFL career, but he managed to raise the bar even higher this season with a record 5,477 yards passing while completing 68.3 percent of his 659 attempts. He added 630 yards more yards in two playoff games, and overall he has thrown for 59 touchdowns against 11 interceptions over the course of 18 games. The Broncos come into this showdown with the No. 1 offense in the NFL in passing yards (340.2), total yards (457.3) and points per game (37.9).
Denver’s defense struggled against the pass during the regular season, but it came up big last Sunday in the AFC title game by holding Tom Brady to just one touchdown pass. The key in this game will be its ability to stop the Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle running game. The Broncos were ranked eighth in this category, allowing an average of 101.6 yards a game.
As good as Denver’s offense was at scoring points, the Seahawks’ defense was ranked first in the NFL in points allowed in giving up an average of just 14.4 points a game. This unit was also ranked first in passing yards allowed (172.0) and total yards allowed (273.6). The last time Seattle allowed 20 or more points was in a 41-20 victory over Minnesota in Week 11 of the regular season.
Against Drew Brees and New Orleans in the divisional round of the playoffs, Seattle gave up 409 yards of total offense, including 309 yards through the air. The Seahawks regained their form in the NFC Championship Game by holding San Francisco to 147 yards passing, but they gave up 161 yards on the ground. The bottom line is that while the yards did pile up, neither team scored more than 17 points against this Seahawks’ defense, which is the only number that really matters.
Super Bowl XLVIII Betting Trends
The total line for this game opened at 47, and through the first few days of betting action it has held steady at that number. Much has been made about the weather in East Rutherford, NJ., in early February, but long-range forecasts are calling for temperatures in the mid 30s with a slight chance of snow showers, so it may not be as big a factor as expected. Despite Denver’s ability to put points on the board, the total has stayed under in its last five outings as it scored an average of 28.2 points a game. The total has stayed under in Seattle’s last seven games, and over the course of this stretch the Seahawks averaged 23.7 points.
Super Bowl XLVIII Over and Under Prediction
Denver is still going to find the end zone in this game, but do not expect it to light things up. Look for a hard-fought battle that could easily come down to three points either way, but the final score will not add up to more than 47 points.
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