For hardcore bettors and casual fans alike, there is no day quite like the Super Bowl.
The amount of prop bets that Vegas has made available is unbelievable. Whether you want to bet on the number of completions for Peyton Manning, the amount of receiving yards for Jermaine Kearse, the amount of shirts worn by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or the amount of times "marijuana" is said on the air, you can do it.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. According to an in-depth look at Vegas' approach to Super Bowl betting by The New York Times' Matthew Orr and Joe Drape, "there will be roughly 400 proposition bets":
For now, though, we're going to focus on the ol' classics: the spread and the over/under.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread: Denver (-2.5), via Vegas Insider
Over/Under: 47, via Vegas Insider
Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) vs. Denver Broncos
According to The Linemakers at SportingNews.com, the Seahawks actually opened as small favorites in Vegas, but early action poured in for Denver, slightly shifting the line back in the other direction.
Chris Bennett of Kornegay and Sherman at the LVH explained why that's important:
I firmly believe if the line had opened Broncos -2½, it would be Seattle -1 everywhere right now.— Chris Bennett (@BetChris) January 20, 2014
We'll never know whether or not that's actually true, but there's one key takeaway here: there's no real favorite.
Yes, the Broncos are technically the "favorite" in terms of spread, but these are the two best teams in the league that seemingly match up like puzzle pieces. The best offense vs. the best defense, and on the less-publicized side of things, a solid offense vs. an underrated defense.
What are your picks for Super Bowl XLVIII?
Per VegasInsider.com's Super Bowl history, the 2.5-point line is tied with Super Bowl XLVI (New York Giants vs. New England Patriots in 2012) for the smallest spread in the last 31 years. As you'll remember, that one came down to the game's final possession.
Simply put, there is very little separating these teams. No matter what the numbers may say, there's no favorite and no underdog. And in what will be an evenly matched contest, I'll take the points.
The fact that the underdog has covered—per the above Vegas Insider link—five of the last six and nine of the last 12 Super Bowls doesn't exactly hurt, either.
In 18 contests this season, Broncos games have hit over 47 points 14 times. They have gone under that mark three times and hit 47 exactly on one occasion.
On the other side of things, Seahawks games have gone under 13 times.
So, if you're going by those numbers, it would seem like a bit of a toss-up. However, there are a few things to consider.
First, recent trends. The Broncos have gone under 47 during both playoff wins, while the Seahawks haven't hit over 47 since Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Second, the Seahawks have the weapons—most notably, Marshawn Lynch—to slow down the game. The wrecking ball of a running back has tallied 249 rushing yards in two playoff games, and even against a Broncos run defense that has played extremely well as of late, he proved against the San Francisco 49ers he can carve out yardage against the most elite units.
In 3 seasons under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have allowed a 100-yard rusher in only six games. Marshawn Lynch has 4 of those games.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 20, 2014
And the more successful Lynch is on the ground, the more time Peyton Manning spends on the sideline.
The Seahawks offense has struggled to find consistency as of late, but the running game has yet to falter, and that will be key in keeping this a low-scoring game.