This season’s Super Bowl reminds me of the same situation last year. The Seahawks needed good fortune to sneak out a home win the NFC Championship against San Francisco. This year they were on the right result of a Packers collapse but Seattle was unimpressive for 55 minutes. Last year the Broncos dominated the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Two weeks ago New England defeated Indianapolis in even more convincing fashion.
I remember the day after Seattle and Denver advanced, I strongly leaned towards taking the Broncos in the Super Bowl. I overreacted to what I saw from one weekend of games and my initial thoughts favored Denver. The point spread for this Super Bowl also reacted to what happened in Championship Weekend. If I remember correctly, Denver went from about a field goal underdog to a field goal favorite in the days following their AFC Championship win. The more I thought about it the more I started to like the Seahawks because they were the better defense and there was line value. I ended up picking Seattle and got that game right even though I didn’t predict a blowout.
This year I had the same thoughts after the Patriots and Seahawks advanced. I was leaning towards the Patriots especially if they were going to be a three-point underdog, which was the line before Championship Weekend. Just like in 2014 the line moved in the Patriots favor and now they are the favorites. When the line moved so much I changed by opinion and started to heavily favor Seattle. I’m going to pick Seattle for this game and here is what I think will happen in the game:
The Seahawks will slow the game down early. It happens every Super Bowl where the teams are very conservative and then usually opens up in the second half. I think the Seahawks win run the ball early and often, and will make sure that Russell Wilson makes safe throws after this NFC Championship Game disaster. Seattle will look to keep New England’s offense off the field in the first half. I think the Seahawks will talk an early lead into halftime. Then the Patriots will come out throwing in the second half while trailing. They will try to beat the Seahawks through the air and basically ditch the running game like they did against Baltimore in the Divisional Round. In the end I think the Patriots will fall short and the Seahawks will win back-to-back Super Bowls. Here are player props that I like that are correlated to how I think the game will turn out:
LeGarrette Blount under 62.5 total rushing yards and under 14.5 rushing attempts: I think the Patriots will be looking to throw the ball in this game and Blount might not even see much of the field if New England starts to trail. Even if New England wants to run, Blount might not be the featured back. These totals are an overreaction to his fine performance against Indianapolis.
Tom Brady (-5.5) more completions and (-9.5) more passing attempts than Russell Wilson: I think the Patriots will throw a lot leading to completions and attempts by Brady. Wilson will be restricted and there will be plenty of carries by Seattle, which leads me to…
Marshawn Lynch over 20.5 rushing attempts: Lynch is the key to the Seahawks offense. He was even getting carries when the Seahawks were chasing the lead against Green Bay. I think this prop makes a lot of sense based on my handicap on this game.
Doug Baldwin under 54.5 receiving yards: I’m guessing that Baldwin will be covered by Darrelle Revis. Baldwin had 66 yards in last year’s Super Bowl but I think he will be the focus for the New England secondary.
These are the six player props I like the most. I was very selective because New England is a tough team to figure out. It’s hard to say which receiving threat will get most of the yards. Since I think the Patriots will be throwing the ball a lot, I don’t feel comfortable taking any of their receivers on the under. If I had to pick one I would say Brandon LaFell under 50.5 yards because he might draw coverage from Richard Sherman. However, if New England is throwing a lot there is a chance LaFell can break a few big gains.
Here are team props I like in the game:
Under 9.5 total first quarter points
Under 24 first half points
There will be more points scored in the second half + overtime than first half
The Patriots will score more points in the second half + overtime than first half
Longshot player prop: Luke Wilson to score the first touchdown in the game (14/1)
Final pick: Seahawks (+2) over Patriots