This is a game the experts are expecting to be very close. The 1 point spread alone tells us that. We have the two top seeds from each conference, both with 12-4 records. The Patriots were tops in scoring margin at 9.7 while Seattle was second at 8.8. The defending champs against the best franchise of the last 15 years.
Here is a snippet of what I wrote before last years Super Bowl
Before the Championship games the potential Seattle/Denver matchup had Seattle -1. When the games ended some places opened the game at Seattle -1 and others a pk. Within hours the money flooded in on Denver and the line went up to 2.5 and in some spots 3 in favor of Denver. Generally that early money is smart money since the public won’t be betting this game until Sunday. The smart money wants to get the best line they can. They knew the public would be on Denver so getting Denver at a pk had great value. If they like Denver they could keep their bets. If they wanted to bet Seattle they could get a better line and if they wanted to just hedge they could play for a middle with Seattle. This is how the professionals will handle a game like this as opposed to an average bettor.
Sounds a lot like what we are looking at in this Super Bowl. Last season I talked about how Denver became the public favorite because the public loves offense. It is always difficult for the average fan to believe that a great offense can ever be stopped. Even when they are facing a great defense. Like last season I spent this season watching the Conference Championship games at a bar. The great thing about that is you get to hear all of the drunk experts break down the Super Bowl based on what they just watched. If you only watched 2 games all season and they were the two games last week then clearly New England is the best team. Some of the things I heard were, “New England can blow you out”, “Wilson is horrible and the Seahawks should have lost”, “Nobody can stop Gronk”. With every New England TD the pro Patriots sentiment grew. Being out in the public watching the games is like trading in the pits. You can stare at screens all day but hearing and feeling what is going on with the traders can be even more valuable at times.
The guys at Cold Hard Football Facts showed the significance in passer rating differential and winning championships. This season both teams were pretty close with Seattle having a slight edge, 14.73 – 13.55, over New England. Seattle holds the advantage in defensive PRD while New England the advantage in offensive PRD. I looked at all Super Bowls since the merger and the team with the better PRD has won 27 of 44. Teams with a better defensive passer rating went 29-14. The 2011 super bowl between the Giants and New England was a tie in the defensive PRD stat. There’s been 23 games in which one team had the offensive advantage and the other the defensive advantage. In those games the defense is 16-7.
Another group of stats I like to look at are yards per rush and yards per pass both offense and defense.
|Year||Team||YPR Rank||YPP Rank||DYPR Rank||DYPP Rank||Combined Pass Rank||Combined Rush Rank|
As you can see Seattle is dominant here. Last season Seattle was 1 in YPR, 7 in YPP, 2 in DYPR, and 2 in DYPP. The passing rankings drop a little this season but their ability to control the ball running it with Lynch and Wilson as well as stop other teams from running is unparalleled.
If New England were to win they would rank 44th in combined YPP ranking and 38 in combined YPR rankings. There has never been a team to not rank in the single digits in one of these categories to win the Super Bowl. New England is trying to be the first.
This is the 3nd largest differential in cumulative YPR and YPP in the Super Bowl. The largest differential was 1999 St Louis over Tennessee. The second was New England in 2001 upsetting that same St. Louis team.
New England played 7 games against teams in the top 10 in offensive YPR. They went 2-5 ATS. Seattle is by far the best team in this category averaging a full .6 yards more than the second best team. When facing teams in the top 10 in YPR defensively they are 2-4 ATS. Seattle is 2 overall in this stat.
The only other team to appear in both top 10’s who played the Patriots are the Jets. The two things the Jets were able to do was run the ball and stop the run. In both games with the Patriots the Jets had a chance to win outright. Lack of a QB and turnovers kept them from pulling off an upset but they did cash ATS twice. Seattle does what the Jets do except they do it better and they have a QB who does not turn it over. Look at the two boxscores from Oct 16 and Dec 21. This will give you a good idea of what to look for in the Super Bowl.
My model is expecting Seattle to rush for 251 and New England just 70. Much of that yardage will come from Russel Wilson. The Patriots will have no answer for him. Wilson will not turn the ball over like he did against Green Bay. Expect Seattle to win the turnover battle. New England will out pas Seattle but not by as much as many believe.
The Patriots are currently getting twice as much money as the Seahawks. That is a large number for a Super Bowl. Super Bowls tend to be close to 50/50. Of course last season we saw lopsided betting as well in the favor of Denver. My numbers, which are strictly based on performance this season, have Seattle as a 1 point favorite. Pretty much in line with what the initial line was in Vegas. Some had that even higher before the Patriot money poured in. I do not think the books want to expose themselves to a big middle so I think we may have seen the most we are going to get out of Seattle. You should easily find Seattle at +1 and in some places you still may get +2. No real harm in waiting if you think it goes higher. If you are stuck with pk it should not matter. Games do not typically land on 1. Either way the line will probably be meaningless.
The dogs have done well as of late going 12-6-2 ATS in the last 20 Super Bowls. We will see if that trend can continue. Seattle +1.