There is still plenty of time left before kickoff at Super Bowl XLVIII in New York and the odds are sure to change by the minute, but early lines for the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks showdown favor the AFC.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos are getting just a little bit more admiration from Las Vegas linesmakers as Vegas Insider has Denver as a 2.5-point favorite in what should be a frigid environment in MetLife Stadium.
Let's take a look at all of the odds and betting information, and how the Seahawks-Broncos matchup breaks down from all angles.
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread: Broncos -2.5, per Vegas Insider
Over/Under: 47, per Vegas Insider
There are plenty of cases to be made for each team as the Super Bowl favorite. But the reasoning behind the current spread revolves around one person.
Manning's historic 2013 regular season ended with him as the single-season leader in passing yards and touchdowns—conceivably the two most important statistics in factoring effective quarterbacks.
Complemented by his advantageous running game and emerging defense, Manning and Denver have plenty to boast as the AFC champions who somewhat easily tore through a playoff landscape that many thought was too daunting for Manning.
However, it's not hard to see why the Broncos only hold a small advantage in the spread. The Seahawks are the real deal and match up against Denver quite well in terms of personnel.
Seattle's secondary ranked atop the NFL during the season, giving up just 172 passing yards per game. Richard Sherman leads a defensive backs corps that doesn't allow anything easy through the air and has made plenty of plays in these playoffs to help Seattle reach New York.
Russell Wilson's playmaking ability in the pocket and Marshawn Lynch running with spirit allows the Seahawks to pound the ball offensively. But that could present problems for Seattle against Denver, who shut down bruising Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount in the AFC title game.
Percy Harvin returning for Seattle for the Super Bowl could be a huge boost for the offense, which has been somewhat thin at receiver without its star wideout. And with Pete Carroll saying Harvin will do anything he can to play Super Bowl Sunday per NFL.com, Seahawks fans should be able to count on seeing him at least sparingly in the contest.
The matchup between Manning and the scary Seattle defense will be dramatized endlessly, but this game will end up coming down to whoever takes care of the ball best and takes advantage of scoring chances. It's too close to call between these two teams, as both are incredibly talented on both sides of the ball and match up well against one another in certain aspects.
For that reason, it's easiest to go with the quarterback who is most likely to avoid making the catastrophic play. Manning has had plenty of those in his career and knows just how it feels to be on the biggest stage. Wilson, though he'll get there, is still getting used to it.
Prediction: Broncos 31, Seahawks 27