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Super Bowl XLVIII: Prediction, Prop Bets For Broncos Vs. Seahawks

A bet in Vegas that is a net positive for the bettor? Find out what it is plus my pick for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Matt Sullivan

For those of you that have been around here for a while, I've talked about winning in the Playoffs before; namely, it takes equal part skill and luck to win a Super Bowl. In fact, since 2005, I'd call winning the Super Bowl "winning a coin flip three or four times" because it's just been so random. This year, for only the 2nd time in the last decade both #1 seeds are playing each other in the Super Bowl (and you know the other). The Broncos and Seahawks have been the two best teams all season (even if they both lost in Indianapolis), and it's actually refreshing to see the "best team" will win the Super Bowl, and not the "hottest team in January".

One of my favorite parts about the Super Bowl is it lets you bet on lots of random things, and actually gives the bettor an advantage on certain ones (you'll see one I found). You've probably heard about all the wacky prop bets that are available (and I couldn't resist a couple of them), but I think there's some value in quite a few. Here's a list of what I'm betting on Sunday evening:

Description Price Units Bet Win
Oladipo Rebounds vs. Tate Receptions -150 1 1.50 1.00
Wilson longest run vs. Dale Jr. Daytona finish -115 1 1.15 1.00
Ovechkin Pts. Vs. Seahawks sacks 120 1 1.00 1.20
Total Goals WAS vs DET Vs. D. Thomas Recs EVEN 1 1.00 1.00
Broncos 1st half pts vs. USA Gold medals -150 2 3.00 2.00
Wes Welker dropped pass -130 1 1.30 1.00
1st Denver TD - Montee Ball 1200 1 1.00 12.00
1st Denver TD - Moreno 500 1 1.00 5.00
More Recs: J. Thomas -1.5 vs. Tate EVEN 1 1.00 1.00
Will D. Thomas score TD? - No -115 2 2.30 2.00
Total Recs D. Thomas - U5 110 2 2.00 2.20
Earl Thomas Interception - Yes 275 1 1.00 2.75
Lynch longest Rush - O19.5 -105 1 1.05 1.00
Earl Thomas MVP 4000 1 1.00 40.00
Over 3.5 FGs 105 2 2.00 2.10
Under 3.5 Sacks 145 2 2.00 2.90
Broncos Total Points - Even 105 1 1.00 1.05
Seahawks Total Points - Even 105 1 1.00 1.05
Both teams lead in 1st half 130 1 1.00 1.30
Seahawks +3 -125 2 2.50 2.00
Totals 26 28.80 83.55

Some explanations on a couple:

  • Broncos 1st Half Points vs. USA Gold Medals: I went back to the last three Winter Olympics, and found the US Gold Medal count was 9, 9, and 9. This is essentially a bet on whether the Broncos will have 10+ in the first half. I think they will.
  • Demaryius Thomas No TD & Under 5 receptions: The Broncos have tons of weapons, so what's the point of trying to throw at the best cover corner in the NFL? I think Manning looks elsewhere, especially when they get into the red zone. I like both of these.
  • Earl Thomas MVP: I think it's a pretty safe bet if the Broncos win Manning will be the MVP. However, if the Seahawks win, there's a decent chance the MVP will come from the Defense. I've watched enough games played by Peyton Manning to know when he struggles, it's fitting passes into small windows over the middle, and Earl Thomas will be there waiting, much like Ed Reed or Rodney Harrison used to do. At 40-1, this is worth the bet.
  • Broncos/Seahawks Team Points - Even: Here's where you are at a distinct advantage against the house. Over the past 10 years, the total points of a game (both teams combined) is about 55-45 Odd to Even, so these odds (-135 Odds, +105 Even) make sense. However, when you look at each individual team, it's almost dead even (50.6% Odd to 49.4% Even). That means (rounding to 50%) that you have a 75% chance of winning money at +105 if you bet both as Even. If you take expected value (win 2.1 Units if both Even, win .05 Units if 1 Even, and lose 2 Units if both Odd), you'll, on average, have a positive Expected Return of 2.7%. That's damn near impossible to find. How low could the % of teams ending on an Even number to make it EV+? About 48.8%. This, unfortunately, is not offered but once a year, so the long term nature of this net positive bet isn't there, but this is the best bet out there, in my opinion.

You also see in my list my pick for the game, Seahawks +3. I think this is a field goal game either way, so I'm going to take the points each and every time. There's also a tiny part of me that knows that if I lose the bet, the Broncos will have obviously won, and I'd like that to happen. Betting wise I just can't wrap my head around a 5 point line movement after the Championship games, which is the other reason I'm taking the points here.

The game will come down to two things: How well can the Broncos throw the ball (#1 vs. #1), and whether the Broncos can scored TDs when they get inside the Seahawks 35 yard line (Orange Zone Efficiency #1 vs. #1, Red Zone #2 DEN vs. #5 SEA). The only thing the Seahawks have struggled with Defensively, home or away, is forcing 3 and Outs when not in Seattle. The Seahawk Offense is ranked just 22nd on the road this year in 3rd/4th down Efficiency, so the Broncos will have to get them off the field when they can. Again, I think a less than field goal game with the Broncos winning Super Bowl XLVIII.

Broncos 24, Seahawks 23