The Seattle Seahawks were going to be 3-point Super Bowl favorites against the New England Patriots, but after what went down Sunday, the Seahawks have opened as a pick ‘em on the NFL odds board.
Jason’s 2014-15 postseason record: 3-3 ATS, 3-2-1 Totals
Well, that’s not quite the way we expected to get here. But here we are anyway with the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots meeting at Super Bowl XLIX. That was the most likely of the four potential matchups, with both teams favored heavily in their respective Conference Round games. The Patriots (–7 at home) did their part, crushing the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. So much for the Bryan Stork Gambit.
The Seahawks (–8.5 at home) encountered a bit more turbulence in their NFC title game. They practically gift-wrapped the game for the Green Bay Packers, only to score a pair of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter and another in overtime to win 28-22. As a result, Seattle has opened as a pick ‘em on the Super Bowl odds board. That’s down from –3 on the NFL futures market going into the Conference Round.
Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat
This is all looking very much like last year’s Super Bowl scenario. The Seahawks were coming off a very tough NFC title game against the San Francisco 49ers (+4 away), who had gone up 10-0 early before losing 23-17. And the Denver Broncos were sailing into the Super Bowl after beating the Patriots (+5 away) 26-16, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would suggest. The Broncos rode that momentum and caused the early NFL odds for Super Bowl XLVIII to flip from Seattle –2 to Denver –2.5.
It’s the Patriots this time and not the Broncos, of course, but the betting dynamic remains. Early action has been pouring in on New England’s side, and will probably continue to move the football odds as the next two weeks roll on. The Patriots, led by world-famous QB Tom Brady on offense, were the No. 3 team on the public money charts this year. The Seahawks were No. 8 in public money, built on defense and running, and they still have primarily a regional fan base despite winning the title last year.
There will be at least two important differences in this year’s Super Bowl. One is the venue; instead of the New Meadowlands, this year’s contest (Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBC) will take place in the cozy confines of the Arizona Cardinals home stadium. That should benefit the Patriots, while last year’s slightly soggy conditions were more Seattle’s style.
The other, and possibly more important, is the health of the two defenses in question. Last year, the Broncos went into Super Bowl XLVIII with a number of key injuries in the secondary, and it cost them dearly in a 43-8 rout. This year, it’s Seattle’s secondary that could be in trouble. CB Richard Sherman (elbow) and safety Earl Thomas (shoulder) both got hurt against Green Bay and were scheduled to have MRIs done on Monday.
Doctor My Arms
Both players say they’ll be ready for the Super Bowl; however, it could be tough sledding for Sherman, who may have suffered a hyperextended or even a dislocated left elbow in the fourth quarter of the NFC title game. Sherman played the rest of the game with his arm tucked by his side – yet the Packers didn’t throw in his direction afterward, so we don’t know the full extent of Sherman’s limitations.
Thomas didn’t appear too troubled by what may have been a shoulder subluxation during the first half. He came back into the game with his shoulder in a harness and continued to hit whatever moved. If both Thomas and Sherman are at close to 100 percent health in two weeks, Seattle should once again be a solid value for your Super Bowl picks. But let’s wait to see what the doctors say.