Date/Time: February 2nd, 6:30 PM ET
Spread: Denver -2.5
Super Bowl 48 is here! With all of the games on the docket each and every week, we are going to be zeroing in on just one side or total that we think is the best of the bunch. Join us today, look at the game on Sunday, February 2nd between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.
We’ve continued with our good run in the playoffs at 2-0-1 ATS, and we are going to be finishing out the season by looking at the ‘total’ for the Super Bowl. Most are going to be focusing in on whether the Seahawks or the Broncos are going to win this game SU, but we are far more concerned with what we think is the better bet on the ‘under’ in the biggest game of the season.
Discussing why the Seahawks are a great ‘under’ team is a tremendously easy thing to do. They have a fantastic front seven, and they have the best secondary in the NFL. They’re going to have two weeks to prepare for this game defensively, and they should have a really good idea of what QB Peyton Manning and the Denver offense are going to try to be doing.
On the other side of the ball, Seattle is going to run the heck out of the football. RB Marshawn Lynch is clearly going to have the ball in his hands at least 25 times between running it and catching it, and that is going to end up leading to a number of six and seven minute drives which will attempt to limit how often Manning and his awesome offense are on the field.
The Seahawks ranked first in the league in total defense and pass defense this season, though this is going to be a tremendous test obviously, against the best passing game of all-time.
But that’s where people are going to get caught up. Manning threw for nearly 5,500 yards and 55 TDs this year, and he has four receivers who all had at least 10 touchdown grabs. RB Knowshon Moreno had 10 scores on the ground and three as a receiver as well. That’s a whole heck of a lot of touchdowns, though we have a massive concern about the degree of defenses which the Broncos played against this year.
When you really look back at it, Denver didn’t play a single team ranked better than 10th in rush defense this year in the league. On top of that, the one game against a Top 10 defense came against the Philadelphia Eagles way back in the first quarter of the season before Head Coach Chip Kelly really had that team playing its best ball.
Then go back at look at the total defensive numbers which the Broncos faced this year. Save for Kansas City, which clearly just got fat off of playing a lot of bad teams out of the AFC, there wasn’t a truly dominating defense which Denver ran up against this season. The best defenses in the NFL were all in the NFC this year, and considering the fact that the Broncos played against the NFC East, where there aren’t any good defenses either, it probably isn’t all that surprising that Manning was able to put up such remarkable stats when push came to shove.
We’re not all that sure that Manning is going to be ready to put 30 on the board in this one either. The Broncos have been playing a bit more controlled over the course of the last several weeks, as they have played five straight games ‘under’ the ‘total’. Manning threw for 400 yards, a conference championship game record, last week against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, but the team only put 26 points on the board. These Seahawks are great at bending without breaking, as they have only allowed 17, 15, 9, 17, and 0 over the course of their last five games, one of those games of which came against a very similar New Orleans Saints team.
It’s the first major test of the year for the Broncos from their offense’s standpoint, and though we do think it is a test they will at least manage to pass, it’s not a test where they will excel. Denver is going to be stymied for most of this game, and we just don’t think that it is ultimately going to end up getting past the number, which is as high of a ‘total’ as you’re ever going to see in a game the Seahawks are involved in. Remember that Manning has only thrown a total of two touchdowns in two Super Bowl appearances in his career, and we all know that he is only 4-7 in his career when playing in conditions where the game-time temperature is at freezing or colder. We aren’t sure whether the game is really going to be played below freezing or not, but it’s certainly going to be close, and Manning is going to feel it one way or the other.
QB Drew Brees only managed to put up 22 points in two games against these Seahawks this year for his high-flying New Orleans Saints. Manning will do better than 11 points, but he probably won’t do better than 24.
Super Bowls have alternated going ‘over’ and ‘under’ for the last six years, and if that trend holds up, this is a game which would fail to reach the ‘total’. We think that that will hold up on Super Sunday. The best bet of this game is clearly banking on the ‘under’.
NFL Pick of the Week: Under 48
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.