This is the happ-happ-happiest time of the year for bettors.
If you want to bet on who will take home MVP at Super Bowl XLVIII, you can do that. If you want to bet on the coin toss, have at it. Should you have a good feeling about the time of Renee Fleming's national anthem performance, you can bet on that.
If you are truly addicted to gambling and want to bet on how many times Peyton Manning says "Omaha," how many times the announcers say "marijuana" or whether or not the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be shirtless, you can do that too.
I'd have to put in some extensive research, but I'm pretty sure there's even somewhere you can bet on which team wins the game, if that strikes your fancy.
For now, we're just going to concentrate on some of the most attractive in-game props.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread: Denver (-3) via Bovada
*All odds courtesy of Bovada
Russell Wilson Interceptions: Under 0.5
Wilson hasn't thrown an interception in over a month—since Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals—and I don't expect that trend to come to an end anytime soon.
Part of the second-year quarterback's ability to protect the rock is the Seahawks' conservative offense. They certainly aren't afraid to take shots down the field, but those tend to be calculated risks sandwiched in between lots of runs and more intermediate throws.
The other part is Wilson's ability to avoid pressure in the backfield to either extend the play until a wide receiver gets open or to throw the ball away. You'll hardly ever see him force a ball into coverage.
And as Super Bowl MVP quarterback Troy Aikman pointed out, courtesy of Fox Sports, the lights won't be too bright for Wilson, either:
Moreover, with Percy Harvin expected to play, there's going to be more screens and shorter throws of that nature, further decreasing the chances of a Wilson pick.
With the "under" set at 6-5, it becomes an increasingly compelling pick.
Demaryius Thomas Receiving Yards: Under 75.5
Thomas has gone over 75.5 in 12 of Denver's 18 games this season, and in one other, he hit 75 right on the dot. But he's also never matched up against a defense like Seattle's.
Where Thomas truly excels is with the ball in his hands. If Manning gets him the ball in any kind of space, the fourth-year receiver is a threat to take it to the house every time. Unfortunately for him, the Seahawks—led by missile safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor—present some unbelievable closing speed. As ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, they allowed the least amount of yards after the catch during the season:
Combine that speed with Seattle's physicality on defense, and Thomas will be bottled up.
That being said, Peyton Manning has the luxury to look in other directions when one part of the game plan isn't working. With Thomas slowed down, don't be surprised if Eric Decker and Wes Welker (both 57.5) hit the over.
Marshawn Lynch Total Rushing Attempts: Over 21.5
Upon first seeing this number, I thought it was too low. However, much to my surprise, there were just five games this season in which Marshawn Lynch carried the ball more than 21.5 times, and he hit exactly 21 on three other occasions.
That being said, three of the five "overs" have come in Seattle's last three games. Lynch has always been the team's workhorse, but as the games get more important, it is beginning to lean on him more and more.
Of course, him elevating his game during the postseason, as noted by NFL on ESPN, makes handing the ball off a little bit easier:
Denver is a sneaky-good team against the run, but with Seattle looking to keep Peyton Manning on the sideline for as long as possible, it's going to be a run-heavy game plan.
Player to Score First TD of the Game: Knowshon Moreno (9/1)
These are always my favorite. They are a complete crapshoot, but if you go with one of the underdogs, there's a chance for a really solid payout.
Low risk, high reward.
In this instance, I'm going with Knowshon Moreno.
The Seahawks have given up just two touchdowns from outside the 10-yard line in their last seven games, so there's a good chance any of Denver's scores will come from in close.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily equate to a rushing touchdown like it would with so many other teams, as Manning has thrown plenty of touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line. In fact, he's tossed four of that nature in the playoffs alone.
That still doesn't really narrow things down any better, as those four scores went to three different receivers (two for Demaryius Thomas, one for Jacob Tamme and Wes Welker).
When it doubt, though, go with the guy who can hurt teams in either facet of the game. Playoffs and regular season combined, Moreno has 11 rushing touchdowns and three receiving scores.
Getting more favorable odds than all of Denver's other skill-position starters doesn't hurt, either.
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