After two weeks of analysis, speculation and consideration of variables, I feel I've finally come up with the right answer for the bet on the 2014 Super Bowl.
Yes. One of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will appear shirtless during the halftime performance.
As for the winner of the game, I've had that one figured out for a while. Take the Broncos and give up the points.
I'll discuss those two plays and another after I present the vitals:
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
All odds via Bovada.
Spread: Broncos -3
You may be able to find the Broncos at minus-2.5. Obviously, that is preferable to a full three. Either way, I'm confident in Peyton Manning and his record-setting offense beating the league-leading pass defense of the Seahawks.
I'm sure you've heard the saying that "a good offense beats a good defense" and/or that "defense wins championships." I'm not saying those no longer hold truth; I'm saying we shouldn't follow it blindly. Matchups have to be considered, and in this case, the Seahawks defense is not particularly well suited to handle the Broncos. There is no reason to think otherwise.
I'm sure many will scoff at that notion, but it's true. Take a look at the Seahawks' opponents from this past season and their pass ranking.
|Seahawks Opponents' Pass Ranking|
|Week||Away Team||Home Team||Opp. Pass Rank|
|1||Seahawks 12||Panthers 7||28|
|2||49ers 3||Seahawks 29||30|
|3||Jaguars 17||Seahawks 45||23|
|4||Seahawks 23||Texans 20||16|
|5||Seahawks 28||Colts 34||14|
|6||Titans 13||Seahawks 20||21|
|7||Seahawks 34||Cardinals 22||13|
|8||Seahawks 12||Rams 9||27|
|9||Buccaneers 24||Seahawks 27||32|
|10||Seahawks 33||Falcons 10||5|
|11||Vikings 20||Seahawks 41||24|
|13||Saints 7||Seahawks 34||2|
|14||Seahawks 17||49ers 19||30|
|15||Seahawks 23||Giants 0||19|
|16||Cardinals 17||Seahawks 10||13|
|17||Rams 9||Seahawks 27||27|
There is not a lot comparable to the Broncos on that list. Sure, the Saints boast of the league's second-ranked passing attack. Both of those games came in Seattle, however, and the Saints weren't the same team on the road. On top of that, the Broncos had two wide receivers go well over 1,000 yards for the season, whereas the Saints rely on tight end Jimmy Graham.
So, keep that in mind and tell me which passing offenses are most comparable to that of the Broncos?
Throw out the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals due to their terrible offensive lines.
What's that leave us with? I believe only the games against the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons. Those are three capable passing offenses that are driven by pocket passers who like to throw to their wide receivers.
The top targets in those games had an easy time of things. Against the Falcons, Roddy White was in his first game back from injury and wasn't a factor. Also Julio Jones didn't play. So, we are left with Harry Douglas as the top target of that game.
So, in those games, Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Douglas combined to catch 27 passes on 35 targets. What is Peyton Manning going to do to that defense?
Obviously, there are more matchups to this game than the Broncos' passing offense against the Seahawks' passing defense. If Manning is free to work his magic, however, and he will be with the aid of Denver's offensive line that led the league in sack percentage, the Broncos will cover the spread easily.
Broncos win, 31-20.
Will one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during their performance?
Play: Yes at -200
After Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, the Super Bowl has guarded against something similar happening. Well, that was until the Red Hot Chili Peppers were added to the halftime lineup.
This is a band that has famously avoided clothing to the point that they performed once on national TV with each member wearing nothing but a strategically placed sock.
So, I'm guessing the Super Bowl wanted some kind of assurance from the band that they'll be wearing a little more than a sock, but I find it hard to believe that RHCP, mostly Flea, would be willing to guarantee they will appear fully clothed.
We are talking about rock stars who have always appeared to have been true to themselves. Why would they sell out to the Super Bowl at this point of their careers?
There is also the concern that Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Chad Smith, the three most consistent members of this band and now firmly in the over-50 club, will keep their aging bodies under wraps. Also, it is not exactly going to be shirtless weather in New York for this performance.
Still, isn't that just more motivation for these guys (again, mostly Flea) to show that they just don't give a...darn about things like that, and isn't that attitude essential to the music they love and have become so wonderful at playing?
Although Flea is certainly interested in growing as a person, it doesn't mean he will wear a shirt or change his nudist spirit while doing so.
Give me the small odds on the yes. It is easy money.
How many times will Eli Manning be shown on TV during the game?
Play: Under at +200
If you haven't played one of these bets at the Super Bowl before, the over would be an understandable initial reaction. After all, Eli is the younger brother of Peyton, and the Super Bowl is being played in the stadium that Eli calls home with the New York Giants.
Still, the actual Super Bowl broadcast does a wonderful job of sticking to the game.
Case in point, when was the last time Eli was in the Super Bowl? As you may recall, that came in the 2012 Super Bowl, which happened to be in Peyton's home stadium, at the time, in Indianapolis.
However, it wasn't going to be his home stadium for long. Peyton had just missed the season with neck surgery, and the Colts were about to ditch him and draft Andrew Luck. It was a huge storyline.
Still, as my memory serves, and according to Stock Lemon Blog, Peyton wasn't shown a single time.
This year, even if the Fox broadcast wants to show Eli, I'm skeptical it will be able to find him. The Mannings have been consistent in their quest not to steal the spotlight of a family member, and I expect nothing different on Sunday.