Of the hundreds of props for Super Bowl XLIX between the Seahawks and Patriots available at sportsbooks are historical betting comparisons for some of the key players in next Sunday's game. Here are my recommendations.
Tom Brady 2015 SB Passing Yards & Completions vs. Brady 2012
The current Tom Brady is +15.5 on the passing yards and +3.5 on completions, all options at -115 on NFL odds. Three years ago in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis against the New York Giants, Brady was 27 of 41 for 276 yards, two touchdowns (that touchdown to a guy named Aaron Hernandez) and a pick in the Patriots' 21-17 upset loss. That New York defense wasn't all that great in the regular season, ranking 27th in total yards and 29th in passing yards, allowing 255.1 per game. It did play much better in the playoffs. This time around, Brady goes against the NFL's No. 1 overall defense in the Seahawks and the No. 1 pass defense, which allowed only 185.6 yards per game -- no other team gave up less than 203.3. It's the second year in a row Seattle has been No. 1 in both. The Seahawks have the best secondary in football by a wide margin, but All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are both nursing injuries. They will play, but not be 100 percent. When Brady played in Seattle in 2012, he was 36 of 58 for 395 yards, two TDs and two picks.
NFL Free Picks: Take the yards and completions on this Brady as your NFL pick. The Patriots would rather not have to throw all day, but I don't think they will be able to run the ball. Brady should get to 25 completions and 265 yards.
Russell Wilson 2015 SB Passing & Rushing Yards vs. Wilson 2014
This Russel Wilson is -13.5 on the passing and -14.5 on the rushing, with all options again -115 on NFL odds. In last season's Super Bowl rout of Denver, Wilson was a very efficient 18 of 25 for 206 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, an MVP-caliber performance, although he didn't win it. He also rushed three times for 26 yards. The Seahawks didn't need Wilson to do a lot because they were up big quickly. Seattle rarely does ask Wilson to do much, and he was terrible for most of the NFC Championship game with four interceptions. However, Wilson came up big when it was most needed. Wilson had seven games this regular season throwing for less than 200 yards but has had at least 209 in the past four. Wilson's high rushing total this season was 122 yards, but he hasn't topped 25 in the past three games. The Patriots ranked 17th in the NFL in the season in allowing 240 passing yards per game. They allowed 292 to the Ravens in the divisional round and just 126 last week against the Colts, who had the No. 1 passing offense. Weather was a major factor in that game, but it won't be in the Super Bowl.
NFL Free Picks: I do think Wilson can get to 220 passing yards, so give the yards there, but I'll take the +14.5 rushing yards from last year's Super Bowl.
Doug Baldwin 2015 SB Catches & Receiving Yards vs. Baldwin 2014
This Baldwin is +.5 receptions and +11.5 receiving yards, all at -115 on NFL odds. Baldwin caught five Wilson passes for 66 yards against Denver last February. This year he led the Seahawks with 66 catches for 825 yards, and Baldwin had his third 100-yard game of the season last week against the Packers, catching six balls for 106 yards. Baldwin was held to three catches for 38 yards in the divisional round against Carolina. The Patriots are likely to gear up to stop Marshawn Lynch, so one Seattle receiver could have a big game. Bovada lists Baldwin's game totals at 'over/under' 4.5 catches and 54.5 yards.
NFL Free Picks: I expect the Patriots to stick Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis on Baldwin and that should shut Baldwin mostly down (but mean a big game for Jermaine Kearse?). I'm going with both 2014 totals.