The betting lines are already out for Super Bowl XLVII and it has the San Francisco 49ers as the favorite over the Baltimore Ravens. While deciding on which side of the spread you want to be on is always difficult, the over/under for this game should be a rather easy decision.
First, let's take a look at the current spread and the over/under.
Betting Lines (Courtesy of Vegas Insider)
Point Spread: San Francisco (-4)
Why the Ravens Will Live up to Their End of the Bargain
The Ravens have scored 24 points or more in their first three playoff games of 2013, having scored 24 against the Indianapolis Colts, 38 against the Denver Broncos and 28 against the New England Patriots.
Interestingly enough, Baltimore did the most damage against the Broncos, who by far had the best defense of the Ravens' three playoff opponents this season. In that game, the Ravens compiled nearly 500 yards of total offense, 331 of which were from the arm of quarterback Joe Flacco (though the game took two overtimes).
And speaking of Flacco, Baltimore's signal-caller has been playing some of the best football of his career at just the right time for his squad.
In his previous nine playoff appearances, Flacco threw for a total of eight touchdowns and eight interceptions with two fumbles. In these playoffs alone, Flacco has tossed eight touchdowns without turning the ball over once in three games.
Before this season, Flacco had thrown for 1,532 yards in his playoff career. In 2012 alone, Flacco has thrown for 853 yards during his playoff resurgence.
Granted, his completion percentage could improve, but Flacco has been able to make the most important throws at the most crucial times. There's no question that the Ravens' offense has stepped it up a notch as Flacco's game has risen to another level.
All of this and I've yet to even mention that the Ravens' running back, Ray Rice, is one of the best in the NFL today and is yet another facet of Baltimore's offense that San Francisco must plan for.
Baltimore's passing attack is getting hot at the right time and Flacco has been the catalyst, getting the ball to the many deep threats he has in his receiving corps. Their ability to move the ball through the air will no doubt help the Ravens' offense get into the end zone multiple times.
Why the 49ers Will Live up to Their End of the Bargain
Upon putting Colin Kaepernick behind center in place of Alex Smith, the 49ers added what has turned out to be a crucial aspect of their offensive attack. That is, Kaepernick's incredible athleticism.
Long gone are the days when the 49ers would have to worry about the penetration of opposing defenses. Now, Kaepernick affords San Fran the luxury of evading even the most vicious pass rush.
We saw last week just how successful the Ravens' defense was in stopping Tom Brady and company during the AFC Championship Game. It was mostly a result of a solid pass rush that put pressure on the Hall of Famer.
However, Baltimore won't enjoy that same success this week because even if it is successful in breaking through what is a great 49er offensive line, the Ravens still have to actually catch up to Kaepernick to bring him down.
The young quarterback has shown a great ability to feel the pressure coming and pull the ball down for positive yardage. His incredible speed also creates the possibility for not only a positive gain, but also for big plays that can change the course of an entire game.
Kaepernick has already broken the single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback after smoking the Packers' defense for 181 yards on the ground in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, including his longest run of 56 yards.
And don't forget, Kaepernick also threw for 263 yards in that game, as well as 233 yards against the Falcons last week, all the while completing over 76 percent of his passes in the biggest game of his life.
That type of dual-threat approach from the San Fran quarterback is something Baltimore has not seen in these playoffs.
Adding to that, Frank Gore will be lining up behind Kaepernick in this game and he is easily one of the best in the NFL at his position. Overshadowed in all of Kaepernick's success, Gore has rushed for 209 yards and three scores in the playoffs this season.
There is no concrete way to stop the 49ers' offensive attack because of all the different ways they can move the ball down the field. That level of unpredictability will make stopping San Francisco a nightmare scenario for Baltimore's defense.
Both the Ravens and 49ers are playing at a high level on the offensive end and that will likely continue in the Super Bowl.
The over will be the best bet in this one, as breaking the 47.5 mark won't exactly take an offensive explosion by either team. These squads have already proven they have what it takes to score a combined total of 48 points or more in a game.
Prediction: 49ers 27, Ravens 24
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