NFL’s finest showpiece hits Phoenix on Sunday night
It’s finally here! Super Bowl 49, which will played from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, has the potential to be one of the most enthralling Super Bowls in recent memory when all said and done.
This game has already put us odds makers in a quandary; The Seahawks, who are the defending champions of the league, opened as two-point favourites but most sportsbooks now have the Patriots a one point favourites. The over/under line has shifted downwards slightly to 47.5, after opening a point higher last week, which illustrates how tight this game looks to be on paper.
There’s also a bit of controversy headed into the contest, with the “Deflategate” issue that presents a cloud over the New England franchise. Will it affect the outcome?
Here’s some interesting stats and facts to consider before betting on Super Bowl XLIX
Fact: Seattle is the 17th team to reach Super Bowl after having number one scoring defense in regular season. Previous 16 teams won 13 of those contests.
Fact: New England has covered against the spread 57% of the time under coach Bill Belichick.
Fact: The NFC (of which Seattle belongs) is 6-1 against the spread in the last seven Super Bowls.
Fact: Underdogs, which Seattle is, are 10-3 against the spread in the last 13 games.
Fact: The last 24 times Seattle was an underdog they have gone 19-4-1.
Fact: 19 times a team made a repeat trip to the Super Bowl and only five times has that team been an underdog. However in all five games, that returning underdog has lost the game straight up and against the spread.
Fact: The Patriots have gone 1-5-1 against the spread in the franchise’s seven Super Bowl appearances.
Disbarring some freak occurrence, Tom Brady will have appeared in a record six Super Bowls but hasn’t emerged victorious since 2005. On the other side, Russell Wilson will be the youngest quarterback to appear in back-to-back Super Bowls.
Traditionally, top defences (which the Seahawks are — they led the league in yards allowed and points allowed) beat top offenses, which New England ranks 11th in the league in offense. New England was no slouch on defence either, ranking 13th in the league.
For the Patriots to score more than 24 points or so they will need a big time game from their tight end Rob Gronkowski, a nightmare matchup even for Seattle’s awesome secondary.
Green Bay, whom they barely beat, did find some open spaces in Seattle’s three-man press with their tight ends. New England also has some speedy slot receivers in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola that could give Seattle pause.
Since the ballhawking Seattle defence wants teams to try to attack it through the air, New England would be best served by mustering up some type rushing attack with LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray and Shane Vereen. Seattle’s run defence is almost as good as their pass defence.
If New England can’t run the ball then Pete Carroll will devise all sorts of creative ways to make Tom Brady uncomfortable.
On the flipside, Seattle’s wide receivers don’t particularly scare opposing secondaries. They have some speed with Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette that can wreak havoc if Russell Wilson starts scrambling around and buying time.
But they almost lost to the Packers with their dropped and tipped passes in the conference championship game. Seattle can’t expect to line up and pound the Patriots defence into submission so either Wilson will need to scramble or one of their tight ends do some damage.
Although the patriots struggled against the run early in the season, they have gotten a lot better upfront We know Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the game, but Darrell Revis is arguably the second best.
The only difference is Sherman is banged up (elbow)and only covers a certain side of the field, whereas the Patriots line up Revis on the opposing team’s best receivers –which in this case will be the steady Doug Baldwin.
Surest Bet for Seattle: Marshawn Lynch is a lock to score a touchdown in this game. He’s physical and always runs downhill and the Seahawks will always give him plenty of carries.
Surest Bet for New England: Tight end Rob Gronkowski should be a lock to score a touchdown in this game as Seattle typically doesn’t switch up their defence.
With such a tight contest, we don’t anticipate a high-scoring affair, this game looks to be more in line with a 23–20-type game. These two teams squared off in 2012, with the Seahawks beating the Patriots 24–23. We expect the same type of affair Sunday night.
Seattle’s passing attack will need to make some plays down the field to keep the New England defence honest. Although he did not rush for many yards against the Packers, his speed at the quarterback position will test the Patriots run defence, particularly on the zone read play.
For the Patriots, they have some advantages they should exploit. For all of the praise attached to Seattle’s playing making secondary, they do struggle with smaller, quicker receivers. They did not look particularly good against the New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham.
The BetBright Super Bowl Verdict
A tight affair for certain, the smart money could be had in backing the The Seahawks -2 on the 3-way Handicap @ 21/20.
Super Bowl XLIX gets underway at 11.30pm UK time on Sunday, February 1st.