Super Bowl Propstravaganza

http://www.thechiefly.com/features/super-bowl-xlviii-propstravaganza/

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The weekend has finally arrived, which means that it’s time to focus on the game going down in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday. (I…I mean New York City! I’m sorry, please don’t sue us Mr. Goodell!) And who better to bring you a preview of the Super Bowl than a nervous train-wreck of a human being Broncos fan? A fan who will be at the game on Sunday because he is blessed with good friends and good luck.

There is a downside to this incredible experience because if Denver loses, there is a 20% chance that I may just never come back from New Jersey. If this is the last column you ever see from me, well, then that means that the city of Seattle is in a pretty good mood.

Oh well, time to think happy thoughts! It is the Super Bowl after all and, regardless of your allegiance, you have to enjoy the day because it’s an unofficial American holiday. One that brings us closer together before we retreat back to our corners and bicker until next Christmas, so let’s get to our game preview, which we’ll be doing through the always entertaining assortment of Super Bowl prop bets.

Seattle Seahawks

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Russell Wilson – UNDER 27.5 Pass Attempts

Our first bet is based strictly on historical tendencies. The 2007 Giants stopped Tom Brady’s juggernaut by simply keeping the ball away from him and sustaining long drives which, for the most part, has been the basic blueprint teams have used against the 2013 Broncos. The Seahawks offense isn’t focused on short passes; it thrives off of Wilson’s ability to either make a play with his feet and exploit a one-on-one matchup on the outside, or to deliver a quick strike down the seam. In lieu of quick hooks, slants, and outs to chew up clock, the Broncos will see a heavy dose of both Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin on Sunday.

Russell Wilson – OVER 32.5 Total Rushing Yards

Whichever team turns the ball over the most will probably lose this game. Wilson is already fairly conservative for a young quarterback, and he should only become more so when the best quarterback in the league is standing across the field from him. Losing Von Miller really hurts the Broncos defense in this area, as Danny Trevathan is now the only player in the Denver front seven who can conceivably match up with Wilson’s athleticism and smarts.

Russell Wilson – YES he will score a rushing TD (+400)*

Pot roast, meet Skittles. Football is weird. Denver will most certainly key in on the battering ram in Seattle’s backfield all day, which leaves them vulnerable to the read option in goal-to-go situations. I think Wilson keeps it and takes it into the endzone at least once.

*(+400) means that if I bet $100, I would win $400. If it were (-400), I would need to bet $400 in order to win $100.

Marshawn Lynch – OVER 21.5 Total Rushing Attempts

You really think that Pete Carroll is going to put his first Super Bowl appearance solely on his 2nd year quarterback’s shoulders? C’mon, he’s a little loony, but he’s not that crazy.

Marshawn Lynch – OVER 14.5 Total Receiving Yards

Marshawn Lynch – OVER 2 Total Receptions

This plays into the conservatism of Russell Wilson; he’ll check down against a 2 deep zone all day. The fact that Lynch is bigger and stronger than everyone at the 2nd and 3rd level of the Denver defense also might have something to do with this bet.

Seattle’s success on offense will come down to whether or not they can establish the edge in their run game since Terrance Knighton has been a one man wrecking crew in the middle all year. Getting Lynch involved in the short passing game is a good way to loosen the ends of the defense in order to set up the run later in the game.

Percy Harvin – UNDER 3.5 Total Receptions

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie turned into a top ten cornerback in the NFL under the tutelage of John Fox and Jack Del Rio. He has the size to match up with Harvin (DRC is 6’2” 193 lbs, Harvin is 5’11”184 lbs) and the speed (he ran a 4.29 second 40 yard dash to Harvin’s 4.41 at the combine; for the uninitiated, DRC ran about 19 mph, Usain Bolt at his absolute best was clocked at 28). I think you’ll see Harvin’s biggest impact in this game come on the ground.

Percy Harvin – YES he will have a Rushing Attempt (-200)

Doug Baldwin – UNDER 41.5 Total Receiving Yards

Baldwin primarily plays out of the slot. He’s a solid receiver, and he has a knack for making big time catches. But he’s nothing special. Champ Bailey is Denver’s new slot corner, and he’s the healthiest he’s been after basically missing the entire season. This bet is a vote of confidence that one of the best cornerbacks of the past two decades will rise to the occasion in his first Super Bowl.

Zach Miller – OVER 26.5 Total Receiving Yards

Checkdowns, security blankets, pacifiers. I’m not saying that Russell Wilson is Linus from Charlie Brown, I just don’t think that we’ll see many downfield passes thrown by the Seahawks in the first three quarters. This bet is my Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week.

Steven Hauschka – OVER 1.5 Total Field Goals Made

Denver’s defense has figured some things out over the past few weeks, and the return of a healthy Champ Bailey has dramatically improved the communication in the secondary. This may be my homer tendencies talking, but I think we’ll see the defense stall a few good Seattle drives inside the red zone.

Russell Wilson – 1st Player to Score a TD (+1800)

If you haven’t noticed by now, my nightmares have been filled with nothing but Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch read options for the last two weeks.

Zach Miller (+25.5) Receiving Yards vs Julius Thomas

Seattle has been shutting down tight ends all year and I’ve already laid out my case for Russell Wilson’s checkdownapalooza. Take the yards and thank me later.

Earl Thomas – YES He Will Intercept a Pass (+250)

If you’re looking for the best value in Seattle’s secondary, this is the guy. He plays center field better than anyone else in the league, and if there’s one spot where Peyton Manning’s “ducks” could become an issue, it’s down the middle of the field.

You know what? I don’t like talking about this, let’s move on to the Broncos props. Those are much more fun.

Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning – Longest Completion OVER 35.5 Yards

Despite all the nonsense about “cold weather” and wobbly footballs, no one succeeded because of the deep ball more than Peyton Manning this year. This line could easily be covered by a screen pass to Demaryius Thomas, or sending him on a go route against Richard Sherman (Sherman’s biggest weakness is dealing with speedy receivers, Crabtree had him beat at the end of the NFC Championship, Kaepernick just underthrew the ball). Either way, Peyton will force the ball down field at some point, and Demaryius has a history of extending pass plays in the playoffs. I like this bet.

Peyton Manning – YES He Will Throw a 3rd Quarter TD Pass (+150)

The Broncos were down 17-14 at halftime to Baltimore before going on to win 49-27 in week 1. Ten days later, they were leading 10-9 at half at MetLife Stadium before beating the Giants 41-23. This was a recurring theme with the Denver offense this season. No one seemed to benefit from halftime adjustments more so than the Broncos and Peyton is probably the reason.

Knowshon Moreno – OVER 14.5 Rushing Attempts

Confession: I’m being a complete homer on this one. I’m betting this line because a world exists in my head where the Broncos win 105-0 and Brock Osweiler chips in with 4 touchdowns.

Demaryius Thomas – OVER 75.5 Receiving Yards

This just feels like a game where the Broncos will ride their best receiver. Seattle’s secondary is well suited to Decker’s size-speed combination and they have been shutting down tight ends all year. That leaves Demaryius Thomas as the guy that has to stretch the defense for Welker and everyone else underneath. Peyton will take at least one big shot to DT down the field, which could cover 2/3 of this line by itself.

Wes Welker – OVER 5.5 Total Receptions

Welker’s role in the offense is odd. It’s like he doesn’t exist in the passing game on first and second downs (however, he has been a key blocker in their running game this year), but on third downs and in the red zone, Peyton leans on him more than anyone else. Given that they are facing one of the best defenses in recent memory, I’m guessing that the Broncos will find themselves in more than one 3rd down and passing situation.

Champ Bailey – YES He Will Intercept a Pass (+500)

This is a sports rule of mine: Do not underestimate great players when it comes down to one game, regardless of their age or abilities; anyone can play well for 60 minutes. Especially 35-year-old future hall of famers who have never played in a Super Bowl.

Trindon Holliday – 1st Player to Score a TD (+7500)

There is no point in betting one of the Broncos receivers to win this one since they’re all the same lottery ticket (whomever gets open first gets the ball). Maybe you can take Montee Ball at (+1500) or Zach Miller at (+2000) and feel smart, but on an essentially random bet like this, you have to play for real upside.

Trindon Holliday must have the highest percentage ever of kick and punt returns that end in either a fumble or a touchdown, and the Broncos have relegated him to kick returns after dropping roughly 104,562 punts this year (that’s not an official number, it’s just my personal count).

He’s a small man, and a world-class sprinter. If he can hold on to the football for the entire 100 yards, it doesn’t take much of a seam to send him off to the races, since you can’t see him in between the big dudes blocking down field. Hey, the last time Peyton won a Super Bowl, the game opened with a kick return for a touchdown, a guy can dream.

Peyton Manning to win MVP (+120)

Why the hell would you bet the Broncos straight up at (-135) to win the Super Bowl when you can bet the same thing with Manning to win the MVP at (+120)? Seriously, how bad would Peyton have to play in a win for someone else on the Broncos to take this award home?

Demaryius Thomas OVER 149.5 Receiving Yards (+1600)

If you’re wondering why I keep coming back to DT in these bets, well, have you seen this guy run?

There are exactly zero players like Demariyus Thomas in this game. He needs to be special if the Broncos are going to win.

Bets for Degenerates

Peyton Manning Passing Yards (+0.5) vs Big 10 Basketball Teams Points on Sunday

One of my favorite parts about Super Bowl weekend is looking at these ridiculous cross-sport props. I like the idea of betting on Peyton, and against B1G offenses no matter the sport.

Demaryius Thomas Receptions (-0.5) vs Number of Tiger Woods Birdies on Sunday

Now I can take some of the edge off before the game by yelling at Tiger on TV during every birdie putt.

UNDER 28.5 times Peyton Manning says the word “Omaha”

I have some inside information that he will change his snap cadence in the Super Bowl to “Papa John’s Online Special…Order Now! and Get 20% off Your Next Order! Brought to you by Buick! hut-hut!”

What can I say? The man is good at capitalism.

OVER 47.5 Nielsen Rating for the Super Bowl

C’mon America, don’t let me down on this one. Do you really have anything better to do? It’s the Super Bowl! Plus, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on right afterwards! It won some Golden Globes! That means something, right?

YES, One of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be shirtless during the Halftime Show (+200)

At first I wanted to bet the flip side of this since they’re old. But then I thought of Flea, and yeah, Flea is awesome, but he’s a crazy person. I’m just hoping that he’ll be wearing some type of cloth over his body. As far as Bruno Mars goes, I’d be fine if he stayed in the locker room and they just played this Pandora skit with him on the jumbotron instead.

The Game

OVER 48 Total Points

Yes, over is typically a “fish” bet since inexperienced gamblers just want to root for an entertaining game, but I still think that this is the right pick because Peyton will certainly generate points with two weeks to prepare, and Denver’s defense is not as good as it has looked lately. Seattle will move the ball, and both teams will score over 20 points.

Denver (-2.5) over Seattle

Considering that if they lose I may be buried in East Rutherford, I can’t go against my hometown team. But the sober, analytic gambler inside of me also sides with my childhood biases (ever so slightly, this game is really close).

Something happened to the NFL this year and sure, passing has been on the rise, but it jumped to a new level in 2013. I mean, Mike Glennon and Nick Foles are possible franchise quarterbacks now. Great aerial attacks seemed to get a much bigger advantage this season, and the Broncos are the foremost example of the benefits of these new rule changes and the improvements to the passing game in general. They just have too many dangerous weapons for Seattle to defend, not to mention the savant conducting the entire orchestra.

Tom Jackson summarized Seattle’s play-calling strategy on SportsCenter this week, providing us with the best reason as to why Denver will win this game:

“They don’t just let you look at their mail, they show it to you.”

Seattle’s now legendary 3 deep zone (with Earl Thomas as the keystone) is incredibly effective, especially when Pete Carroll has the players to dominate. But for all the talk about Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and the rest of the Seahawks great secondary, they can’t be everywhere at once.

There will be an opening somewhere on the field, and Manning simply moves the football to whatever area is not occupied by the defense. Since Peyton will know exactly what is coming from the Seahawks on nearly every down, he can get the offense into the right play most of the time, and the Broncos have far too many skilled receivers on the outside for Seattle to contend with. Denver’s defense will seal the deal at the end, stiffening in the red zone again to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to the Mile High City.

Broncos win 31-23.

Jacob Weindling
Pure bred Coloradan with a dash of Masshole (go UMass). Sports and politics junkie. If I've learned one thing in life to this point, it's that stupid loses more games than smart wins.
Jacob Weindling
Jacob Weindling

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