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The stage is finally set for the biggest game of the year. Super Bowl XLVII will be played on February 2nd, at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The game will feature the two best teams in the National Football League. The Denver Broncos, led by Peyton Manning were the number one seed in the AFC and will head to the big game to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Read Full Preview Here
Check back leading up to kickoff as this thread will be updated on a regular basis with information on the Super Bowl and a free pick by gameday!
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks have been on a collision course all season and will now meet in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos are a slight favorite, a consensus minus-1.5, but they didn't start out that way. Let's recap how we got here before discussing where the line could go.
In the AFC title game, the Broncos closed as a consensus 5-point home favorite over the New England Patriots and the total got bet up to 57.5 with unseasonably nice weather (63 degrees at kickoff) in Denver. However, the shootout never materialized as the Broncos dominated early to build a 13-3 halftime lead (covering the 3-point first-half spread) and extended it to 23-3 early in the fourth quarter. The Patriots cut the final margin to 26-16 to make it interesting, but they failed on a two-point conversion after their TD with 3:07 remaining that could have cut the lead down to 8 and made it a one-score game. The Broncos then recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
In the NFC title game, the Seahawks closed as a consensus 3.5-point home favorite, but it was the San Francisco 49ers who looked like they were primed to win their third straight road game of these playoffs as Aldon Smith stripped Russell Wilson and recovered the fumble on the first play from scrimmage to set the early tone. However, the 49ers were limited to a field goal and despite their early dominance only led 10-3 at halftime. The Seahawks rallied in the second half to tie the game 10-10 on Marshawn Lynch's 40-yard TD run. After the 49ers answered to go back up 17-10 on Colin Kaepernick's laser-like 26-yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin, the Seahawks cut it to 17-13 on a Steven Hauschka 47-yard field goal and then took a 20-17 lead when coach Pete Carroll called back the FG unit on a fourth-and-7 and Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse on a 35-yard TD pass. Hauschka added a 40-yard field goal (after a wild sequence in which the 49ers had a goal-line stand -- and had to overcome a blown fumble call by the refs -- to keep the Seahawks from going up by 10) to make the final score 23-17 and give Seattle and its backers the point-spread cover.
But that game had more drama as the 49ers mounted a last drive that could have flipped everything (the ATS result, the outright money line result and the over/under as it closed a consensus 41). Kaepernick drove the 49ers from their own 22-yard line to the Seahawks' 18 before trying to hit Michael Crabtree in the back of the end zone, but Seattle CB Richard Sherman deflected the pass and it was intercepted by LB Malcolm Smith to send the Seahawks to the Super Bowl.
So after underdogs had dominated these playoffs with a 5-2-1 ATS record through the first two rounds, both home favorites covered Sunday in the conference championship games to cut the dogs' lead to 5-4-1 ATS heading to the Super Bowl. In totals wagering, the under hit in both games Sunday (though some bettors who got over 39 or 39.5 for the 49ers-Seahawks game earlier in the week would disagree) and improved to 8-2 in the playoffs.
Here is what I learned this weekend, along with an analysis of the early Super Bowl XLVIII line:
Tuley's Takeaways from Conference Championship Games
1. When Peyton Manning is in a rhythm, the Broncos are nearly unstoppable, but ...
Manning put on a clinic Sunday, passing for 400 yards and leading six straight scoring drives between their opening possession, which ended with a punt, and their final one, in which they ran out the clock. The Broncos have been a quick-strike offense all season, but Sunday they had two seven-minute drives to keep Tom Brady & Co. off the field and take control of the game. However, the Seahawks' defense is much stronger than the Patriots', and it remains to be seen if Manning can be as effective if the weather isn't ideal in two weeks at the Meadowlands.
2. The Seahawks keep pounding away despite all obstacles, but ...
The resiliency shown by the Seahawks on Sunday was impressive. They held the 49ers to a field goal after Wilson's fumble on the very first play gave San Francisco a short field, and even though the 49ers appeared they were in control, the Seahawks stayed in the game. Even after tying the game at 10 and falling behind 17-10, they chipped away with a field goal and then the big fourth-down play from Russell to Kearse. And of course, the defense came up with the stop at the end to secure the victory. Now, the question is if they can do it against the Broncos and away from home. They routed the Giants 23-0 at the Meadowlands in the dress rehearsal five weeks ago, though not many people mistook the Giants for the Broncos this season.
3. Check the betting stats of the remaining teams for clues
As those who follow this column every week know, the Seahawks tied the 49ers during the regular season with the league's best ATS record at 11-5. The Broncos were a game behind at 10-6. They both fell short against the closing line in their divisional playoff wins, but they covered on Sunday to stand at 12-6 and 11-7, respectively. No major edge there. But while the last section of the column will focus on how the point spread got bet into shape, let's take a look at the over/under as it's interesting to note that even though the Broncos were an over team most of the season (sitting at 11-2 with the over after their 13 games), they've now stayed under the total in five straight games. The Seahawks have stayed under in their past seven games and are 12-6 with the under.
Super Bowls are often high-scoring affairs with their long commercial breaks aiding the offenses in usually ideal conditions, but this year the over/under has been set lower with possible inclement weather in the Meadowlands, and while some offshore books went as high as 50, the LVH opened at only 47 with most books falling in between. As of early Monday morning, it appears the over/under is settling at 48, but even though the public might try to bet the number higher (though that could change if we get bad weather forecasts), keep in mind how comfortable these teams have been in playing relatively low-scoring games.
2013 NFL ATS Standings
Team ATS Streak O/U Streak
Courtesy ViewFromVegas.com. All records based on VFV consensus closing lines; teams listed by ATS winning percentage, with first tiebreaker being straight-up record, then ATS streak; O=over, U=under, P=push
Seattle Seahawks (15-3) 12-6 W1 6-12 U7
Denver Broncos (15-3) 11-7 W1 11-7 U5
Early line moves
Here is a look at the opening line for Super Bowl XLVIII. We've used the LVH SuperBook as our "book of record" here in Las Vegas since the Stardust closed in 2006, but the opening line varied from Seahawks minus-2 there to Broncos minus-1 at the CRIS offshore book. Let's take a look at how the opener got bet into shape and where it could go over in the nearly two weeks until the big game.
Super Bowl XLVIII LVH Opener
(Home team on bottom)
Broncos o/u 47
Opening line: Seahawks -2 versus Broncos (at the Meadowlands): As stated in my Sunday night piece, the advance lines for this matchup were mostly Seahawks minus-2.5 or minus-3 at not just the LVH but other books here in Vegas. After the Broncos' impressive win over the Patriots, there was sentiment among bookmakers I talked with and on Twitter that the Broncos might end up being the favorite or at least be around pick 'em. At the two-minute warning of the 49ers-Seahawks game (6:44 p.m. PT by my watch), the Don Best screen was silent as a mouse on Christmas Eve. But when Malcolm Smith intercepted Kaepernick's pass in the end zone, it lit up like a Christmas tree as sports books here and offshore raced to take action even before the clock ran out.
A few offshore books went with pick 'em while CRIS opened for Broncos minus-1, but the LVH stuck with its numbers and opened the Seahawks minus-2 at 6:50 p.m. PT. That was the highest opener posted Sunday night, but they weren't alone in making Seattle the favorite. The MGM and South Point went with Seahawks minus-1.5 while the Wynn, William Hill and Treasure Island went with minus-1. The Caesars group on the Strip went with pick 'em as did Cantor Gaming, Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming. (Note: All lines and times either witnessed live on the Don Best screen and/or verified in their archives.)
The vast majority of early bets came in on the Broncos, and by 7:16 p.m. PT, the Broncos were favored at all the offshore books. It took only 11 more minutes (7:27 p.m. PT) for the LVH to be the last Vegas book to make the switch complete.
In the meantime, Station Casinos had led the way for the Vegas books by going to Broncos minus-1 at 7:02 p.m. PT, then to minus-1.5 at 7:07 p.m. PT, then to minus-2 at 7:16 p.m. PT, then to minus-2.5 at 7:22 p.m. and then minus-3 at 7:24 p.m. PT. That lasted less than 4 minutes until the Seattle money finally showed up to knock it back down to 2.5, and that's where Stations sat the rest of the night. By 8:30 p.m. PT when I filed my Sunday night report, the consensus was Broncos minus-1.5 with several books still as low as minus-1, including the LVH, MGM, Caesars and Aliante, with Boyd Gaming joining Stations at 2.5.
We'll see where the lines go from here, but it appears that Broncos minus-3/Seahawks plus-3 was the tipping point and it's likely that's where the buyback on the Seahawks will come quickly if it gets bet that high again at any book. There's also a lot of people with the opinion that the Seahawks are more suited for bad weather, so if there are inclement weather reports (which will be followed by everyone talking about Manning's poor record in poor weather, such as SportsInsights.com having him 1-5 ATS since 2003 in games with a kickoff temperature at
The Denver Broncos undoubtedly have the experience edge when it comes to Super Bowl quarterbacks, especially with young signal callers struggling on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Peyton Manning, at age 37, is making his third Super Bowl appearance in his 16th season in the NFL, while his counterpart, Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, is in just his second year in the pros.
Wilson, at age 25 years and 65 days when he takes the field in MetLife Stadium on February 2, will be the sixth youngest Super Bowl quarterback in history, bumping his rival, San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (25 years, 91 days) to seventh youngest.
Kaepernick threw for 302 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and rushed for 62 yards and score in a losing effort against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII last February. The 49ers fell 34-31 as 4.5-point favorites.
Here’s a look at the five QBs ahead of Wilson on the list and how they performed in their respective Super Bowl debuts as youngsters. None of the previous QBs racked up anything close to mind-blowing numbers in their first appearances.
1) Dan Marino - 23 years 127 days
Super Bowl XIX - San Francisco vs. Miami (+3.5)
Result: Dolphins lose 38-16 and fail to cover.
Marino and the Dolphins squared off against the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana in Super Bowl XIX. The Dolphins, who had 74 rushing attempts in the previous two weeks, ran the ball only eight times in this game. Marino finished with 29 completions out of 50 attempts for 318 yards, throwing one touchdown pass and two picks in what would be his only Super Bowl appearance.
2) Ben Roethlisberger - 23 years 340 days
Super Bowl XL - Pittsburgh vs. Seattle (+4)
Result: Steelers win 21-10 and cover.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious over the Seattle Seahawks. But Roethlisberger had one of the worst passing games of his career, completing just nine of 21 passes for 123 yards and two interceptions. His atrocious passer rating of 22.6 was the lowest in Super Bowl history by a winning quarterback. Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, a record previously held by New England’s Tom Brady.
3) David Woodley - 24 years 97 days
Super Bowl XVII - Washington vs. Miami (-3)
Result: Dolphins lose 27-17 and fail to cover.
The Dolphins had a tough matchup against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII. At the time, Woodley was the youngest Super Bowl starting quarterback in NFL history when he took the field. Despite starting the game well with a 76-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Cefalo, Woodley and the entire offense struggled after that, going 0-for-8 passing in the second half.
4) Tom Brady - 24 years 184 days
Super Bowl XXXVI - New England vs. St. Louis (-14)
Result: Patriots win 20-17 and cover.
The Patriots were listed by Las Vegas oddsmakers as 14-point underdogs against the NFC champion St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady was named MVP in the Patriots victory while throwing for 145 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions, becoming the then-youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl.
5) Drew Bledsoe - 24 years 347 days
Super Bowl XXXI - Green Bay vs. New England (+14)
Result: Patriots lose 35-21 and earn bettors a push.
Bledsoe completed 25 of 48 passes for 253 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions in the loss.
LAS VEGAS – Conventional wisdom says a Super Bowl's popularity is best measured by television ratings, and ratings typically spike when the game is close. But here in Nevada, we measure the game's popularity by how much the betting public is willing to wager, whether it's on a side, total or some of the hundreds of propositions available at the state's sports books.
An estimated 108.4 million U.S. viewers watched last year’s Super Bowl between the 49ers and Ravens, making it the third most-watched Super Bowl of all time. In Nevada, the 49ers – a popular west coast team – making it back to the big game for the first time since 1995 helped the a state set a record for Super Bowl handle. The $98.9 million wagered through the bet windows broke the record of $94.5 million mark set in 2006 when the Steelers beat the Seahawks.
In this year’s Super Bowl, we have a great matchup between the best team from each conference. The Broncos have a huge following and gain even more support from those without a team to root for because of everyone’s All-American, Peyton Manning. Then you have the Seahawks and their nasty defense, the pride of the Northwest, an area of the country with a surprisingly large body of fans that helped set the previous betting record in Nevada in their only other visit to the Super Bowl.
In television terms, the last four Super Bowls have been the most popular of all time, according the Nielson ratings. In Nevada, though, there doesn’t seem to be any real pattern or correlation with television (see chart below). It‘s more about the shape of the economy and how much people can afford to spend. When the Seahawks and Steelers set the betting record in 2006, business was booming in Las Vegas; but as the economy crashed, so did the betting.
John Fox has always said experience matters. With that in mind, Fox has relied on players or members of the front office to speak with the team as the Denver Broncos prepare for the Super Bowl.
Fox had players who have played in the league's title game -- Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jacob Tamme -- offer up their thoughts in a team meeting on Thursday morning as well as executive vice president of football operations John Elway.
"Coach Fox has had some guys that have some experience share some of those thoughts with other players,'' Manning said. "And he's encouraged guys to ask questions or guys who have some experience to share any thoughts, tips. We have had opportunity to do that whether it was coaches or players or John Elway. So I think that's a good thing.''
Manning has played in two Super Bowls, having won one to close out the 2006 season and is the only Broncos player with a Super Bowl ring. Elway played in five Super Bowls as a player, winning in back-to-back appearances in the last two seasons of his career.
Fox has been to two Super Bowls, one as a head coach of the Carolina Panthers to close out the 2003 season and one as the New York Giants defensive coordinator to close out the 2000 season.
"Just relating the experience,'' Fox said. "It's a unique game, a unique stage, just share those experiences for the younger players.''
Part of the advice Broncos players have been given is to designate someone other than themselves to handle ticket requests for any travel issues. Manning has enlisted his brother, Eli, a two-time Super Bowl winner as the Giants' quarterback.
Peyton handled ticket requests for Eli when the Giants were in the title game.
"I think that was way I could help him,'' Manning said. "He's helping me out this year and I certainly appreciate that."
On the field, kicker Matt Prater was held out of Thursday's practice because of an illness while defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee) also did not practice. Running back Knowshon Moreno (ribs) and defensive tackle Sione Fua (calf) were limited.
Moreno is expected to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 against Seattle.
Millions of dollars are wagered on Super Bowl prop bets each year. One of the most popular wagers is often the game’s MVP.
Manning Favored To Win Super Bowl MVP
In the contest between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Peyton Manning is the favorite to win the award. The veteran is almost guaranteed to be named the most valuable player of the 2013 season, and there’s a very good chance he’ll hold that title for Super Bowl XLVIII. Bovada.lv sets his odds at 11/10.
No player on the Seahawks has ever played in the Super Bowl. However, they have the second and third most likely players to win the award. Both quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch have the same odds at 15/4. In the regular season, Wilson was one of the most efficient signal callers in the NFL, posting a 101.2 passer rating, while adding 539 yards on the ground. Lynch led the team with 1,257 rushing yards, scoring 17 total touchdowns.
The history of the Super Bowl indicates that Manning or Wilson is likely to be named the MVP. In 47 games, the quarterback of the winning team has won the award 26 times. The last seven games have seen six quarterbacks named MVP. That streaks started in 2007 when Manning won the award after the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears. The future Hall of Famer completed 25-of-38 passes for 247 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Running backs have accounted for seven MVPs.
On the offensive end, a wide receiver has won the award just six times. However, if the top three candidates don’t win, a receiver is very likely to be named the game’s most valuable player. Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Golden Tate and Percy Harvin come in at No.4, No.6, No.7, and No.8 on the list, respectively.
Richard Sherman is considered by many to be the best cornerback in the league, and he has the best odds of any defensive player at 25/1. The next closest defender is Earl Thomas at 50/1. Larry Brown of the Dallas Cowboys is the only cornerback to ever win the award. Safeties Jake Scott and Dexter Jackson won the MVP in 1973 and 2003.
The players with the worst odds come in at 150/1. Linebacker Danny Trevathan and safety Duke Ihenacho are at the bottom of the list.
Below are the betting odds for all the candidates to win the Super Bowl MVP, according to Bovada.lv.
Today's the day. The Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will touch down in New Jersey, signaling the official start to Super Bowl week.
First come the Broncos. The team is scheduled to arrive at Newark Airport at 3:30 p.m.
At 5 p.m., members of the team, including quarterback Peyton Manning and coach John Fox, will meet with media aboard the Cornucopia Majesty yacht, which will be docked at the Hyatt in Jersey City (that's the Broncos' hotel, at 2 Exchange Place).
Next it's the Seahawks, set to touch down at Newark Airport around 7 p.m. Then, at 8 p.m., a press conference at the Westin Jersey City (479 Washington Blvd.), where the team is staying, with coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson.
Jersey City Mayor Mayor Steven Fulop and the city of Jersey City, in partnership with the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, are holding welcoming events for the two teams, with music, giveaways and hot chocolate for this wanting to watch the teams make their way to their hotels.
In honor of the Super Bowl, Jersey City is renaming Christopher Columbus Drive to Super Bowl Drive.
Much of the Super Bowl weather talk has focused on game day, and the effect that winter conditions could have in open-air MetLife Stadium in northern New Jersey in early February.
But the Super Bowl is much more than just game day -- it's an entire week of preparation in this wintry climate. And as the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks arrived Sunday with snow on the ground, there was some talk of the extent to which the weather could affect Super Bowl practices. Frozen fields could move practices indoors, and both teams' coaches said that would not be ideal."We haven't had a chance to get over there yet, but we understand there's snow on the fields and they're frozen and we likely could be inside for most of the week," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
"We'll look at the fields and test the fields, and we brought our grounds crew people," Broncos coach John Fox said. "I understand the indoor facility is very much like ours, except their field house is completed, which is a big difference. So we may or may not go in there. I'd prefer grass. It saves out players' legs. But if need be, we'll go indoors or on their synthetic surface."
A large snowstorm struck the area last Wednesday, more snow fell Saturday and sub-freezing temperatures have kept it from melting. The Seahawks will practice this week at the New York Giants' facility in East Rutherford, N.J., while the Broncos will work at the New York Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J.
Both facilities are relatively new, each having opened within the past decade, and each has a large indoor field house in which the teams can practice. But Carroll echoed Fox's sentiments in saying he'd prefer to work his players on natural grass, if possible, and practice outdoors to prepare to play in the cold Sunday.
However, both coaches seemed to acknowledge that it might not be possible to prepare the way they want due to the unique nature of this year's game. They both seem willing to roll with whatever circumstances dictate.
"I think, in order to be a championship football team, we've got to be weatherproof," Fox said.
Monday's forecast in East Rutherford calls for a high temperature of 38 degrees and rain, so frozen fields could do some melting. However, the forecast's high temperature for Tuesday is 17 degrees with lows in single digits at night.
Prop bets are available throughout the year, but when it comes to the Super Bowl, prop options are nearly endless.
Sportsbooks offer literally hundreds of prop bets, some dealing with the game itself, some having to do with commercials, the broadcast, the coin flip, the halftime show, the color of the Gatorade poured on the winning coach… well you get the point.
Here are five tips on how to bet Super Bowl XLVIII props.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket
If you think Russell Wilson is going to have a big game and lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win, then wager on him to win Super Bowl MVP at +400.
But it wouldn’t be a good idea to wager on Wilson to win the MVP, score the first touchdown, throw for over 300 yards and to take the Seahawks moneyline on top of those prop bets.
All those things are cause and effect, if Wilson throws for over 300 yards and the Seahawks win outright, he is a shoe-in to win the MVP and you get much better odds at +300 than with those other props.
Show some consistency in your prop bets
This may sound like the exact opposite of the first tip, but the key with Super Bowl prop betting is to find a middle ground with your wagering. While you don’t want to take every single pro-Denver prop bet, you do not want to contradict yourself constantly.
If you place a large wager on Denver to win the game but then take a number of small prop bets on Seattle, you're not hedging - you're likely painting yourself into a best-case scenario of breaking even.
If you have confidence in the Broncos defense, go ahead and take them to win the game and keep Wilson under a certain amount of passing yards.
Use caution when betting on the coin toss
Remember, it is just a coin toss. There is nothing worse than being down a few units before the game even starts. You can wager on heads or tails and Seahawks or Broncos.
And when everything is all said and done after the game, it would be a waste of NFL handicapping if you were forced to break even because your win on the pointspread was nullified by bone-headed pregame props. The coin toss is a fun prop to bet on, just remember to keep it in perspective compared to your other wagers.
Bet with reputable sportsbook
Not only is it illegal to wager with your local guy, but when it comes to Super Bowl props, sometimes it just isn’t smart.
Who do you trust to time the National Anthem if you wager on the Over? Who do you trust to count how many times Peyton Manning says "Omaha"? What if there is some confusion on an off-the-wall prop bet on Bruno Mars during the halftime show?
Most sportsbooks will simply rule the wagers no action if there is a legitimate dispute. That may not be the case with your local book.
Allocate your money
If you only have a certain amount of money available to wager or only a certain amount of money available in your online sportsbook account, don’t blow through the bankroll on things not pertaining to the game only to have a few bucks left to wager on the actual total and side.
If you have confidence in your handicapping ability of the actual football game it doesn’t make sense to have 75 percent of your wagers tied up in pregame ceremonies and the halftime show. You will end up with nothing to show for picking a winner. And remember, you're likely to get suckered into a few squares pools at the office.
While previous Super Bowl sites such as Atlanta and New Orleans have been blasted by unusual winter weather in recent days, the prospects of good conditions for Sunday's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium is getting better and better.
There was a dusting of snow on Tuesday night, but the temperature was rising Wednesday in the New York area under sunny skies.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the high is now expected to be 44, and while there could be some rain or wintry mix during the day, it appears any precipitation will be gone by game time of 6:30 p.m. ET. The drop in temperature as darkness hits is only expected to be a low of 27 and, more important, winds should be negligible.
Players from both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks have said weather shouldn't be an issue for the game, and one of the biggest decisions Sunday might be whether Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning wears a glove on his right hand.