Bettors on the prowl for favorable odds need to look no further than Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.
While it's a seemingly unpredictable matchup on paper between two teams with polar opposite specialties—not to mention the possibility that foul weather will play a factor—oddsmakers have made sure there are some favorable odds out there for those with a watchful eye.
Grantland's RJ Bell explains the Super Bowl's betting accessibility best:
Upward of 90 percent of Super Bowl action in Las Vegas comes from recreational bettors (i.e., not professionals). The Super Bowl is the only American sporting event in which the odds are set with the average bettor as the primary consideration. For many, Sunday’s game will be their only sports bet this year.
As most of the nation will do, kick back and enjoy the game. More importantly, make some cash via savvy bets in the process.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Betting Lines (via Bovada)
- Over/Under: 47
- Spread: Denver (-3)
While the spread may be aimed at casual fans who are familiar with Peyton Manning, Bell presents some compelling statistics in Denver's favor.
The big game is the 30th straight time the Broncos have been favored. So far, Manning's Broncos are 20-9 against the spread in that span.
But there are other reasons to back the Broncos by more than a field goal.
While the Seahawks will attempt to counter Peyton Manning through the air with their No. 1 pass defense, they have not exactly been hot through the air with quarterback Russell Wilson as of late, as ESPN Stats & Info points out:
Russell Wilson is averaging 159 pass yds per game this postseason, 4th fewest by a QB entering the SB in last 20 years (H/T @EliasSports)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2014
An inability to score consistently in a duel with Manning is a recipe for disaster. Denver will simply score too much for an inadequate Seattle offense to match.
Should one choose to get risky and roll with the Seahawks, Lynch is the only player who truly makes sense when it comes to MVP, as his odds are 15-4.
He sounds more than ready for the big game, via Darin Pike of NFLXS:
But the real money here is predictably on Manning and his 11-10 odds. Manning could have an iffy game in a victory but still likely get the award, especially because it makes for a strong narrative should he hang up the cleats after the game.
Which is a strong possibility, per Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman: "I don't believe it for a second, and I can tell you few people around the NFL believe it. Almost everyone thinks Manning is gone if he wins and plays well in the victory. In fact, many believe Manning is gone, win or lose."
The folks who hand out the award have surely seen this sort of talk and understand what the award would mean for perhaps the greatest signal-caller of all time.
The other smart play if bettors are on the hunt for an underdog is receiver Demaryius Thomas (25-1), who will be the focal point of the Denver offense thanks to his ability to generate large amounts of yardage after the catch—which will be handy in potentially stormy weather.
Best of the Rest
There is plenty of money to be had thanks to strange bets with quick outcomes.
For example, one could bet on whether Denver running back Knowshon Moreno cries during the national anthem. Based on past occurrences, the "yes" option seems like the smart move here.
One could also bet on whether Denver receiver Wes Welker will drop a pass. The "yes" line looks outstanding for reasons that should not require an explanation.
Perhaps the crown jewel is the line that asks whether Seattle corner Richard Sherman will be hit with a taunting penalty. Bettors must understand that the star corner has a reputation, so even when he is not actually talking trash, he is liable to receive a flag.
For those who cannot wait until the end of the game for a nice payout, the above prop bets and countless others are smart ways to scratch the itch quickly.
Note: All betting info courtesy of Bovada.lv.