While Super Bowl XLVIII is certain to be a thrilling battle between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, some people need a little extra to keep them interested in the game.
Whenever you have a big event in sports, the gamblers will follow in an effort to make money in every way possible. Fortunately, fans have an opportunity to make an extra buck or two with some quality prop bets.
There are certainly some crazy wagers that are not recommended, including the coin toss or what color Gatorade will be thrown on the winning coach. This leaves you with nothing better than random chance.
However, there are a few more safe selections heading into Sunday. Here is everything you need to know for the Super Bowl along with some smart prop bets to make.
Note: All betting info courtesy of Bovada.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Mobile: NFL Mobile app
Spread: Denver (-3)
Marshawn Lynch Total Rushing Attempts: Over 21.5
The best way to beat Peyton Manning is to keep him off the field. The quarterback led the Broncos to the highest scoring total in NFL history this season, but he cannot throw any touchdown passes from the bench.
Seattle certainly watched film this week of Denver's most recent loss in Week 15 against the San Diego Chargers. In that game, the Chargers ran the ball 44 times for 177 yards while keeping possession for 38 minutes and 49 seconds.
The Seahawks would love to utilize this strategy and give the ball to its best offensive player in Marshawn Lynch. In six career playoff games, the running back has topped 100 rushing yards in four games and he has scored a touchdown in five of them.
Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan discussed the challenges of going against Lynch with John McClain of the Houston Chronicle:
He refuses to go down. You don’t find many running backs that don’t try to avoid contact.
He’s one of those guys that keeps his feet moving. As a linebacker, I like the challenge. I’m not one to talk a lot, but I enjoy watching his running style. It’s going to be an honor to play (against) him.
After the running back totaled 249 yards on 50 carries with three touchdowns in his last two games, the Seahawks are going to give him the ball as often as possible against the Broncos.
Percy Harvin Total Receptions: Under 4
The Seahawks gave up a first-round pick in a trade for Percy Harvin, but injuries limited him to only one catch during the regular season. He caught three balls early in the divisional round against the New Orleans Saints but was once again knocked out of the game with an injury.
However, he appears set to play in the Super Bowl and willing to make an impact. As ESPN Stats and Information notes, this is not out of the realm of possibility:
Percy Harvin says he'll play in SB (1 rec in reg season). Elias: 4 players caught 2+ passes in SB after having 1 or fewer rec in reg season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 29, 2014
That being said, Harvin has not caught four passes in a game since Oct. 25, 2012. He has a hard time staying on the field, and he will likely be rusty even if he plays.
Additionally, the Seahawks are unlikely to throw the ball too often, which will limit his touches anyway. Considering you can get better odds for the under bet in this wager, you should grab it without a second thought.
Peyton Manning Total Interceptions: Over 0.5
This is not based on the narrative that Peyton Manning cannot win in the playoffs or in the cold. Even against a great defense, he is likely to put up big numbers as he has done all year.
However, the fact remains that he has thrown at least one interception in 12 of his last 17 playoff games, including both Super Bowl appearances. Picks are not the problem, it is how he responds to his turnovers that determines his success.
Of course, it is not just about Manning making mistakes. He is also facing a defense that is really good at turning the ball over, leading the NFL with 28 interceptions this year. Cornerback Richard Sherman has been especially impressive with his ability to get the ball:
Most NFL interceptions 1st 3 seasons, since 1970: 1981-83 Everson Walls - 22 2002-04 Ed Reed - 21 2011-13 @RSherman_25 - 20— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 30, 2014
Additionally, Earl Thomas can cover a lot of ground in a hurry, and he can jump on one of Manning's self-described "ducks."
This bet does not imply that he will have a poor game, but the odds of him throwing an interception are relatively high.
Wes Welker Total Receptions: Over 5.5
Richard Sherman is likely to spend most of his day defending either Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker on the outside. Meanwhile, Kam Chancellor is one of the few players capable of slowing down the athletic Julius Thomas at tight end.
This leaves slot receiver Wes Welker as the best option for Manning to move the ball down the field. He will be able to get around the linebackers covering him and make plays about 10 yards at a time.
There are certainly some who doubt the receiver's ability to make plays, especially in the clutch, like Pro Football Focus' Pete Damilatis:
Can we all agree to not be shocked if Welker drops on a pass Sunday? Since 2011 (incl. playoffs), he leads the NFL with 48 drops— Pete Damilatis (@PFF_Pete) January 31, 2014
Of course, it is also important to note that Welker was targeted an incredible 518 times in that stretch, including the postseason. While he might get drops, he also gets a whole lot of catches.
This will continue against the Seahawks as he puts up a big day of work in the Super Bowl.
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