I have been tasked to provide daily updates here at SBR since the Super Bowl matchup was announced almost two weeks ago. I have done my level best to seek every angle and betting edge to correctly pick the side and total in NFL odds for this titanic showdown between an historic offense and one of the best defenses ever assembled. While I have gone to great lengths to find an underlying reason why one team will triumph over the other, it essentially comes down to the proverbial irresistible force versus an immovable object.
However, a side must be chosen and I will certainly not get a peace, love and a resounding “hell yeah” from more than fifty-percent of those reading this column. And though I am well aware of the maxim that defense wins championships it won’t happen this time. While we know that the Broncos offense has a future Hall-of-Famer (and many say the greatest pure passer ever to play the game) as well as a plethora of talented receivers, it is their defense that has turned this from a coin flip to a legitimate betting edge for Denver. I’m not convinced that Russell Wilson’s speed or Marshawn Lynch’s dynamic running game will push the Seahawks over the top against an increasingly stout Denver defense.
You see, Manning is a master at finding holes as slight as they may be. His release is among the most immediate this league has ever seen. He knows what a defense will bring before they bring it as he sizes them up at the line of scrimmage. While I will grant you that Denver has not seen a defense of Seattle’s ilk this season, neither has the Seahawks matched up with such a truly prolific offense.
One unheralded player will make an impact and that is Knowshon Moreno. The Denver running back has walked deep in the shadow of Marshawn Lynch yet has resisted the temptation to argue that a thousand plus yard rusher ain’t exactly chopped liver. But Moreno will be content to wait and execute. While he won’t get much traction against a ferocious Seattle run defense, he will provide Manning with the extra half-second to target and release. He will also become a valuable safety valve out of the backfield. He is the guy who will keep this defense honest. Will he be the Super Bowl MVP? I wouldn’t bet on it but he will be a key factor in putting another ring on Manning’s finger.
As for the total in this game it will be a relatively low scoring affair. The total plummeted to as low as 47 in many shops but I have noticed this morning that some offshore books like WilliamHill.com are dealing it at 48 ½. Don’t be nervous, I say better for me – and you if you decide to tail. The Broncos will need time to evaluate Seattle’s defensive nuances and on the flipside the Seahawks will be handing the ball off early and often to Marshawn Lynch, hoping he can move the chains in a ground and pound attack. Perhaps one of my favorite plays is Under 9 ½ in the first-quarter in NFL odds. It will be reminiscent of a feeling out first-round in a heavyweight title fight. But once Manning discovers where Seattle’s weakness lies, he will exploit it and it will be the death knell for Pete Carroll and his boisterous NFC Champions. Final score: Denver 24 Seattle 13.
If you’re still not convinced that the Broncos are the play, just consider the Chinese calendar for 2014. The Year of the Horse!