The Seattle Seahawks have ridden the top-ranked defense in the league to their second NFC championship.
Now they've got a chance to make Pete Carroll the third head coach to win both a college national championship and a Super Bowl.
Here are the top five reasons Seattle will win Super Bowl XLVIII and cover the small 2.5-point spread currently posted at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
Sherman and Co.
The self-proclaimed best cornerback in the league and his buddies on the Seattle stop unit rank as the best defense in the league this season.
If anybody has a chance of slowing the Broncos' fast-break offense, it's Seattle’s physical, confident defense. On a related matter…
The Defense Beats Offense Theory
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other time the No. 1 offense went against the No. 1 defense in the Super Bowl came a decade ago, when Tampa's top-ranked D stifled Oakland's top-ranked O in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The Bucs won that game 48-21, with help from three interceptions returned for touchdowns. The prop on whether Seattle will score a defensive or special teams TD is currently a +225 underdog wager, according to Odds Shark.
Trends Say So
First, the NFC has won four of the last six Super Bowls and is 5-1 ATS at the betting window.
Second, underdogs have won four of the last six Super Bowls and are 5-1 ATS at the betting window.
Third, the last three times a quarterback playing in his first Super Bowl went against a quarterback who had been there before, the first-timer has come out on top.
Fourth, the top-scoring team in the league has made the Super Bowl 18 times before, going 10-8.
The best defense in the league, as far as points allowed goes, has made the Super Bowl 15 times, going 12-3. Seattle gave up the fewest points in the league this season, while Denver scored the most.
And fifth, Seattle really doesn't like being called an underdog. In 21 games in this role since 2011, Seattle bettors have turned a monster 17-3-1 ATS profit.
Wilson is small, inexperienced and at times ineffective. He's also 27-9 as an NFL starter.
He's got a nice, quick delivery, he's nifty on his feet, and he's “quarterback smart” well beyond his years. Wilson can make the third-down throws, he can stretch a defense with accurate deep tosses, and he can scramble for first downs.
And although young, he doesn't come across as one who would let the moment get to him, even against a motivated league MVP in Manning. Oddsmakers seem to recognize this, making him the second wagering choice on the Super Bowl MVP odds menu.
No team has played with more energy/passion/intensity—yes, verve—this season than Seattle. The Seahawks went through this season in a manner reminiscent of several Super Bowl champions of the past, namely the Giants of the Parcells era.
They didn't really blow teams out; rather, they ground 'em down and beat 'em up. The Seahawks don't dazzle; instead, they drill and drum. As in heads.
And they seem to enjoy doing it.