It is finally here. Super Bowl XLVIII will be played tonight between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. The two teams were preseason favorites in their conferences. The two have not disappointed their fans as they both ended the regular season 13-3. The futures had both teams in the top 3 most of this season.
The early money on the Super Bowl went to Denver, which was a slight underdog when betting opened two weeks ago, but flipped to a 2.5-point favorite within hours of the line being released. As of late Saturday, the Broncos remained a favorite by 2.5 points.
Most sports books, including topbet and Bovada, are long on Denver money, but have also seen action on Seattle at +2.5.
The point total opened at 47 and stayed that way for much of the two weeks, but moved up to 48 last this week, as the weather forecast became less of a factor. The latest weather report shows possible rain early but not during game time.
Seattle is 15-3 SU and 12-5 ATS this season. Offensively they are more prone to run than to pass. Their biggest running threat is Marshawn Lynch, but quarterback Russell Wilson can break a defense’s heart with long scrambles down the field.
Wilson also has a great arm and will only run if all his options are exhausted on the play. He also will stand in the pocket and take a hit before releasing the football, which gives his receivers an opportunity to get open.
The Denver defense hopes to pressure Wilson. The offensive line for Seattle is not its strong point. The Broncos must be disciplined when they rush Wilson and not allow lanes to open or Wilson will run past them faster than they are rushing at him.
No team in the NFL passed for more yardage than did Denver during the regular season. The Broncos enter this game 15-3 SU and 11-7 ATS. However, no team in the NFL gave up fewer yards against the pass than did Seattle.
The pass rush for Seattle is ferocious and the secondary for the Seahawks can change games. Denver on the other hand has not given up a quarterback sack in the postseason and own one of the league’s best corps of receivers.
Everything will focus on Peyton Manning when he is on the field. He now has over 6,000 yards between the regular season and postseason.
Some sharp money on betonline and sportsbook.com has waited until late to take Seattle believing a tough Seattle pass rush will rattle Manning and force him into making mistakes.
The other thought is if the pass rush does not slow down Manning, can the secondary stop them? With Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, the Seahawks will have a good chance.
Prediction: One of Seattle’s biggest strengths, its home crowd, will not have the factor they do at CenturyLink Field. The offense for Denver is too strong for any club to shutdown. I like Denver 28-17.