We have finally reached Super Bowl Sunday and as part of our season-long handicapping, I am drawing my final conclusion for the point spread and over/under winner of this year’s Super Bowl.
This is the fourth of a four-part article I will author regarding this year’s Super Bowl. Note that this year’s game should be played in balmy conditions approaching 70 degrees, with winds light and variable, under 10 mph.
In the first article, I examined how the teams reached the Super Bowl berth in the late stages of the season. Then, I dissected each team from a technical perspective, with a variety of NFL odds trends ATS. My conclusions were that each enters with solid late season momentum, though Seattle’s 8 game win streak is longer and more dominant. Each showed success against fellow playoff opponents in road games, and against non-conference opposition. In summing up this article, I give a slight edge to Seattle for their greater and more dominant current form.
In the 2nd article, I examined the teams from a fundamental perspective using a statistical analysis to draw conclusions about each club. This included how each offense would do when they faced the opposing defense. The short version of this is that Seattle has clearly the best running game in the NFL, averaging 33/170/5.2. The Seahawks also, once again this year, have the best defense in the league. For the season, Seattle allowed foes just 16 PPG, 274 YPG, and 4.8 defensive yards per play. In all statistical categories, these numbers are clearly superior to New England. With a most likely limited running game, it is quite possible that the New England short passing game becomes diffused by the Seattle defense, much as they did in their dominance of Denver and QB Manning in last year’s game. The more intriguing matchup is clearly the outstanding defensive mind of New England HC Belichick, as he throws a variety of defensive schemes at Seattle in an effort to unnerve and confuse the less experienced QB Wilson. But, since Wilson has yet to blink in the face of adversity, that may not be a match that New England can win. From a fundamental and statistical point of view, I give the edge to the NFL’s #1 ground game and defense.
The third article looked at situational factors that could potentially, positively or negatively, influence each team in the big game. The situational analysis is always the most challenging, yet most rewarding of a handicap. When a handicapper is able to make a judgment about which team will play with greater passion, intensity, and a stronger psychological bent, it can result in a decisive victory. Should New England suffer negative psychological consequences from “Deflate Gate,” and Seattle be buoyed by their season-saving comeback victory vs Green Bay last week, this has the chance to look very similar to last year’s Super Bowl.
In conclusion, my reliance on statistical handicapping makes it a clear choice for me to place my NFL picks on Seattle in this contest. With the addition of positive situational analysis, I believe there is a far greater likelihood that Seattle emerges with a dominant victory, rather than New England. A close game gives more of an advantage to New England with all their playoff experience. Nonetheless, I believe Seattle would emerge with victory. All bets are off, however, until we see the final net turnover number. Any team with a +3 or more net turnover margin has a greater than 90% chance to beat the point spread. Any team with a +2 net turnover margin approaches an 80% chance to beat the point spread. And any team with a +1 net turnover margin, has a greater than 60% chance to beat the point spread.
Finally, Super Bowls are often a higher scoring affair than the defensive numbers would indicate. Coaches leave nothing in the playbook, the playing conditions will be optimal, teams who trail take inordinate risks, while teams who lead look to extend margins realizing that no lead may be safe. Considering all those factors, my recommendation would only be on the OVER in this Super Bowl.
Final score: Seattle 30 New England 23
Free NFL Pick: Over 47 at BetOnline Sportsbook