Super Bowl Line 2014: Analyzing Why the Under Is the Safest Bet

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIFebruary 1, 2014

Jan 11, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) receives the hand off from quarterback Russell Wilson (3) against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Super Bowl XLVIII is just around the corner, the official game line is finally reflecting what can be expected at kickoff. The biggest storyline revolving around the game is the top-ranked offense of the Denver Broncos against the top-ranked defense of the Seattle Seahawks.

Past Super Bowl trends indicate that defense will prevail here. That's not to say Denver will not come out victorious—after all, it should be a tremendously close game—however, it does allude to the fact that taking the under will be the way to go when placing your bets on the big game.

Current game lines are as follows, courtesy of

Super Bowl Betting Lines
TeamPoint SpreadMoneylineTotal Score
Seahawks+3+11548 (-110)o
Broncos-3-13548 (-110)u

With the line so close, looking to the total score is the way to go here. At 48, odds are that the Super Bowl will conclude with a lesser total.

Why is this?

The Broncos finished the regular season averaging an incredible 37.9 points per game. However, when high-octane offensive teams like Denver have reached the Super Bowl in the past, they have not been able to recreate the same success:

High-Scoring Offensive Teams' Super Bowl Results
YearTeamReg. Season Avg. PointsSB Points ScoredResult

Only the 1999 Rams were able to come away victorious. They were also the only team to score at least 20 points in the game.

Aside from the Broncos' daunting task of overcoming those odds, they must also face Seattle's No. 1 defense.

During the 2013-14 regular season, Seattle only allowed an average of 14.4 points per game. That number does not bode well for a scoring frenzy for the Broncos.

It will not be easy for the Seahawks to put points on the board either. They have been able to score 23 points in each postseason contest this year; however, they were able to get most of their offensive production from running back Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch will have a tough go at it during the Super Bowl against the Broncos, as Denver continues to be stout in the trenches. So far during the playoffs, the Broncos have produced the league's stingiest run defense:

Denver Broncos' Postseason Run Defense
San Diego18653.60
New England16644.01

If the Broncos are able to contain Lynch in this same fashion, Seattle will have to rely on second-year quarterback Russell Wilson to produce some offense. Wilson is a very talented quarterback; however, he is still young and inexperienced—he would be under immense pressure if Seattle's offense became one-dimensional.

With the Broncos attempting to overcome unfavorable Super Bowl trends against the league's best defense, and the Seahawks trying to create offense from other outlets, the possibility of this game ending with a total score of less than 48 seems like a safe bet.