The Seahawks and Broncos could surprise everyone and go over the total on Super Bowl Sunday, but the smarter and more percentage-based choice is to take the under on the football betting lines. Three reasons follow:
1. Russell Wilson
Everyone will be talking about the weather as the big reason for the under, but the forecasts are somewhat uncertain right now and might not present the weather-based disaster many people have been worrying about. The biggest reasons to go with the under in this game are related to the players and teams and the matchups they present.
The biggest reason this game will go under is Russell Wilson, a quarterback who has not played particularly well in any game since a Dec. 2 Monday night game against the New Orleans Saints. Wilson has struggled to hit slant passes. He has been fumble-prone. He has not outraced linebackers and defensive linemen on the edge. He has not run for 20- or 30-yard gains very often. He has been nervous, especially late in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. He has not made a lot of plays in the red zone, where the Seahawks have been forced to settle for field goals on most occasions over the past month and a half. If Wilson doesn’t substantially improve his level of play, Seattle will be in deep trouble against Denver’s defense and this game will stay under the NFL betting line.
2. Denver’s Defense
Seattle’s defense isn’t the only defense that’s playing well right now. Denver didn’t give up more than 17 points in either of its two AFC playoff games. The Broncos played with great physicality and focus, shaking off a so-so December in which they looked quite vulnerable. Denver is doing this with backups at a lot of positions, so it’s not as though this defense should be seen as a unit that can’t match up with Seattle. A lot of people thought this defense would fall apart without Von Miller and Kevin Vickerson, and that it would not play well against New England in the AFC title game with cornerback Chris Harris out. Yet, whenever someone has gotten injured, the Broncos’ backups have been ready in the playoffs. The Broncos stuffed New England’s running game in the AFC title tilt, so Denver has a good chance of bottling up Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch in this game. If it can do so, Seattle won’t score more than 17 points, and quite possibly no more than 13.
3. Seattle’s Secondary
An obvious reason why this game won’t go over is that Seattle’s secondary is the best in the league. The Seahawks can outmuscle Denver’s receivers and knock the Broncos’ pass catchers off balance. Indianapolis beat Denver during the regular season by playing physically against Denver’s receivers, and it took the Broncos three quarters to truly figure out the Colts’ approach. If Seattle can overpower Denver on the perimeter, Peyton Manning could throw a lot of passes that he thinks will lead to good results… only to find that the Seattle corner or safety is in a better position to catch the ball when it arrives. The Seahawks could easily get two or three interceptions against Manning by dominating the positional matchup in the secondary against Denver’s talented receiving corps. This is something to watch on Super Sunday.