Sunday 2nd February 2014 will see the 48th Superbowl contested between the top seeds from the AFC and NFC as the Denver Broncos face off against the Seattle Seahawks in what is likely to be an unusually cold, frosty and freezing MetLife Stadium, New Jersey.
Nowadays, the Superbowl is a global event, with over 100 million expected to watch in America alone and countless more worldwide. As such, it is also a huge betting event, with many millions of dollars expected to be wagered on the game across the globe.
In this article, we will preview both teams before taking a look at some of the outstanding bets that you may wish to consider for Superbowl XLVIII.
NFC Champions: Seattle Seahawks (13-3-0)
Stats Pack – Regular Season
Defense – 1st Overall in the NFL, 1st Against the Pass, 7th against the Rush
Offense – 17th Overall in the NFL, 26th in Passing, 4th in Rushing
Stats Pack – Post Season
Defense – 6th Overall in the Postseason, 6st Against the Pass, 5th against the Rush
Offense – 9th Overall in the Postseason, 12th in Passing, 5th in Rushing
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks success has been built on three key elements, a rock solid defense that led the league comfortably, the ability of quarterback Russell Wilson to keep plays alive with his feet and lastly, the power running of Marshawn Lynch.
On defence, the Seahawks have made 28 Interceptions this season, returning 3 for touchdowns with corner Richard Sherman accounting for 8 of those alone. The defence has been effective against the rush too, allowing just over 100 yards per game on average.
On offence, the Seahawks have some potent weapons. Quarterback Russell Wilson may not be an archetypal pocket passer, but his ability to keep plays alive with his feet and throw on the move to his receivers, makes him a dangerous player who needs to be contained.
Marshawn Lynch is a bruising runner between the tackles who is dangerous when he gets open field while Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Zach Miller have carried the load well this season since Sidney Rice was injured in October.
AFC Champions: Denver Broncos (13-3-0)
Stats Pack – Regular Season
Defense – 19th Overall in the NFL, 6th Against the Pass, 25th Against the Rush
Offense – 1st Overall in the NFL, 1st in Passing, 15th in Rushing
Stats Pack – Post Season
Defense – 2nd Overall in Postseason, 7th Against the Pass, 1st Against the Rush
Offense – 4th Overall in the Postseason, 4th in Passing, 8th in Rushing
John Fox’s Denver Broncos have been the league’s most potent office in history and under the stewardship of the genius that is Peyton Manning, the Broncos have progressed through the offseason relatively comfortably.
Any review of the Broncos must start with their potent offence, led by Manning at quarterback. The ex-Colt has enjoyed a new lease of life since John Elway persuaded him to try life in Colorado and he has set numerous offense records throughout the course of this season.
Manning is backed by a serviceable running game featuring Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno as well as a very seep corps of excellent receivers and tight ends including Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker and the powerful Demaryius Thomas.
Given the excellence shown by the offense this season, the Denver defense has been overlooked a little at times, but this is still a very talented group of players, even minus the injured Von Miller. The likes of outside linebacker Danny Trevathan and the experienced Champ Bailey make this a very strong defensive unit.
Superbowl XLVIII – who will prevail?
This is a classic matchup – The top ranked offense (Denver) against the top ranked defense (Seattle), yet it may well be how the 19th ranked defense (Denver) fare up against the 17th ranked offense (Seattle) which ultimately decides the destiny of Superbowl XLVIII.
Even given the quality of cornerback Seattle possess, Denver’s receiving corps provide so many possibilities and there is no better quarterback to exploit this than Peyton Manning.
His coolness under fire will be vital here against a passionate Seattle defense, but I do think the Broncos will rattle up the points even against the top-ranked Seahawks.
Can Seattle’s offense keep up with Manning’s rate of scoring?
Although Wilson is an accomplished player, he doesn’t have the passing talent of Manning, nor the depth of quality at receiver. If the game is close, this may suit Seattle who can rely more on the punishing power of running back Marshawn Lynch, but if the Broncos get ahead in the game and force it into Wilson’s hands, that will suit the Broncos more.
So despite this being a close battle on paper, I strongly fancy the Broncos here to take a comfortable win by 10 or more points.
Top Superbowl Bets to Consider
Skybet are offering over 63 bets on the Superbowl and they are a great place to make a bet. Let’s look at some of the most popular markets and identify some potentially winning bets for this huge global sporting event.
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To Win – Denver (-2.0)
Currently you can get Denver (at -2.0) with Skybet in the handicap market at 10/11 and given the Broncos scoring prowess, even against a top ranked defense, I think this is clearly the better bet than taking Denver to win outright, with no handicap, at a shorter price of 4/5.
MVP – Peyton Manning 10/11
Peyton Manning is the obvious choice here if I suspect a Broncos win but at 10/11, those odds aren’t exactly enticing however he is the standout choice here and even at those odds, Manning is the selection I would make, with perhaps a small wager of a couple of pounds on Wes Welker (40/1).
The reason for this is that Denver’s top receiver, Demaryius Thomas will likely draw coverage from Seattle’s shutdown corner Richard Sherman. As such, I expect Manning to target Welker, Decker and Julius Thomas more often. In that scenario, Welker’s experience in Superbowls with New England, could prove crucial especially in the red zone.
1st Touchdown Scorer – Wes Welker (10/1)
I’m confident that even if Seattle receive the kick off, Denver will be the first to score in this game and once again, my focus turns to slot receivers and tight ends. I think both Wes Welker (10 /1) and Julius Thomas (9/1) are excellent choices for the first goalscorer, with my money probably edging to Welker given his experience in the big game situation.