Betting on the Super Bowl requires a fan to embrace one of two schools of thought.
The first, which would see a fan bet the Baltimore Ravens, states that the Ravens are a championship-caliber franchise that stumbled due to injuries after a 9-2 start.
The second, which would see a fan bet on the 49ers, states that the San Francisco 49ers have the superior depth and talent, have a far more dangerous QB in Colin Kaepernick and that the aging Ravens defense won't be able to contain him like they did pocket-passing dinosaurs Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Those believers will happily take the 49ers at -4 and collect their winnings at the end of the game.
In the early Super Bowl XLVII betting, many online sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com opened San Francisco as a 5-point favorite for this Harbaugh Bowl (to be played at the Superdome in New Orleans Sunday, Feb. 3, 6:30 pm ET, CBS).
But many of those Raven believers have bet the number down to -3.5, said Kevin Bradley of Bovada, who said in an interview Thursday that he was surprised by the 55 per cent of betting action on the underdog.
Others predicted the line is not finished moving.
"Based on what we have heard around the industry, we expect Super Bowl betting over the next 10-12 days will push the spread closer to three points," said Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com.
Baltimore went off this season at 7/1 on most AFC Championship betting boards, and as a 15/1 long shot to win the Super Bowl. The Ravens then started 9-2, taking a firm hold of the AFC North.
But Baltimore proceeded to lose four of its last five regular-season games, stumbling into the postseason as the No. 4 in the AFC.
Thanks to their spotty finish, the Ravens faced an uphill battle, with potential road games at Denver, Houston and/or New England on the horizon.
But inspired by LB Ray Lewis' impending retirement, Baltimore dispatched Indianapolis in the Wild-Card round. The team then went to Mile High and, with help from a minor miracle, beat the Broncos 38-35 in double overtime, winning as nine-point underdogs.
The Ravens then went to Foxboro for an AFC Championship Game rematch and turned the tables on the Patriots, winning the second half 21-0 on their way to a 28-13 upset victory as eight-point dogs.
The win gave Baltimore its first Super Bowl berth since beating the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV 12 years ago.
On the other side of this sibling-rivalry matchup, San Francisco started off this season getting around 5/1 to win the NFC and 10/1 to win the Super Bowl. The Niners then opened with a win at Lambeau Field, got to 6-2-1, then had to make a change at quarterback, replacing the then-injured Alex Smith with second-year pro Colin Kaepernick.
San Francisco then finished 5-2, winning the NFC West and earning the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
The victory gave San Francisco its first spot in the Super Bowl since the Niners of Steve Young and Jerry Rice romped to victory over San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX 18 long years ago.
These teams met for the first Harbaugh Bowl back on Thanksgiving of last season in Baltimore with the Ravens coming away with a tough 16-6 victory.
Free Super Bowl XLVII Pick: The Niners are the favorites, but Baltimore seems to be the team of destiny for this season. Underdogs are 8-3 ATS in the past 11 Super Bowls, but we don't see the Ravens coping with Kaepernick. We play the 49ers at -4. (courtesy of PickShark.com)