Before the postseason began, the San Francisco 49ers would have been more than a 3.5-point favorite over the Baltimore Ravens.
After an emotional and spirited postseason run, the Ravens have closed the gap, and Las Vegas has taken notice.
Per FootballLocks.com, the Niners are favored by a little more than a field goal in Super Bowl XLVII. I would agree, as I fully expect the final margin of victory to be seven points or less.
What will the final margin of victory be?
This makes taking either team a risky proposition.
In the seven games the Niners played against playoff teams in the regular season and postseason, they broke even in terms of points scored and points against.
They were 5-2 in those games, but their largest margin of victory was the 14-point win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC divisional playoff round. They were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks by 29 points in Week 16 to balance the numbers.
Essentially, the Niners generally play close games against good teams. Since I believe the Niners will win, I'm paying close attention to this trend.
The Ravens are a mixed bag in this regard. The team has seemingly gone through so many transformations from Week 1 to now. It is very difficult to predict their performance.
The defense that shut the New England Patriots out in the second half and only allowed 13 points all game has a chance to beat anyone. Yet, they will be facing an offense that brings dynamics that they've yet to face this season.
The Ravens suddenly showed the ability to stop the run against the Patriots, but are they ready for the Niners' read-option looks?
Sure, they faced and lost to the Washington Redskins in overtime in Week 14. But Colin Kaepernick and the Niners have even more weapons than Robert Griffin III and the Skins.
Niners tight end Vernon Davis and change-of-pace running back LaMichael James could prove to be deadly. Even though I'm taking the 49ers, the Ravens running game and pride will prevent a blowout.
For all the offense that has taken over football in the last few years, and all the scoring these teams have shown recently, I expect this to be a close game played in the low 20s.
The Niners will win Super Bowl XLVII 23-19.