Super Bowl Line 2014: Analyzing Betting Trends for Broncos vs. Seahawks

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31:  The Vince Lombardi Trophy and helmets for the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks are displayed prior to a Super Bowl XLVIII head coach joint press conference at the Rose Theater in Jazz at Lincoln Center on January 31, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Date and Time: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go

Spread: Broncos -2, per Vegas Insider (as of Jan. 31)

Over/Under: 48, per CBS Sports


The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will face off in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 in what has been billed as a clash between offense and defense.

The Broncos, led by all-time great Peyton Manning, boast the best offense in the league but will be tested by the Seahawks’ league-best defense. However, the Super Bowl is always about more than just the action on the field, as food, parties, commercials and even the halftime show dominate the country’s attention for one night.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

There’s also the opportunity for interested parties to have a little bit of fun when it comes to the point spread, which is currently favoring the Broncos by 2.5 points (per Vegas Insider).

With that in mind, let’s dig into a discussion about some of the overall betting trends and statistics of interest for this Super Bowl. 

Note: For an even more in-depth look at the trends and stats when it comes to betting and the Super Bowl, head over to the Vegas Insider Super Bowl previews, which deserve credit for these statistics.


Team Specific

Everyone wants to point to the overall records when discussing the Super Bowl (both teams are an impressive 15-3 including the playoffs), but bettors are much more interested in the marks against the spread.

The Seahawks are 12-6 on the year and the Broncos are 11-6-1, so there isn’t a clear-cut advantage to be gleamed in either direction.

As for the two signal-callers, Manning is 22-12-1 against the spread when directing the Broncos, while Russell Wilson is 25-11 against the spread in his career. Wilson is also 8-1 against the spread as an underdog, which is of particular note to this Super Bowl with Denver favored.

Wilson’s coach, Pete Carroll, has covered the spread in three of his four postseason games away from home since taking over the Seahawks. Seattle also covered the spread in six of the eight road contests it played this season, thanks in large part to its stifling defense.

Jan 30, 2014; Jersey City, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) at a press conference at The Westin in advance of Super Bowl XLVIII. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

That formidable defense is the primary reason why the under has occurred in seven consecutive games featuring the Seahawks, although it wasn't forced to go up against arguably the best single-season offense in the history of the NFL like it will be in the Super Bowl.

Your preference in the over/under category probably depends largely on how you feel philosophically about offense versus defense in general.

If you are feeling confident about Seattle’s chances with the points after those trends, consider that the Seahawks were 7-4 against the spread on turf this year, while Denver was only 1-2. How much stock you want to put into a statistic like that is up to you, but anything that can instill a sense of confidence in bettors is something to hold onto.

Finally, Vegas Insider’s Joe Nelson notes that Seattle’s middling offense of late shouldn’t scare the betting public away too much: 

Seattle's offense struggled down the stretch by most measures, scoring just 22 points per game in the seven games after a Week 12 bye. In six of those seven games, the Seahawks faced a team that finished in top eight in the NFL in total defense. On the season, the Seahawks played eight games against teams that finished in the top six in the league in total defense, while Denver did not play a single one. The Broncos actually only played five games all season against teams that finished in the top 20 in the league in total defense.


General Interest

The primary storyline of this showdown is offense against defense, so it’s worth noting that the team with the better defense has won 39 of the last 47 Super Bowls.

Words of warning though—the teams with the better defense are a mere 1-6 against the spread in the past seven Super Bowls.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31:  Fans participate in the festivities on Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square prior to Super Bowl XLVIII on January 31, 2014 in New York City. Super Bowl XLVIII will be played between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos o
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Seahawks feature the better defense this year, but they have played three straight home games, and teams that get to the Super Bowl after three straight contests in front of friendly fans are 1-7 against the spread since 2000.

However, the good news for Seattle supporters in Vegas is that the NFC has gone 20-10-3 against the spread in the past 32 Super Bowls. Of course, like many of these stats, how the NFC fared 15 years ago against the spread probably won’t help Richard Sherman knock down any of Manning’s passes, but the trends are interesting nonetheless.

On an over/under note (which may be the most interesting bet of the entire Super Bowl considering the clash between the offense of the Broncos and the defense of the Seahawks), each of the last five Super Bowl results have alternated (over, under, over, under, over).

If you are one to believe in trends, get to Vegas now because the under is due.


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