Early Line, Odds, Prop Bets and Betting Advice for Super Bowl XLVIII

Eric Mack@@EricMackFantasyFantasy Football Lead WriterJanuary 23, 2014

No matter how good Richard Sherman says he is, he's still a Super Bowl MVP long shot at 16-1, per Bovada.lv.
No matter how good Richard Sherman says he is, he's still a Super Bowl MVP long shot at 16-1, per Bovada.lv.Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

If you like to take action on the Super Bowl, you likely already know this: The point spread rarely comes into play. Just bet the house—please, don't—and pick a winner.

We take a look at the early line, odds and prop bets to help you cash some Las Vegas tickets Sunday, Feb. 2 as the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks match up in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

As Vegas Insider points out, in only six of 47 past Super Bowls has the favorite won the game but failed to cover the point spread: 2009, 2005, 2004, 1996, 1989 and 1976. Only twice have the oddsmakers been on the money, resulting in a push or a tie: 2000 and 1997.

Super Bowl favorites are 33-14 straight up and 26-17-2 against the spread. The over/under is a dead even 23-23 (VI didn't have a total available from Super Bowl I).

The good news for Seattle Seahawks backers, perhaps, is the underdog has cashed in five of the past six and nine of the past 12 Super Bowls, including the past two. Denver is an early 3-point favorite and Seattle is getting +120 on the money line, according to numerous sources, including BetEagle.com and Bovada.lv.

Had you placed a future bet on the Super Bowl winner a few weeks ago, though, you would have gotten the AFC as a 2.5-point underdog. Now that we know the matchup, most of the early money has gone on the Broncos, as Kevin Bradley, sports book manager of Bovada.lv, explains:

It was the perfect storm for the book on Sunday, as we had the right side of both games and took off the table any Super Bowl future book exposure that could have been damaging. While money over the last few weeks moved to an early Super Bowl line of NFC -2.5, Denver's strong performance against New England combined with the Hawks grind-'em-out style of football puts Denver at -3, and currently two thirds of the early money is on them to cover.

Here is the complete Super Bowl betting history, according to Vegas Insider:

Super Bowl Betting History
XLVIII2013Denver -3 (47)TBDTBD
XLVII2013 San Francisco -4.5 (48) Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31 Underdog-Over
XLVI2012 New England -2.5 (53) N.Y. Giants 21, New England 17 Underdog-Under
XLV2011 Green Bay -3 (45) Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25 Favorite-Over
XLIV2010 Indianapolis -5 (57) New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17 Underdog-Under
XLIII2009 Pittsburgh -7 (46) Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23 Underdog-Over
XLII2008 New England -12 (55) N.Y. Giants 17, New England 14 Underdog-Under
XLI2007 Indianapolis -7 (47) Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17 Favorite-Under
XL2006 Pittsburgh -4 (47) Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10 Favorite-Under
XXIX2005 New England -7 (46.5) New England 24, Philadelphia 21 Underdog-Under
XXXVIII2004 New England -7 (37.5) New England 32, Carolina 29 Underdog-Over
XXXVII2003 Oakland -4 (44) Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21 Underdog-Over
XXXVI2002 St. Louis -14 (53) New England 20, St. Louis 17 Underdog-Under
XXXV2001 Baltimore -3 (33) Baltimore 34, N.Y. Giants 7 Favorite-Over
XXXIV2000 St. Louis -7 (45) St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16 Push-Under
XXXIII1999 Denver -7.5 (52.5) Denver 34, Atlanta 19 Favorite-Over
XXXII1998 Green Bay -11 (49) Denver 31, Green Bay 24 Underdog-Over
XXXI1997 Green Bay -14 (49) Green Bay 35, New England 21 Push-Over
XXX1996 Dallas -13.5 (51) Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17 Underdog-Under
XXIX1995 San Francisco -18.5 San Francisco 49, San Diego 26 Favorite-Over
XXVIII1994 Dallas -10.5 (50.5) Dallas 30, Buffalo 13 Favorite-Under
XXVII1993 Dallas -6.5 (44.5) Dallas 52, Buffalo 17 Favorite-Over
XXVI1992 Washington -7 (49) Washington 37, Buffalo 24 Favorite-Over
XXV1991 Buffalo -7 (40.5) N.Y. Giants 20, Buffalo 19 Underdog-Under
XXIV1990 San Francisco -12 (48) San Francisco 55, Denver 10 Favorite-Over
XXIII1989 San Francisco -7 (48) San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16 Underdog-Under
XXII1988 Denver -3 (47) Washington 42, Denver 10 Underdog-Over
XXI1987 N.Y. Giants -9.5 (40) N.Y. Giants 39, Denver 20 Favorite-Over
XX1986 Chicago -10 (37.5) Chicago 46, New England 10 Favorite-Over
XIX1985 San Francisco -3.5 San Francisco 38, Miami 16 Favortie-Over
XVIII1984 Washington -3 (48) L.A. Raiders 38, Washington 9 Favorite-Under
XVII1983 Miami -3 (36.5) Washington 27, Miami 17 Underdog-Over
XVI1982 San Francisco -1 (48) San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21 Favorite-Under
XV1981 Philadelphia -3 (37.5) Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10 Underdog-Under
XIV1980 Pittsburgh -10.5 (36) Pittsburgh 31, L.A. Rams 19 Favorite-Over
XIII1979 Pittsburgh -3.5 (37) Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31 Favortie-Over
XII1978 Dallas -6 (39) Dallas 27, Denver 10 Favorite-Under
XI1977 Oakland -4 (38) Oakland 34, Minnesota 14 Favorite-Over
X1976 Pittsburgh -7 (36) Pittsburgh 21 Dallas 17 Underdog-Over
IX1975 Pittsburgh -3 (33) Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6 Favorite-Under
VIII1974 Miami -6.5 (33) Miami 24, Minnesota 7 Favorite-Under
VII1973 Miami -1 (33) Miami 14, Washington 7 Favorite-Under
VI1972 Dallas -6 (34) Dallas 24, Miami 3 Favorite-Under
V1971 Baltimore -2.5 (36) Baltimore 16, Dallas 13 Favorite-Under
IV1970 Minnesota -12 (39) Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7 Underdog-Under
III1969 Baltimore -18 (40) N.Y. Jets 16, Baltimore 7 Underdog-Under
II1968 Green Bay -13.5 (43) Green Bay 33, Oakland 14 Favorite-Over
I1967 Green Bay -14 (N/A) Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10 Favorite
Vegas Insider


2013 Trends

If you're looking more recent betting data than Super Bowl history, here it is courtesy of Vegas Insider:

It is not uncommon to see good teams with solid numbers against the spread (ATS), particularly if you win the less sexier way...with defense like the Seahawks do. Denver is 11-6-1 ATS, while the Seahawks are slightly better at 12-6. On the total, the Broncos have gone over 11 of 18 times, while the Seahawks have been under more often (12 of 18).

The Seahawks have particularly good numbers ATS versus teams with winning records, going 13-4 in his past 17, as Vegas Insider reports.

Here are the Broncos' betting results this season:

2013 Denver Broncos Betting Trends
1Baltimore Ravens  -7.548Won  49 - 27  Win  /  Over  
2@ New York Giants  -3.554Won  41 - 23  Win  /  Over  
3Oakland Raiders  -16.548Won  37 - 21  Loss  /  Over  
4Philadelphia Eagles  -10.558Won  52 - 20  Win  /  Over  
5@ Dallas Cowboys  -7.557Won  51 - 48  Loss  /  Over  
6Jacksonville Jaguars  -2753Won  35 - 19  Loss  /  Over  
7@ Indianapolis Colts  -6.556Lost  33 - 39  Loss  /  Over  
8Washington Redskins  -1158Won  45 - 21  Win  /  Over  
9@ San Diego Chargers  -757Won  28 - 20  Win  /  Under  
10Kansas City Chiefs  -7.549Won  27 - 17  Win  /  Under  
11@ New England Patriots  -154Lost  31 - 34  Loss  /  Over  
12@ Kansas City Chiefs  -550Won  35 - 28  Win  /  Over  
13Tennessee Titans  -12.550Won  51 - 28  Win  /  Over  
14San Diego Chargers  -1058Lost  20 - 27  Loss  /  Under  
15@ Houston Texans  -1054Won  37 - 13  Win  /  Under  
16@ Oakland Raiders  -1054Won  34 - 14  Win  /  Under  
17San Diego Chargers  -855Won  24 - 17  Loss  /  Under  
18New England Patriots  -557Won  26 - 16  Win  /  Under  
Vegas Insider


Here are the Seahawks betting results this season: 

2013 Seattle Seahawks Betting Trends
1@ Carolina Panthers  -344Won  12 - 7  Win  /  Under  
2San Francisco 49ers  -344Won  29 - 3  Win  /  Under  
3Jacksonville Jaguars  -19.539Won  45 - 17  Win  /  Over  
4@ Houston Texans  -1.541Won  23 - 20  Win  /  Over  
5@ Indianapolis Colts  -344Lost  28 - 34  Loss  /  Over  
6Tennessee Titans  -12.542Won  20 - 13  Loss  /  Under  
7@ Arizona Cardinals  -5.541Won  34 - 22  Win  /  Over  
8@ St. Louis Rams  -1443Won  14 - 9  Loss  /  Under  
9Tampa Bay Buccaneers  -16.540Won  27 - 24  Loss  /  Over  
10@ Atlanta Falcons  -3.547Won  33 - 10  Win  /  Under  
11Minnesota Vikings  -1345Won  41 - 20  Win  /  Over  
12New Orleans Saints  -6.548Won  34 - 7  Win  /  Under  
13@ San Francisco 49ers  2.541Lost  17 - 19  Win  /  Under  
14@ New York Giants  -943Won  23 - 0  Win  /  Under  
15Arizona Cardinals  -9.543Lost  10 - 17  Loss  /  Under  
16St. Louis Rams  -1341Won  27 - 9  Win  /  Under  
17New Orleans Saints  -944Won  23 - 15  Loss  /  Under  
18San Francisco 49ers  -3.540Won  23 - 17  Win  /  Under  
Vegas Insider


Total Domination

Recent Super Bowl history has the total as a 50-50 proposition, just as much as the 23-23 record overall. The over and under have alternated winners each of the past six years. If you are looking for that trend to continue, you need to side with the under.

Not only that, but both the Broncos and Seahawks have played under in their four playoff games. In fact, Seattle's games have gone under in each of the past seven—Denver in each of the past four.

Also, a Super Bowl in New Jersey at the start of February figures to leave some rare inclement weather. The under tends to be a popular bet in those conditions.

Jay Rood, the sports book director of the MGM Mirage, told Bloomberg's Erik Matuszewski:

Mostly people like to bet unders. I could see this year more of them saying, 'We're going to bet the under, and if the weather is bad, maybe it will work to our benefit. If it's not, we'll work with it.


Prop Bets Weather Delay

Perhaps the best part of betting on the Super Bowl are the prop bets. You can bet on the coin toss to the final game MVP—and everything in between. Prop bets make up almost 60 percent of the action at some Las Vegas sports books, Bloomberg's Matuszewski reports.

The rare outdoor, wintry-weather Super Bowl delayed Las Vegas from releasing a lot of the prop bets, Rood told Matuszewski on Monday.

Everything, except for the basic stuff, is going to (sic) pushed back a day or two so we can get a much more clearer picture of what the weather is going to be like. If we get a forecast that says there's absolutely no chance that the weather is going to be that impactful, as far as snow or whatever, we might accelerate that. But probably not.

If you wanted some early advice, Pro Football Talk produced this early, brief video on some of their prop picks.

And, if you want to bet on the weather, Las Vegas will have that, too.

Courtesy of Bovada.lv: Will it snow? Yes is getting +300, while No is -500. The over/under on the temperature at kickoff is 34 degrees, while the over/under on the in-game low is 31 (both in Fahrenheit).


MVP Prop

NFL games usually come down to the quarterbacks, so it is no surprise Bovada's early odds on the Most Valuable Player favor Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson.

Here are the early odds on Super Bowl XLVIII MVP, according to sports publicist Jimmy Shapiro:

Peyton Manning (DEN) QB8/5
Russell Wilson (SEA) QB13/4
Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB6/1
Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR16/1
Wes Welker (DEN) WR16/1
Richard Sherman (SEA) DB16/1
Percy Harvin (SEA) WR16/1
Knowshon Moreno (DEN) RB18/1
Eric Decker (DEN) WR20/1
Julius Thomas (DEN) TE25/1
Golden Tate (SEA) WR33/1
Earl Thomas (SEA)3/1
Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR40/1
Montee Ball (DEN) RB50/1
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DEN) DB50/1
Kam Chancellor (SEA) DB66/1
Danny Trevathan (DEN) LB66/1
Champ Bailey (DEN) DB66/1
Zach Miller (SEA) TE75/1
Matt Prater (DEN) K100/1
Steven Hauschka (SEA) K100/1
Duke Ihenacho (DEN) DB100/1
Michael Bennett (SEA) DE100/1
Field (Any Other Player)20/1
Zach Miller (SEA) TE75/1
Matt Prater (DEN) K100/1
Steven Hauschka (SEA) K100/1
Duke Ihenacho (DEN) DB100/1
Michael Bennett (SEA) DE100/1
Field (Any Other Player)20/1


Some Wacky Props

Shapiro says Bovada.lv will have a list of close to 500 props. In fact, if you want to bet on something, Shapiro might even have Bovada get it for you if it doesn't already exist!

Here is a sample of the prop-bet minutiae:


How long will it take Renee Fleming to sing the US National Anthem?

Over 2 minutes 30 seconds EVEN (1/1)
Under 2 minutes 30 seconds -140 (5/7)

Will Renee Fleming forget or omit at least one word of the official US National Anthem?

Yes +250 (5/2)
No -400 (1/4)

Will Renee Fleming wear gloves when she starts singing the US National Anthem?

Yes -200 (1/2)
No +150 (3/2)

If Renee Fleming wears gloves when she starts singing the US National Anthem what color will they be?

White 5/4
Black 3/2
Red 4/1
Any Other Color 3/1

Will Knowshon Moreno cry during the singing of the National Anthem?

Yes +400 (4/1)
No -700 (1/7)

How many times will Peyton Manning say "Omaha" during the game?

Over/Under 27½

How many times will Archie Manning be shown on TV during the game?

Over/Under 2½

How many times will Eli Manning be shown on TV during the game?

Over/Under 3½

What will be said more during the game?

Reference to Denver Broncos No. 1 or Best Offense -110
Reference to Seattle Seahawks No. 1 or Best Defense -110

Which coach will be mentioned first by name after kickoff?

Pete Carroll -110
John Fox -110

Who will be seen first on TV after kickoff?

Erin Andrews -140 (5/7)
Pam Oliver EVEN (1/1)

Will Michael Crabtree mention Richard Sherman in a tweet during the Super Bowl from kickoff until final whistle?

Yes +150 (3/2)
No -200 (1/2)

How many times will "12th man" be said during the game?
Over/Under 2½

How many times will "Beast Mode" be said during the game?
Over/Under 2

Will the announcers say the word "Marijuana" during the game?
Yes +550 (11/2)
No -900 (1/9)

Will the announcers refer to Russell Wilson being drafted in the MLB?
Yes +150 (3/2)
No -200 (1/2)


Other Normal Early Props

Sportsbook.ag has the following props listed as of Thursday morning, Jan. 23:

Coin Toss

Heads -105

Tails -105


Team to Win the Coin Toss

Seahawks -105

Broncos -105


Score in the First Six Minutes

Yes +105

No -135


Team to Score First

Seahawks +105

Broncos -125


First Score of the Game Will Be

Touchdown -160

Any Other +130


Longest Touchdown

Over 44.5 (-115)

Under 44.5 (+115)


First Quarter

Seahawks +.5 (-140) / +110 ML

Broncos -.5 (+120) / -130 ML

Over 9.5 (-120)

Under 9.5 (even)


First Half

Seahawks +1.5 (-110) / +115 ML

Broncos -1.5 (-110) / -135 ML

Over 23.5 (-110)

Under 23.5 (-110)


Weather the Storm

Weather effects tend to be overrated and might just make the line more reasonable, particularly for those that dismiss Manning's history in poor weather conditions. It is real early to try to forecast the East Rutherford, N.J., conditions, but Accuweather lists Feb. 2 to be high of 40, low of 25, possible snow showers and only a slight breeze in the single digits (mph).

Sloppier conditions would figure to favor Seattle and its defense, although defenders slipping in the snow can make Manning's quartet of receivers, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, real tough to stay with.


Early Advice

The betting public isn't always right—Las Vegas casinos have booming business for a reason—but going with Manning's Super Bowl experience over the brash, trash talking of Richard Sherman and the Seahawks is my play if you're laying some early action. Parlay Denver (-3) with the over (47) and Manning as game MVP.


Prop Picks

  • Heads
  • Seahawks win toss
  • No score in the first six minutes
  • Seahawks score first
  • First score will not be a touchdown
  • No touchdown over 44.5 yards



Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.


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