The conference championship games are done, and the stage is officially set for Super Bowl XLVIII. With that Denver Broncos set to take on the Seattle Seahawks, the odds and predictions are already starting to come in.
Peyton Manning was able to win his 15th meeting against Tom Brady, with the Broncos winning 26-16 over the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson was able to lead the Seattle Seahawks in a thrilling game against the San Francisco 49ers, winning 23-17 thanks to a late interception from Malcolm Smith with the help of Richard Sherman.
Now that we know which two teams will be playing in the Super Bowl, let's take a look at the latest odds for the game, followed by a prediction for which team will take home the Lombardi Trophy.
According to Steve Merril from ProSportsInfo.com, the betting line in most locations continues to rise, but is still somewhere around minus-2 or minus-2.5 favoring the Broncos.
Mike Wilkening from Pro Football Talk reported that the betting line opened with the Seahawks as narrow favorites, but the line moved to slight favorites to win the Super Bowl shortly after. Wilkening also says that there have only been four Super Bowls in which there was a team favored by less than a field goal.
The Bovada betting line currently favors the Broncos as a 1.5-point favorite, which is closer than some of the betting lines are currently at, with others favoring Denver by more. Meanwhile, Sportsbook.com has the Broncos as 3-point favorites.
The general consensus right now appears to be that the Broncos are slight favorites. This likely has a lot to do with how well Manning and the rest of the offense played, as they tore up the record book. They would likely be bigger favorites, but the Seahawks have had the best defense in the league, which will be looking to shut down the Broncos.
I don't need to tell you that this is probably going to be a close one.
The Broncos had the league's best offense this season, averaging 457.3 yards and 37.9 points per game. At the same time, the Seahawks had the league's best defense, allowing 273.6 yards and 14.4 points per contest. Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas and the Legion of Boom will be taking on Knowshon Moreno, Peyton Manning and a number of great wide receivers.
For as much as this matchup will be hyped up, it might actually be the other side of the ball that decides this one. The Seahawks like to depend on a strong ground game, as they averaged 136.8 yards per game rushing. However, the Broncos have stepped up when stopping the run lately, allowing just 64 rushing yards against the Patriots.
If players like Terrance Knighton and Robert Ayers can stop the run, then they will likely be able to contain Russell Wilson, and I think that will be the deciding factor in what is going to be a very close game.
Manning will win his second Super Bowl, and he will go down as the greatest quarterback ever to play.
Prediction: Broncos 28, Seahawks 27