The San Francisco 49ers are favored at every sportsbook on the planet, yet this is a team that, before last season, hadn't made the playoffs in a decade and hasn't played in the Super Bowl in almost two decades.
Why do the people who create the Super Bowl betting lines unanimously agree that the 49ers deserve favorite status against the Baltimore Ravens?
The game is played on the field, not in a computer program, but simulations, prediction formulas and other predictive models have pointed to the 49ers. In particular, OddsShark.com's NFL computer predicts a 30-25 win, while the 50,000-game simulator at PredictionMachine.com called a 28-21 win.
In both cases, it's enough to cover the Super Bowl spread of 3.5 points while also making them Super Bowl champs.
Colin Kaepernick wasn't even a starter until Week 11 and many have seized on the inexperience angle in handicapping the Super Bowl spread. But the Falcons and Packers entered the playoffs with better Super Bowl odds than the 49ers and he beat them both.
"Because he's big and mobile and Baltimore won't be able to spy on him if they also hope to stop the 49er passing game and stop Frank Gore bashing up the middle," said OddsShark.com analyst Jack Randall, who was asked that question late Friday.
Say what you will about the Ravens' team-of-destiny angle, the stats bear out the fact that San Francisco has the better talent on both sides of the ball.
The Niners ranked 11th in the league this season in total offense, averaging 362 YPG, fourth in rushing at 156 YPG, third in defense (allowing just 294 YPG), and fourth against the run, holding foes to 94 YPG on the ground.
The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, ranked 16th in total offense this year at 353 YPG, 11th in rushing at 119 YPG, 17th in defense, allowing 351 YPG, and 20th against the run, giving up 123 YPG on the ground.
The Ravens can claim their defense and ground game have picked up in recent weeks, and that's true, but San Francisco has been doing it all season long.
NFC Point Spread Trend
In the last five Super Bowls, NFC teams are 5-0 ATS, winning four of them. Some people think this game will be a blowout, and we agree with them.
Since making the change at quarterback from the competent Alex Smith to the double-threat Colin Kaepernick, the Niners offense has exploded. With Smith, San Francisco went 6-2-1, scoring at least 27 points four times; with Kaepernick, the Niners are 7-2 and have scored at least 27 points seven times.
Now Kaeprnick is the favorite to win the Super Bowl MVP award and with good reason.
San Francisco can also win this Super Bowl because the Niners are 7-1 vs. AFC teams. This year San Fran went 4-0 vs. AFC foes, sweeping four games from the AFC East by an average score of 37-13.
Super Bowl Prediction
We play on the 49ers at -3.5 and also take the OVER 47.5. (courtesy of PickShark.com)