Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14, up to January 23 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
We’ve got 10 days to go before Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford. This isn’t going to be any ordinary Super Bowl, either. The No. 1 seeds from the NFC (the Seattle Seahawks) and the AFC (Denver Broncos) have made it all the way to the title game. They also happen to be the best two teams in the NFL according to the efficiency stats. And they’re going to play outdoors, in New Jersey, in early February. Now that’s football.
So let’s talk Super Bowl totals. People sure love betting those totals nowadays; actually, they’ll bet on any Super Bowl odds you put out there. This has become a global spectacle of such ridiculous proportions that pretty much anyone with a spare couple of bucks will be flooding into the marketplace. It’s the ideal time for contrarian betting – and when it comes to totals, that usually means betting the UNDER. But not always.
We’ve already seen a fair amount of pressure on the NFL odds board from people betting the UNDER. The total for Super Bowl XLVIII (Feb. 2, 6:25 p.m. ET, FOX) opened at 48, then pretty quickly dropped down to 47.5; as we go to press, several online sportsbooks have moved even further to 47 points. Our consensus reports show 55 percent of bettors favoring the UNDER. In theory, early action is sharp action, and the UNDER figures to be a sharp bet given the potent Seahawks defense and the time and location of this game. In theory.
Also, the general NFL betting public has a history of overbetting the OVER. People love offense, and when people base their football bets on emotion rather than logic, they tend to bet on the outcome that they want to see happen. The fact that the beloved Peyton Manning is leading the Broncos and their top-ranked offense into The New Meadowlands should bring in tons of public money on the OVER as we get closer to kick-off. In theory.
Compare the many Super Bowl Props that surround this year's championship.
The Dead Weather
There are times when the public goes bananas on the UNDER, and while I’m not necessarily predicting that will be the case this year, it could happen. For one thing, you’ve got that top-ranked Seahawks defense (No. 1 pass, No. 8 rush), which is getting plenty of publicity after Richard Sherman’s game-saving play in the NFC title bout against the San Francisco 49ers. Actually, the publicity has more to do with the promo Sherman cut on Niners WR Michael Crabtree after the game. Now Super Bowl XLVIII is being hyped as Peyton Manning and the Broncos (OVER 10-7-1) versus Richard Sherman and the Seahawks (UNDER 12-6).
The other major influence on the NFL totals is the weather. The northeastern United States is getting battered by yet another polar vortex, so people are naturally looking outside and thinking that’s what’s in store for Super Bowl Sunday. Combine the Seahawks defense and the nasty weather, and you’ll get a lot of UNDER bets from the public, just like when the Chicago Bears play outside in the wintertime.
And they may be right. But 10 days is a long time from now. It’s at the extreme end of standard long-range forecasts, which means you don’t want to be relying on the weather people right now. Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight has done a fantastic job of explaining all this, so look him up and give it a read. Meanwhile, although I’m still picking the UNDER here, it’s highly advisable to wait until much closer to kick-off before betting those Super Bowl totals.NFL Pick: Take UNDER 48 at SBR