Super Bowl Rushing Props Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 1/28/2014
The Super Bowl is, increasingly, all about one thing these days — prop bets. Some of the more interesting — and potentially lucrative — props concern the running games of the two teams. Here’s a look at some of the highlights on both sides (All odds are from Sportsbook.ag):
The Broncos have a solid run defense — Top 10 both in yards allowed and yards per carry. They have been particularly strong in the playoffs, allowing 65 yards against the Chargers and 64 to the Patriots. That means that the Seahawks, who certainly will need to establish the run in order to win the game, will have a reasonably big challenge ahead of them.
Marshawn Lynch: Seattle’s lead running back has been very strong in these playoffs. He gained 109 yards against a better San Francisco defense than Denver has and 140 against the Saints and their underwhelming run defense. He has averaged five yards per carry in both games, so he is in good form. On the season he averaged 19.5 carries per game for 84 yards, and he has averaged more than 24 carries per game in his last three.
There are, predictably, several props covering Lynch. The total for rushing yards is set at 94.5. Both the “over” and the “under” are priced at -115, so the market has not determined a preference yet. The number seems fair, but given the significance of the running game and given the likely conditions, the over seems like the right side. The total sits at 21.5, with the over solidly favored at -130 (compared to even money for the under). The over would be the right play, but not at that price. When it comes to whether he will score in the game, “yes” is heavily favored at -170. That number is about right based on the season. Lynch scored in 11 of 18 games, so at that rate he would fall just short of break even at -170. He has scored in five of his last six games, though, so based on his most recent form there could be some value in the yes side despite the price.
Robert Turbin: The second-string running back hasn’t been much of an option lately. From the beginning of November to the middle of December he was used regularly and had at least 34 yards in three of six games. In the last four games, though, he has a total of just 28 yards on 12 carries. He’s not a prime option right now, so the low total of 11.5 rushing yards seems about right. If anything, I would lean towards the under, but at -115 on both sides I don’t see a lot of value.
Total number of Seahawks to have a rushing attempt?: The total is set at four here, and that means that the under is attractive at -135. Against the Niners, only Lynch, Wilson and Turbin had a carry. Against the Saints there was one carry by Percy Harvin along with the other three. It seems unlikely that they will go over four, and four wouldn’t be a bad outcome.
Despite having an exceptional overall defense, the Seahawks are not dominant against the run. In fact, in terms of yards per game and yards per attempt they are exactly tied with the Broncos. Denver was only 15th in the league in total yards and 17th in yards per attempt, though, so they don’t have a dominant running game by any means.
Peyton Manning rushing attempts: The total here is set at 1.5, with the under very heavily favored at -185. So, is there any value in the over at +150? Maybe. On one hand, he has rushed two or more times in nine of 18 games this year. That would make the over quite attractive at this price. He only has two carries in his last five games and just one in each of the two playoff games. The over still has some value but not tons of it.
Knowshon Moreno: Moreno averaged 65.5 yards per game this year. That was skewed somewhat by his 224 yard outburst against the Patriots — his only outing of more than 93 yards on the season. He scored in eight of his 18 games though just three times in his last 11 games. In the playoffs he rushed for 59 yards against the Patriots and 82 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers.
The total for rushing yards for Moreno is set at 59.5, with the price at -115 on both sides. It’s hard to find a lot of value there, though given the chance for cold — especially as the game progresses — I would lean towards the over slightly.
There is actually some value to be found when it comes to whether he will score a touchdown. It doesn’t specify just rushing touchdowns, so you have to consider not just the eight games he scored a touchdown on the ground but also the three separate games he caught a touchdown pass in. That means he scored in 11 of 18 games, including two of his last three. Given that the “yes” side pays +125, it is attractive.
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