In addition to being a celebration of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, Super Bowl week in 2014 is a huge opportunity for gambling enthusiasts to bet on a multitude of topics. These topics range from your basic game line to whether or not the Red Hot Chili Peppers will go shirtless.
For the sake of this column, we'll be sticking to the actual game. For those interested in checking out all the crazy prop bets available, Bovada.com is a great place to start.
The two teams represent the very best of their respective conferences, coming into Super Bowl XLVIII as top seeds and with records of 15-3 (including playoffs). Denver is led by Peyton Manning, who commands the NFL's top-ranked offense, while Seattle brings the league's top-rated scoring defense to the battle.
Here's a quick look at when and where you can catch the game, followed by an examination of the latest odds for some key bets.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: FoxSports.com
Updated Betting Info (via Bovada)
Spread: Broncos (-3)
Moneyline: Seattle (6-5), Denver (5-7)
Since both teams won their conference championship games, Denver has carried a slight edge in terms of the spread, which has held steady at three points in favor of the Broncos to win the game.
Likely a key contributing factor in this equation is the fact that there isn't a single player on Seattle's roster with any Super Bowl experience. Denver, on the other hand, has head coach John Fox, Manning, and Wes Welker to lean on for guidance through this tumultuous process.
Seattle hasn't wavered once through the postseason thus far, playing both games at home, but Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman wonders if Denver has an advantage because of its leadership:
I don't know if this will make a difference, but I do think it matters that the Broncos have a coach who has coached in the Super Bowl (John Fox, with Carolina in 2003) and a QB who has participated in two of them.
On the other hand, some wonder if Seattle's legendary "Legion of Boom" defensive secondary will be the Kryptonite to Manning's record-breaking offensive attack.
The Seahawks allowed just 172 passing yards and one passing touchdown per game during the regular season, holding teams to 14.4 points per contest. Seattle also racked up 44 sacks and 28 interceptions, and neither Drew Brees nor Colin Kaepernick could make much real headway against this team.
This game is likely going to be extremely close, which is reflected in the measly three-point spread. While it's not out of the question for these two teams to score 47 points in the game, my money's on the under.
Predicted Final Score: Seahawks 23, Denver 21
To nobody's surprise, Manning leads all players with gaudy 11-10 odds.
Richard Sherman will be doing his utmost to shut Manning down, but he recently praised the quarterback's command and intelligence in one of his MMQB columns on SI.com:
The thing that sets him apart is that he’ll change it to a run play if you don’t have enough players in the box, and they’ll get five or six yards because you’re not ready for it. Nobody else has both the authority to do that within their offense and the understanding to know when it’s appropriate.
Who will win the MVP?
If Denver wins the game, then it's almost a given Manning will win the MVP trophy. His ability to run the offense is the biggest reason the Broncos have made it to this point, and that's not going to change during the Super Bowl.
It is a bit odd that Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson are both being given equal odds (15-4). Lynch has been carrying Seattle's offense throughout the playoffs, rushing for 249 yards and three touchdowns, while Wilson has seen his fair share of struggles.
Sherman is an intriguing choice at 20-1 odds. Given the way he's stepped up and played his best ball during crunch time through the playoffs, nobody should be surprised if he ends up taking an interception to the house for a pick-six.
Predicted MVP: Marshawn Lynch
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