The Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. In a matchup of two No. 1 seeds, the game pits the Broncos' No. 1 offense versus the Seahawks' No. 1 defense.
With some of the most beloved veteran players like Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey facing off against emerging superstars like Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas III, the final game of the season couldn't be any more difficult to predict.
Though the prop bets will surely get interesting closer to kickoff, the only odds released thus far are for the final, halftime score and coin flip. But the task of simply picking who should be favored and by how much was difficult for some oddsmakers, as Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point sports book points out to Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press:
Take your best shot. It's an intriguing matchup with no clear cut favorite. [...] It's incredible already, they're lined up betting this game like it started a half hour from now. If we don't do $100 million on this game I'd be really puzzled.
With the game being in New York and the early forecast for below normal temperatures that favors a defensive team. It also favors a running team and that's certainly an advantage to the Seahawks.
After odds for everything from the length of the national anthem to bets on how many times Harbaugh would be said during the broadcast, according to Will Brinson of CBS Sports, the prop bets are sure to be intriguing this season with the game being played at MetLife Stadium.
Here are the initial spreads and prop bet odds for Super Bowl XLVIII.
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
*Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider and Bovada.
|Coin Flip||Heads (50), Tails (50)|
|Halftime Score||Broncos (-0.5)|
|Final Score||Broncos (-2.5)|
Breakdown of Early Odds
Like 50-50 odds to make a little (or a lot of) extra money at the start of the Super Bowl? Then the coin flip is the way to go. Whether you live by the betting phrase of "tails never fails" or "heads beats the spreads," neither one is a bad way to go.
Predicting this old standby is never a perfect science, but winning the toss can give bettors a nice little chunk of change before the game ever kicks off. I personally lean more towards calling tails in this one, but some hard head out there is going to drop a pretty penny on heads.
Here's what we know: Both defenses are playing their best heading into the Super Bowl, with the Seahawks coming in as the most dominant defense in the NFL this season. As for the Broncos, they have reduced their yards per game from 356 yards per game in the regular season to 289.5 throughout the playoffs.
But after the season that Manning put together and the Beast Mode aspect that Marshawn Lynch brings to the game, either one could go off to turn this into an offensive Super Bowl.
With Demaryius Thomas averaging 104.4 yards a game with four total touchdowns in his five postseason games, Manning's favorite target alone could break open the game.
My initial prediction for the game was the Broncos winning by a final score of 31-23, so I would take the over of 48 points. But with two defenses that have proved they can shut down great offenses in the playoffs through two games, it could easily be a game with neither team breaking 20 points.
The first-half odds released show that there truly is no confidence for oddsmakers early on. With a half-point spread favoring the Broncos, picking whichever team bettors think will lead is the best way to go—especially since it's impossible to score half of a point in football.
To gain a little perspective about the overall odds for the halftime score, looking at the last four games the two teams have played in should help.
In their last four games, the Broncos have not trailed in the first half and have gone into the locker room with a lead, outscoring their playoff opponents by a total of 27-3 in the first half.
As for the Seahawks, they have trailed or been tied after the first half in two out of the last four games, including the NFC Championship Game in which they trailed 10-3.
With a point spread that shows the two teams could finish the first half even closer than the end of the game, picking the halftime score is much more of a toss-up.
This really comes down to which team will enforce their will. Will it be Denver's offense or Seattle's defense stealing the headlines in the Super Bowl? Whichever team wins this matchup could likely decide who will ultimately cover the spread.
With the two teams appearing to be evenly matched, RJ Bell of Pregame.com explains how difficult the decision was to pick the spread:
Sportsbook.ag says over 90% of early betting on #Broncos - driving the move to Denver -3 over Seattle— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) January 20, 2014
If Manning can get the passing game going against the likes of Thomas and Richard Sherman, the final point spread will likely look like an awful prediction with Wilson and Lynch trying to keep up. After scoring 37.9 points per game to lead the league during the regular season, Manning has the receivers to spread the ball around against even the best secondary in the NFL.
But with the Seahawks having the best defense in football this season, ESPN Stats & Info points out that history could be on their side:
This is 16th time that the defense that allowed fewest pts in NFL has made the Super Bowl since the merger. The previous 15 teams went 12-3— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 20, 2014
Regardless of who bettors ultimately decide to choose, there doesn't appear to be a clear-cut favorite heading into the final game of the season.
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