Closing the Door on the Seahawks’ Title and Peyton …

Quinn
Quinn

Seattle's Dan Quinn master-minded one of the great defenses in Super Bowl History

If ever there were an ominous tone set in the biggest game on the planet then that is exactly what the first offensive play of Super Bowl XLVIII was. When you look back at the snap snafu that immediately gave Seattle a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish, the more you realize that Denver was in for a long night.

How many hundreds of times before had Peyton Manning walked the line calling audibles and fake audibles this season? There is no way it was crowd noise because it just simply a mistake and a costly one at that. It was essentially the first trickle of water that ultimately became a powerful waterfall. Before Denver and Manning could recover it was 43-8 and the title was Seattle’s.

While much of the focus has been on what Manning and Denver couldn’t do, the real story was what the Seattle defense could do and did do. For one of the first times in NFL history, a defensive unit really was built from the secondary forward rather than the other way around. The Seattle front office recognized what was happening in the game today in terms of big, fast receivers and they matched the trend.

The Seahawks went out and got big cornerbacks like Richard Sherman and even bigger, more physical safeties like Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. While their size and ability to match up with the Denver receivers was crucial, their closing speed and solid tackling is what really spelled doom for the Broncos. Obviously a secondary needs a good front seven and the Seahawks have one.

The linebackers are fast and athletic and the down linemen are quick but have good size that creates significant problems for offensive linemen. Because the Seahawks shut down 2013′s most prolific offense, they will earn high praise and all of the attention they deserve. Where they rank historically is anyone’s guess but I think the bigger piece is that they may have changed how defenses are built in the years coming.

Manning

Manning's loss solidifies his role as a great 'regular season' quarterback.

Manning’s Legacy Did Take a Hit

Peyton Manning will more than likely go down as one of the top five quarterbacks of all time and probably the greatest regular season quarterback of all-time as well. The problem as I see it is that Manning’s playoff and Super Bowl failures will standout much greater than anything he accomplished in the regular season.

Sunday’s loss puts Manning’s playoff record at 11-12. His Super Bowl record is 1-2 and he has eight ‘one and done’ playoff appearances as well. Many will cite his one Super Bowl victory but the Colts offense could only muster two touchdowns and took advantages of three Rex Grossman turnovers. Experts will often refuse to say what I’m writing because Manning is a ‘good guy’ and ‘ultimate professional.’

The fact remains that Peyton Manning has struggled in huge games and that’s something that dates back to his college days. It doesn’t make Manning less of a great player or great person but it is what it is. Manning has been outstanding to watch during his long career and the fact that he could come back from such serious health issues is a credit to his work ethic and dedication.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of quarterbacks I’d rather have under center for me with the game on the line or in a big game period. This doesn’t diminish what Manning has accomplished as one of the great NFL quarterbacks but we measure quarterbacks by titles and this is one of few areas where Manning comes up short.

LinkedInFacebookBlipShare

Bookmakers Win Big in Super Bowl XLVIII Rout

casino-12

Bookmakers cashed in big on Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night with some expecting records for both the handle and the profit. One odds maker called it the busiest Super Bowl ever.

Indications from the different sports books such as Bovada, topbet, sportsbook.com and betonline are that the Super Bowl should be a record handle for them and it should be a huge profit for them as well.

The improbable Seattle Seahawks blowout of 43-8 over Denver sent huge shock waves through the gaming industry Sunday night helping the books to a huge win.

Many bookmakers in Vegas said the handle was 20% higher than last year’s Super Bowl and their holds on handles of between $90 million and $100 million were between 17% and 20%.

Despite the hype and talk of the best defense and the best offense bringing about a classic Super Bowl, the 48th Super Bowl was similar to the Super Bowls of the 1980s that were so one-sided including Denver being on the losing end of three of them.

This year, the public played most of its money on Denver, which was helped by the books not moving the line to Broncos -3. A few shops in Vegas did move their line to -3 but quickly shut that door after sharp money ran to the window for their bets.

Not only was it good for many books on the big win by Seattle, but also on the OVER (47.5) cashing with the point total hitting 51.

Many books offered odds of 50 to 1 on a safety being the first scoring play for Seattle and bettors taking that prop cashed in well, as that is just what happened when Denver’s center snapped the ball out of Peyton Manning’s reach and the ball went into the end zone for a safety.

It is the third consecutive Super Bowl that included a safety and the second in the past three years that the first score was a safety. Some books took a heavy loss on the prop.

Even though there were losses recorded by books on some props, overall the books did very well, recording another win on the Super Bowl. In Vegas, the Gaming Commission of Nevada starting keeping records on games in 1991, and since then, the books have only lost twice on Super Bowls.

Records and totals for the handle and profits in Vegas will be released on Monday with many expecting both the handle and profit to break all time records.

For many books, the high season on betting has come to a close, as the NFL represents up to 55% of total betting for some of them. However, with the NBA continuing, Major League Baseball preparing for its spring training and the World Cup scheduled for June of this year, the odds makers will continue to have their hands full.

LinkedInFacebookBlipShare
The Casino Review sportsbook blog provides news and analysis on the online sports betting industry, helping experienced and recreational bettors get the most out of their online betting experience.

Who I Like in Super Bowl XLVIII

Chancellor and Thomas
Chancellor and Thomas

Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas must play well in order for Seattle to win.

The last two weeks have been about Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and Peyton Manning. Today, we finally get to see all of the other players as the 48th edition of the Super Bowl is played this evening.

When compared to past Super Bowls, these two weeks have been rather tame even though the throng of media has been greater than ever. Much of that is due to the location where the media is literally everywhere you look, but also because the game just continues to grow in terms of a social phenomenon.

Earlier this week I broke down why each team would win Super Bowl XLVIII and now it’s time for me to make my final analysis and pick for the game.

Super Bowl XLVIII Seattle vs. Denver (-3) – Hours after their respective conference title games, the line was established at even but soon shifted to Denver giving three points. This is exactly where it has stayed.

Welker

Welker has a tendency to disappeaar in games and this cannot be one of them.

This game features the fifth meeting in Super Bowl history between the NFL’s top-ranked offense and top-ranked defense. In the previous four meetings, the top-ranked defense has prevailed three times. Despite being 1-3, top ranked offenses still have averaged 33 points but that’s a bit misleading. Remember that among those scores used for the four top-scoring offenses is the 55 that San Francisco hung on Denver in Super Bowl XXIV.

There are a lot of directions one can go when analyzing this game and many of them favor Denver which is why about 70% of the wagering action had been on the Broncos. Consider that Peyton Manning 37 touchdowns and no interceptions in the red zone this season and he’s only been sacked three times. It’s incredibly hard to go against that type of statistic and that makes it easier to see why the action is going in their direction.

The gameplan is simple for both teams. For Denver, it’s all about letting Manning dictate things on offense. He rarely throws the ball deeper than 20 yards so I expect Seattle to force him to be more aggressive than he usually wants. If the Broncos, through a combination of the run and pass can stay in third down and short situations then it will be a long day for the Seattle defense.

Offensively for Seattle, the running game behind Marshawn Lynch and an athletic offensive line will be top priority and that won’t change much. I do believe you’ll see the Seahawks use more play-action earlier in the game than normal. This will be in an effort to set up the run and keep the Denver safeties deeper than they’d like to play.

On defense for Denver, they must stop Lynch on first and second down. If they can force Russell Wilson to become a pocket passer that will be OK with them. I don’t expect that to happen however so that means the Broncos will need to contain Wilson when he scrambles or gets on the edge.

Seattle’s defensive gameplan is going to be very intriguing. Will they attempt to blitz Manning at will or will they allow their big secondary to disrupt routes? What Seattle has to be careful of is forgetting about the run because Manning will audible to it if he finds it working.

Both teams have gone under the number in the last five games and that could favor Seattle with the number today being 48. Don’t pay much attention to Seattle’s 3-6 record against the spread in their last nine meetings with Denver because neither QB was playing for his respective team in 2010. This was their last regular season meeting.

I have a strong feeling that someone will make a big special teams play and I think Seattle finds a way to force Denver into field goals. Take Seattle getting the three and take the under. I like Seattle 23-21.

LinkedInFacebookBlipShare

Books See Heavy Action on Denver, Point Total Inches Up

casino-21

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.

LinkedInFacebookBlipShare

Must-Have Super Bowl Prop Bets

Super Bowl XLVIII
Super Bowl XLVIII

There is no shortage of great prop bets for this year's big game.

Prop bets for the Super Bowl have grown significantly over the last few years. The original prop bets started with what team would score first or what team would pass for more yards but now the coin flip has become the norm as has the length of the national anthem.

I like some of the traditional ones but I’ll share some more obscure prop bets as well so let’s get to it!

Odds to win Super Bowl XLVIII MVP – Peyton Manning (11/10) and Marshawn Lynch (15/4) are your top favorites but I’m going to give you a couple of long shots I like. I like Trindon Holliday (25/1) and Julius Thomas (40/1) for Denver and Doug Baldwin (40/1) and Kam Chancellor (75/1) for Seattle.

Odds on who scores the first touchdown – Marshawn Lynch (11/2) and Wes Welker (7/1) are your favorites but here are the longer shots I like. Tight ends Zach Miller (25/1) and Jacob Tamme (18/1) are good picks and don’t count out Manning at 40/1.

Will Wes Welker score a touchdown – Yes +105 No -135 I say no.

Total receiving yards for Julius Thomas – 55.5 Over -105 under -125 I like the over.

Total receiving yards for Golden Tate – 45.5 Yes -125 no -105 I say yes.

Will Doug Baldwin score a touchdown – Yes +215 no -275 I say no.

Who will throw the first touchdown pass – Wilson +175 Manning -215 Have to take Manning here.

Who will throw the last touchdown pass – Wilson +160 Manning -200 Common sense says Manning but I’m taking Wilson.

Fleming

Will Renee Fleming challenge the National Anthem record?

Far Out Props I Love

Length of the National Anthem – 2 minutes, 25 seconds Over +135 Under -175 The standard is still Whitney Houston’s performance in 1991. This year’s anthem will be sung by opera singer Renee Fleming. I’m actually going to go the over here.

Will Renee Fleming wear gloves when she begins the National Anthem – Yes -175 No + 135 I’m all over yes.

Will Knowshon Moreno cry during the Anthem – Yes +150 No -200 Hell yes! If he cried during a regular season game at San Diego why wouldn’t he cry here?

How many times will Archie Manning be shown on TV – 1.5 Over -150 Under +110 Take the over and don’t second guess it for a second.

Will any member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during the Halftime Show – Yes -200 No +150 Normally I would say yes but because this is the ‘stuffy’ NFL of Roger Goodell I’m betting the shirts stay on.

What will the TV rating be for the game – 47.5 Yes -130 No -110 The Peyton Manning factor will force me to say yes.

I could probably go on for days with some of the prop bets that are floating around out there but I want to share some with you that you can do with friends, family and colleagues if you’re watching with a big group.

Super Bowl Squares – Don’t just do the traditional ‘payout after each quarter,’ try doing payouts for every score of the game. A lower scoring games means bigger payout, but either way, you should get more people in the winner’s circle and that means people usually have more fun.

Troy Aikman Comments – I think Aikman does a pretty good job with analysis, but he tends to harken back to his Cowboys’ days a bit too often for me. Set an over/under for the number of times he does this.

Erin Andrews/Pam Oliver – Get the ladies involved by laying some money on who will have the best hair or best hat or best coat. Sounds sill but I guarantee you will hear comments on this.

The Peyton Shoulder Shrug – The Manning’s have a very interesting move when things aren’t going well. They typically shrug their shoulders a lot as if re-adjusting their shoulder pads. Put an over/under on that.

Enjoy the Super Bowl!

LinkedInFacebookBlipShare

How Seattle Wins Super Bowl XLVIII

Wilson
Wilson

I think you''ll see Russell Wilson on the outside edge a lot in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The biggest game in all of football is just days away now and rather than just give you a general breakdown of the game I’m going to give you a look at how both teams win Super Bowl XLVIII. I’m going to do this by focusing one team at a time in terms of the line, over/under possibilities and the general gameplan. I took good hard look at how the Denver Broncos win and cover the three-point spread on Wednesday. Today, I’m focusing on the Seattle Seahawks.

The National Football Conference Champion Seattle Seahawks enter Super Bowl XLVIII as three-point underdogs. As I mentioned Wednesday, I think that is in large part due to the way Denver played versus how Seattle played in their respective conference championship games. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Seattle has struggled recently on offense and Russell Wilson in particular.

How Does Seattle Cover the Spread?

Lynch

Lynch may be a decoy early on in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Common thinking by anyone who covers the National Football League will tell you that Seattle must run the ball well early and often. That accomplishes two things for the Seahawks. Most importantly, it means they are advancing the ball and collecting first downs. Secondly, but perhaps just as importantly, running the ball well means keeping Peyton Manning on the sideline wearing a visor. Or in this year’s case, a stocking cap.

I tend to think a little differently though. Look for Seattle to come out with hard play-action meaning, you’ll see Wilson being very emphatic with his fakes to Marshawn Lynch. Denver will already have safeties and linebackers thinking run so their first step will be forward. The only way this is successful of course is if Wilson is completing the passes.

I also think you’ll see Wilson on a lot of designed roll-outs and bootlegs because this could really cause Denver problems. The Broncos have faced both San Diego and New England so far in the playoffs and those teams have very traditional, drop back passers. Russell Wilson can be a nightmare on the edge because of his ability to run with the ball.

The Broncos haven’t seen much of this in 2013 and I have to believe that Pete Carroll and his offensive coaches want to take advantage of that. I’m not suggesting that Seattle abandons Marshawn Lynch at all but I think it will be wise to open up the defense a bit which in turn opens up running lanes for Lynch. In other words, pass the ball to set up the run.

On the other side of the ball, Seattle must guard against being spread out which is what I think Denver will do. They cannot allow clean get-aways from the line of scrimmage from the Broncos’ receivers and whoever guards Julius Thomas must be able to handle his size and speed.

Pay attention early on Denver’s opening drives to see how Seattle is playing the receivers. If Manning is having timing issues because wideouts are getting knocked off their routes then that could really open defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to bring more pressure. Carroll and Quinn both know that getting to Manning is not easy. That said, it isn’t impossible and teams that typically have good outside edge rushers give Manning fits.

As I mentioned Wednesday, the over/under is 47 and if you like Seattle to win then you like the under. Seattle must keep Denver in the low 20′s to have a legitimate chance because the Broncos can play pretty good defense too. I also have to believe you love getting the three points.

Like the Broncos, the Seahawks have gone under in their last five games. Seattle is also 3-6 against the spread in their last nine meetings with Denver. The last time these two teams met, Denver won 31-14. The quarterbacks were Matt Hasselbeck and Kyle Orton so there isn’t much use in a comparison.

LinkedInFacebookBlipShare

How Denver Wins Super Bowl XLVIII

Thomas
Thomas

Julius Thomas has to be a major factor for Denver to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

The biggest game in all of football is just days away now and rather than just give you a general breakdown of the game I’m going to give you a look at how both teams win Super Bowl XLVIII. I’m going to do this by focusing one team at a time in terms of the line, over/under possibilities and the general gameplan. First up is the Denver Broncos.

The American Conference Football Champion Denver Broncos are currently listed as three point favorites in Super Bowl XLVIII. Following Seattle’s win over San Francisco the line was immediately listed as a pick’em game and then moved to the current -3. I think Denver being favored comes down to one thing and that’s how they played against New England compared to how Seattle played against San Francisco.

Personally I don’t think it’s a fair comparison but it is what it is. I saw the 49ers as a much better opponent than New England.

Manning

Manning's decisions at the line of scrimmage will be crucial for his offense's success.

How Does Denver Cover the Spread?

The easy answer is they need to score four or more points than the Seahawks do right? It isn’t that simple however because the Seahawks play darn good defense. If I’m the Broncos and Peyton Manning, I’m looking to spread this defense out early and often in the game.

I think you’ll see a lot of Peyton Manning at the line calling run or pass audibles based on what Seattle’s formation is as well as what personnel they have on the field at the time. When I say ‘spread them out’ I’m talking about getting Wes Welker in the slot, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker out wide and tight end Julius Thomas all over the place.

That means just Knowshon Moreno in the backfield. The key will be Julius Thomas in my opinion. At 6’5″, the Seahawks will be forced more than likely to stick 6’3″ safety Kam Chancellor on him. Thomas will be too much for the Seattle linebackers to handle so look for Chancellor to cover him. If Seattle goes to a lot of man coverage, I think you’ll see Denver move Julius Thomas out wider than normal and run the ball.

I will be very surprised to see Denver have any success in tight or big formations because Seattle is just too good defensively. The other thing that should happen with Julius Thomas split out is that it will create more room for Welker to operate underneath. I suspect the Broncos will also use their running backs in the passing game a little more too.

Defensively, the Broncos have one main goal to accomplish and I believe this game will be theirs. Denver must force Seattle into third and long situations thereby putting Russell Wilson in passing situations and none of the play-action variety.

Obviously getting the Seahawks into long yardage situations means they will have to stuff and contain Marshawn Lynch which is not going to be easy. The Broncos did however gain some great confidence in shutting down a New England running attack that had demolished the Colts a week prior.

The over/under is 47 which is very simple to decipher. If you take the under, you like Seattle and if you take the over you like the Broncos. In their last five games, Denver has gone under in all five. That is not something to take lightly. Keep in mind that high-scoring teams like the 1999 Rams and the unbeaten Patriots went into Super Bowls expecting to blow up the scoreboard.

In both cases, those teams were held well under their normal average. Keep in mind the Rams still won… And so can the Broncos.

LinkedInFacebookBlipShare