Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:00 AM
If you’ve been reading our big game previews all through the regular season and the NFL playoffs, you know that we have a true Clash of Titans set for the first cold weather Super Bowl this Sunday at the Meadowlands. The favored Denver Broncos have one of the best offenses in league history (quarterback Peyton Manning threw 55 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions!). The underdog Seattle Seahawks have a defense that could well be the best of the modern era…an era that’s seen its share of truly elite defenses.
The key indicator stats have been painting an accurate picture all season. Let’s see what they say about SUNDAY’S SUPER BOWL SHOWDOWN! (Note that all stats are from the regular season, a format we’ve always used in playoff previews because the January schedules may not balance out)
Won-Lost Records (strength of schedule)
Seattle: 13-3 (#6 schedule in USA today)
Denver: 13-3 (#24 schedule in USA Today)
You know both teams were the #1 seeds. Seattle did that in the superior conference, and faced a significantly tougher schedule. Despite that, the market has made Denver the favorite (still -2 at press time) because the Broncos struck some as being more impressive in January. Were this game played after New Year’s, Seattle probably would have been a slight favorite. JIM HURLEY may or may not be applying this angle on Sunday….but you longtime readers know that postseason success often shines on teams who played tougher regular season slates. They’re more battle tested. They’re better than their stats suggest. This particular category favors Seattle.
Seattle: 5.6 on offense, 4.4 on defense
Denver: 6.3 on offense, 5.3 on defense
Surprisingly, also an advantage in YPP differential to the Seahawks. They had a differential of +1.2 this season, while Denver finished at +1.0. And, if you believe that “Defense Wins Championships” in football, Seattle has a significant edge on that side of the ball. We will say this though…Denver’s defense played better than its full season stats would have suggested down the stretch. And, their defense was very solid in playoff home games against the quality offenses of San Diego and New England. Seattle took a step back on defense from those numbers against New Orleans and San Francisco. Clearly, the market is giving meaningful weight to those developments.
If you believe that turnovers are random, then you might interpret that as Seattle being extremely lucky while Denver was unlucky for a playoff caliber team. If you believe that turnovers are the result of skill sets and schematics…then Seattle would grade out with a huge advantage. This single category is what’s driving the differences between different sets of math-based models. If Seattle can “force” turnovers to the degree a +20 differential suggests, then they should be the favorite. If Seattle’s 13-3 record has been inflated by turnover luck, then Denver might need to be -6 or -7!
Seattle: 11-5 ATS
Denver: 10-5-1 ATS
Both teams did well against the spread this year. And, that’s despite the fact that sportsbooks knew before the season started that they were the favorites to win their conferences. That speaks very highly of both teams. You often hear that lines are stacked against the teams who the public expects to win all the time. These two teams went 21-10-1 in their 32 games despite the lines being stacked against them. A tribute to the pointspread impact that having either a great defense or a great offense can have on the scoreboard.
Current Line: Denver by 2, total 47
There’s plenty of time for this line to move before kickoff. Be sure you monitor market developments all the way to kickoff. The weather forecast could influence game-day thinking. Perhaps this game is destined to blow up in one direction or the other. Denver could win a blowout if Peyton Manning’s big edge in experience helps end Seattle’s “turnover luck” Seattle could win big if “defense wins championships” combines with tough scoring weather to force mistakes from Manning and company.
JIM HURLEY knows this is the single most important betting game of your entire season. He’s been working around the clock with his full TEAM OF EXPERTS to make sure no stone is left unturned! You’ll be able to purchase the final word for the Super Bowl (side, total, propositions) here at the website this weekend with your credit card. If you prefer doing business with a live human, talk to the NETWORK representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
If you’re reading this before the weekend, we hope you’ll consider building your bankroll for SUPER SUNDAY with some great basketball. Every dollar you win before the big game will double or triple up when you cash Sunday’s MONSTERS.
Back with you Monday in the NOTEBOOK as we switch to full-time basketball through the rest of February and all of March. This is our final football report of the season. Thanks for being with us game-by-game through the Fall and Winter. Now it’s time to determine the NFL Champion. WHEN CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE ON THE LINE, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!