NFL Picks: Anticipating Sharp Action in Patriots/Seahawks

Jason Lake

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 7:26 PM GMT

Just like last year, we’ve seen the Seahawks flip from favorites to underdogs on the NFL odds board for Super Bowl XLIX. And just like last year, it looks like the Seahawks are the sharp NFL pick.

Jason’s 2014-15 postseason record: 3-3 ATS, 3-2-1 Totals

It’s all falling into place now. When we looked at the opening odds for Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots, the consensus was tilted toward New England, but most of the money was on Seattle’s side. That’s usually the indicator of sharp action. The NFL odds were even moving back toward the Seahawks after early pressure from Patriot supporters.

Things have changed over the past 24 hours. The Patriots are still the preferred choice of the majority of bettors, moving up from 61 to 62 percent on our latest consensus reports. But in terms of raw dollars, Seattle has dipped from 73 percent to just under 70 percent. And the football odds are following suit; as we go to press, New England has moved to –1 and even as high as –2 (–105) at many of our featured online sportsbooks. Some of them still have the Big Game as a pick ‘em, and you can find Seattle at –1, as well.

 

Sharp Elbows
There isn’t really all that much difference among these NFL odds, you should only be willing to spend about 10 cents in vigorish to move from Seattle –1 to Seattle +1. Things don’t start getting interesting until you bump up against the magic number three. Last year’s Super Bowl between the Seahawks and the Denver Broncos avoided that situation at most books, even though millions of people were betting on Denver.

Will the same thing happen this year? The Patriots could end up bringing in even more public money, especially after the results from the Conference Round games. But if people were thinking about fading Seattle based on the injuries suffered by CB Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas, the reports from Monday’s MRIs aren’t adding much fuel to the fire. Sherman has been diagnosed with a sprained left elbow, which doesn’t provide any indication of the extent of Sherman’s injury. And nobody seems too concerned about Thomas and his dislocated shoulder.

 

Call My Publicist
We do expect this year’s Super Bowl odds to keep moving in New England’s direction, though. The parallels between Super Bowl XLIX (Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBC) and last year’s Big Game are obvious. The Patriots are the public team in this case, with Tom Brady replacing Peyton Manning as the household name at quarterback. The Seahawks are still the Seahawks, tucked away in the Pacific Northwest, powered by defense and running. Sharp bettors couldn’t ask for a more distorted marketplace.

Well, maybe they could. Super Bowl XLVIII was an even better situation for Seattle; the game took place outdoors at the New Meadowlands, which didn’t help Manning and the Denver offense. And the Broncos had John Fox as their head coach – not a bad coach by any means, but he’s on his way to Chicago after crashing out in the Divisional Round this year.

 

1-1000, 2-1000…
This time around, the Super Bowl will take place in the cozy confines of The U in Glendale, which should benefit the superior New England offense. And instead of Fox, it’ll be Bill Belichick calling the shots for the Patriots. Belichick is by far one of the best coaches in sports history, let alone the NFL. He doesn’t make very many wrong decisions.

Keeping that in mind, we’re seeing some very large bets coming in on the Patriots. Our expanded consensus reports at press time show seven $1000+ bets on New England to just four on Seattle. This dynamic might not be as reliable as years past with so many casual bettors now having so much disposable income. But we didn’t see those big bets landing on Denver last year. Something to keep an eye on before making any Super Bowl NFL picks.