NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$5,580) NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$5,760) NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,925) NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$6,080) NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$3,370) NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my
Sports Betting FAQ.
Vegas betting action updated Feb. 2, 4:10 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
Seattle Seahawks (15-3) vs. Denver Broncos (15-3) Line: Broncos by 3. Total: 47.5. Walt's Calculated Line: Seahawks -3.5.
Sunday, Feb. 2, 6:30 ET
At MetLife Stadium, New Jersey
Discuss Playoff Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Seahawks.
WEEK 20 RECAP: I split the two conference championship games, but was still able to finish in the black because of my four-unit play on Seattle. I lost one unit on the Patriots, as Tom Brady sucked big time.
Speaking of great quarterbacks underachieving, I took a look back at all of the Super Bowls since the 2000 season and wondered how the perceived better signal-caller fared in the NFL game of the season. The results were surprising, to say the least:
2000 - Kerry Collins over Trent Dilfer: Loss SU, Loss ATS
2001 - Kurt Warner over Tom Brady: Loss SU, Loss ATS
2002 - Rich Gannon over Brad Johnson: Loss SU, Loss ATS
2003 - Tom Brady over Jake Delhomme: Win SU, Loss ATS
2004 - Tom Brady over Donovan McNabb: Win SU, Loss ATS
2005 - (Ben Roethlisberger in second year and Matt Hasselbeck considered even)
2006 - Peyton Manning over Rex Grossman: Win SU, Win ATS
2007 - Tom Brady over Eli Manning: Loss SU, Loss ATS
2008 - (Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner considered even)
2009 - Peyton Manning over Drew Brees: Loss SU, Loss ATS
2010 - Aaron Rodgers over Ben Roethlisberger: Win SU, Win ATS
2011 - Tom Brady over Eli Manning: Loss SU, Loss ATS
2012 - Colin Kaepernick over Joe Flacco: Loss SU, Loss ATS
2013 - Peyton Manning over Russell Wilson: ??? SU, ??? ATS
Isn't it odd that the perceived superior quarterback is 4-7 straight up and 2-9 against the spread since 2000? If you exclude the one with the widest disparity (Peyton Manning over turnover-machine Grossman), the numbers are 3-7 SU and 1-9 ATS!
So, why is this? Well, there could be a few reasons. First, public bettors love offense, so they're more inclined to go with the better signal-caller, thus pushing up the spread. Second, just because a team has the edge at quarterback doesn't mean that they have a better overall roster. Defense and offensive line play tend to get ignored when stars like Brady and Manning are involved.
And lastly, some of these "inferior" quarterbacks have been underrated. No one knew how great Brady would become back in 2001. Meanwhile, Eli Manning and Flacco have the ability to come through in the clutch. Sounds like a certain Seattle signal-caller playing in this matchup...
My Super Bowl XLVIII pick will be posted Wednesday. I'll have props then as well. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
VEGAS UPDATE: The sportsbooks took three consecutive beatings prior to Championship Sunday, but they were able to win some money back with the Seahawks covering in a shady game. However, it wasn't a completely lucrative weekend because every single teaser cashed in.
If you didn't catch it, a reminder that Jerks of the Week for Jan. 27, 2013 is up, so just click the link. This week's jerks entry is about Just Wright, a crappy movie starring Queen Latifah and Common.
HATE MAIL: Another week, another stack of hate mails. These are from the comment boards on this page or in the NFL Power Rankings:
Walterrible loves the seahawks so that means we all need to pound the niners! I love the niners plus the points in this one. they have way more weapons on offense and the defenses are equal. I would love to know who walt is referring to when he says sharps? whats the definition of a sharp? Is it some club? Is walt considered to be a sharp? You could flip a coin and do better than Walt at picking games lol. Denver 35 New England 31 San fran 27 Seattle 17
I love this handicapping strategy: Just pick the team with "way more weapons on offense" each time, and you'll win lots of gold!
Why why why why why why why DOES WALTER ALWAYS GOES AGAINST THE NINERS?? do u work for Vegas Walt!!?!?!!
Did that question really need half the text in caps followed by five exclamation marks? And I wish I worked for Vegas! If anyone in Vegas is reading this, please e-mail me and I'll send you my resume.
Hahahahaha @ Clete blakeman theory nonsense, 49ers cover and win #suckitr
#suckitr? I've heard of "suck it" before, but not "suck it r." What is this r? How do you suck on it?
This is just great. Not only did the Patriots blow it yet again but now we get more of Walters abysmal "comedy". Just shoot me.
I'm sure we can arrange someone to point a gun to your head, but why? Just because you don't have a sense of humor and can't understand my comedic gold doesn't mean you should want to end your life!
Anyway, this week on FOX, we're going to have Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling the shots instead of the great preseason homers like Kevin Reilly and Don Tollefson, inept ESPN guys Emmitt, Herman Edwards and Matt Millen, annoying men like Charles Davis and senile individuals like Bob Greise. Here's what it would sound like if those seven clowns (and some special guests) were calling this game:
Buck: Welcome to Super Bowl XLVIII where the Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks. I'm Joe Buck, and I will continue to talk in monotone even though this is the biggest game of the year. I'm here with Troy Aikman. Troy, you have the No. 1 offense versus the No. 1 defense. Who has the edge?
Aikman: I completely agree, Joe. The San Francisco 49ers are a very dangerous team with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, and on the other side, you have Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens.
Buck: Whoops, the Troy Aikman machine is calibrated to February 2013 instead of February 2014. Hold on a second...
Aikman: I completely agree, Joe. The London Footblokes are a very dangerous team with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, and on the other side, you have Robert Quinn and the Los Angeles Rams.
Buck: Damn it, I set the year for 2021. Wait... I got it...
Aikman: I completely agree, Joe. The Denver Broncos are a very dangerous team with Peyton Manning at quarterback, and on the other side, you have Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks.
Buck: It's great to have you with us in the right year, Troy... Wait, who are these people?
Emmitt: Joe Bucks, the trick to get Troy Aikmans on the right year is to add oil you can buy at gas station and fill him up at the same times each week.
Reilly: Don't tell him your tricks, Emmitt. He's our competition! F*** you, Joe Buck. If you were worth anything, you'd be more than a Buck. You'd be Joe Millionaire instead of Joe Buck. And screw your robot friend too.
Millen: Joe Millionaire! Now that's a show that really hit the spot 10 years ago. It was a reality TV show where a guy pretended to be a millionaire yet he was really nobody. I didn't care about the money though. I dressed up like a woman and was one of the contestants. All I wanted was to insert some kielbasas into Joe Millionaire's backside, but I was voted off in the first episode!
Tollefson: Millen, you fat pig, of course you got voted off. I plan on having a reality show soon too. It'll be called Which Woman Wants to Cook and Clean for Me Naked the Most? You better not show up as a contestant, or I'll have the local newspapers write a story about how you have an STD in your anus.
Millen: No, anything but that Tolly! I promise I'll be good. Besides, you're not 100-percent USDA Man anyway. According to my kielbasa sextant you're only 63.5 -percent USDA Man.
Millen: I think it deducts percentages if you swindle old people in fake charities, but I'm not sure how this magical item works.
Tollefson: I didn't swindle anyone! The timeshares were real, I swear! Hey Joe Buck, want to buy some of my timeshares? You can own a mansion part-time in the Bahamas for only $99.95 per month.
Buck: I only go to Wyoming on vacation because it's very exciting there.
Davis: Did you know that Wyoming is the 10th-most extensive state in the U.S., Kevin? Did you know it's the second-least densely populated state, Kevin? Do you know what the capital of Wyoming is, Kevin? It's Cheyenne, Kevin. Want to guess what the population of Cheyenne is, Kevin? I'll give you multiple choice, OK Kevin? Is it A) Five people, Kevin? B) Twenty people, Kevin? C) 91,378 people, Kevin? Or D) One zillion people, Kevin? Did you choose A, Kevin? Nope, guess again, Kevin. How about B, Kevin? That's not right either, Kevin. I'll give you one more chance, Kevin. You say D, Kevin? One zillion isn't even a real number, Kevin. OK, I'll give you one more shot, Kevin. You think it's C, Kevin? That's absolutely right, Kevin, how did you guess?
Reilly: Charles Davis, you don't know how glad I am that it's the final game of the season because I just can't take it anymore. The next person who annoys me is going to get suffocated in their sleep tonight. I have a headache from this long year, and I just want some peace and quiet.
Edwards: DID SOMEONE SAY A ZILLION ISN'T A REAL NUMBER!? DID I HEAR SOMEONE SAY IT ISN'T A REAL NUMBER!? I HEARD THE WORDS THAT IT ISN'T A REAL NUMBER! IT IS A REAL NUMBER! HERM CAN PROVE IT'S A REAL NUMBER! HERM HAS EVIDENCE THAT IT'S A REAL NUMBER! I CAN SHOW YOU THAT IT'S A REAL NUMBER! ARE YOU READY TO SEE THAT IT'S A REAL NUMBER!? ARE YOU READY TO DISCOVER THAT IT'S A REAL NUMBER!? BE PREPARED TO LEARN THAT IT'S A REAL NUMBER! GET READY TO FIND OUT THAT IT'S NOT AN IMAGINARY NUMBER! BECAUSE IMAGINARY IS SOMETHING YOU CAN'T SEE! IMAGINARY IS SOMETHING YOU IMAGINE! IMAGINARY NUMBERS DON'T MAKE ANY SENSE! BECAUSE YOU CAN'T SEE IT! IF YOU WRITE DOWN A NUMBER YOU CAN SEE IT! SO THEN IT DOESN'T BECOME IMAGINARY! THE IMAGINARY BECOMES REAL! THE REAL HAS BECOME THE IMAGINARY! I MEAN THE IMAGINARY HAS BECOME THE REAL! AND REAL IS REAL! REAL IS... REAL IS... WHAT'S REAL? HERM FORGOT WHAT HE WAS SAYING IS REAL? SO IS THIS REAL? ARE THESE REAL WORDS COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH? OR ARE THEY IMAGINARY? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T SEE! YOU CAN'T SEE THE WORDS! YOU CAN'T SEE SO IT'S NOT IMAGINARY! I MEAN IT'S NOT REAL! I mean... uhh... umm...
Reilly: I HATE YOU HERM! I HATE YOU AND I HOPE YOU DIE IN A FIRE! I CAN'T TAKE ANOTHER SEASON WITH YOU!
Reilly takes out a shotgun. He loads a shell and blasts it toward Herm. Unfortunately, his accuracy was off the mark, and it struck Troy Aikman in the forehead.
Aikman: I completely agree, Joe. The San Francisco 49ers are a very dangerous team with Joe Montana at quarterback, and on the other side, you have the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana at quarterback, and on the other side, you have the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana at quarterback, and on the other side, you have the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana at quarterback, and on the other side, you have the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana at quarterback, and on the other side, you have the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana at quarterback, and on the other side, you have the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana at quarterback, and on the other side, you have the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana at quarterback, and...
Buck: You a**hole, now our Troy Aikman machine is on an infinite loop!
Reilly: So you're saying there won't be any change in his announcing abilities? Ha! Suck it Joe and Troy! We'll be back after a word from our local sponsors!
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2015): -$580
2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,291-2,116-129, 52.0% (+$8,150) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 741-668-34 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 305-267-13 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 1,823-1,765-51 (50.8%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 33-22 (60.0%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.
1. This weather doesn't favor the Seahawks, but it's not going to change my pick. As I said, if Peyton Manning struggles, it won't be because of the conditions; it'll be because of Seattle's dominant defense.
2. There is a TON of late, sharp money on the Seahawks. The spread has dropped to Broncos -1.5 or -2 in various places (but still -3 at Bovada) despite lots of money on Denver. The wise guys and the sportsbooks will all be hoping that Seattle cashes. Do you want to be on their side, or the one where casual bettors and brain-dead boxers are going, "I'm betting on the Broncies because of Payton Maning derp dee derp?"
3. I was thinking about it, and what Denver has done this year isn't very impressive. Think about it: Four of their games were against the crappy NFC East, including their win against the Eagles that came early in the year before Nick Foles upgraded QBDK. Three of their wins came against the Titans, Jaguars and Texans, all of whom were missing their opening-day quarterbacks. Two were against the Raiders, who sucked. So, nine of their wins were joke victories.
On the other hand, Seattle had just five easy victories. It battled the 49ers three times and the Saints twice - and both teams were better than anyone Denver took on during the entire season.
There is little doubt that the Seahawks are the better team, and once again, I feel as though they should be favored by 3.5 points. They are still my NFL Pick of the Month for seven units. Good luck to those betting, and remember, never wager more than anything out of your comfort zone.
The Vegas. Edge: Seahawks.
So much money on the Broncos.
Percentage of money on Denver: 72% (202,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
John Fox is 8-4 ATS in the playoffs.
Peyton Manning is 5-12 ATS in the playoffs (excluding games against terrible QBs: Jake Plummer, Trent Green, Rex Grossman).
Opening Line: Seahawks -1.
Opening Total: 47.5.
Weather: Cloudy, 43 degrees. Light wind.
Super Bowl XLVIII NFL Pick: Seahawks 24, Broncos 21 Seahawks +3 (7 Units - Playoff NFL Pick of the Month) -- Correct; +$700 Under 47.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0 Seahawks 43, Broncos 8 Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Will the Team that Scores First Win the Game - No +150 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$100
Will both teams make a field goal of 33 yards or more in the game - No -150 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
PROPS: I'm not a big fan of prop betting, but occasionally I'll come across a few things I'll like. For example, I found the best prop of all time three years ago:
Will Matt Millen pick the correct team to win Super Bowl XLIII during the Pre Game Show? Yes -225; No +185.
This was brilliant - if I do say so myself - because if you bet no and he picked the Cardinals, you were basically getting the Steelers moneyline at +185. And if he picked the Steelers, you were essentially getting a solid wager with Arizona money line. I ended up making $90 on the prop. There's nothing like capitalizing on Millen's incompetence (as long as there are no 100-percent USDA Men or kielbasas involved, of course).
Unfortunately, I don't see any locks like this one. However, I found five props I really like:
1. Will the team that scores first win the game - No +150 (5Dimes.com): In the previous 12 Super Bowls, six teams that scored first ended up losing the game. Scoring first doesn't mean anything. Because of this, +140 is a pretty decent bargain.
2. Will both teams make a field goal of 33 yards or more in the game - No -150 (Bovada.lv): Believe it or not, both participants have made a field goal of 33-plus in only 11 of the 47 Super Bowls.
3. Will Richard Sherman defecate on a picture of Michael Crabtree during the live broadcast - No -500 (Waltervada.lv): Only because he'll find someone else to taunt mercilessly.
3. Seattle wins by 1-6 points +335; Denver wins by 1-6 points +275 (5Dimes): I like this scheme because there's a good chance we'll get one of these two right. Most of the recent Super Bowls have been close.
4. Will there be a scoreless quarter - No -280 (5Dimes): In the previous nine Super Bowls, there has only been one scoreless quarter.
5. Will the Troy Aikman Machine Break During the Super Bowl? Yes -200 (BetWalter): Absolutely. It's no secret FOX has been struggling this century. From canceling great shows like Family Guy (the first time) and Reunion to beating us over the head with crap like American Idol and X Factor, FOX is a mess. It won't be a surprise if the Aikman Machine breaks down and goes into an infinite loop for real.
5. Total Tackles & Assists - Richard Sherman Under 3.5 -115 (Bovada.lv): Excluding the two Arizona contests - only because Carson Palmer has a YOLO approach to his game - Richard Sherman has recorded more than three tackles just twice this year. Peyton Manning is smart and will stay away from the league's best corner.
6. Points Scored in 2nd Half + OT -0.5 -135 (5Dimes): Mr. East, another handicapper, brought this to my attention. In the previous 27 Super Bowls, the second half is 18-8-1 versus the first half in terms of more points scored. So, in a sense, we're getting a prop that hits two out of three times at just -135. Sounds good to me.
I'll have my annual live Super Bowl blog. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates.
RECAP: I haven't posted an NFL Pick of the Month for the playoffs, have I? Well, the Seahawks +3 (currently available at Bovada) seems like a great candidate.
I absolutely love Seattle in this matchup. Here are seven reasons why; one for each unit:
1. The Seahawks are the better team getting points. Some Denver fans may disagree, but every single metric says Seattle is the superior squad. The Sagarin Ratings, Football Outsiders, Stat Fox and my own numbers indicate that the Seahawks are better overall.
2. One good indicator of how playoff matches will be decided is strength of schedule. If you were to just blindly bet on the playoff teams with the harder strength of schedule this postseason, you'd be 7-3 against the spread. Doing so during last year's playoff slate would've netted you an 8-2-1 record, resulting in a sick 15-5-1 run over the past two winters.
As you might guess, the Seahawks have the edge in this area. Their strength is schedule is eighth, while Denver's is 17th. That's quite the disparity. Suddenly, Seattle's 13-3 record looks so much better than Denver's.
3. As mentioned, I really like this matchup for the Seahawks. Elite pocket-passers like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady tend to struggle the most versus physical teams that are capable of bringing pressure with just their defensive line. Look at what the Giants were able to do to Brady in their two recent Super Bowl victories.
5. If you don't want to trust my opinion, take a look at what the sharps are thinking. The Seahawks opened as a favorite of one to two points, depending on where you look. Denver is now laying two to three points. Sharp action didn't move this spread. The public has been pounding the Broncos for the past week and a half, while the wise guys are betting Seattle.
6. This spread is now way off. Considering the Seahawks are +3 at Bovada, this line is incorrect by 6.5 points according to my projected numbers, which have been pretty on point this year. My figures say that Seattle should be -3.5 in this contest. That's a ton of value we're getting with the team from the Pacific Northwest.
7. I honestly can't make a case for picking the Broncos. The public can, as they're thinking, "Derp dee derp, the Broncos are going to win because they have the better quarterback, derp didily derp!" Well, I already proved that thinking the superior signal-caller will win in the Super Bowl is a fallacy. In fact, it's usually the opposite.
I'm sticking with seven units on the Seahawks at +3. If you don't have access to Bovada and are stuck with +2 or +2.5, I'd make it a four- or five-unit wager.
Stay tuned for my props, which I'll be posting later today. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
DENVER OFFENSE: Much is being made of the weather in the first cold-weather Super Bowl in the modern era, and for good reason. Peyton Manning has proven that he can beat mediocre opponents in the cold when he dispatched the Titans at home in December, but challenging superior foes when the wind is blowing hard is a completely different animal.
The temperature figures to be in the high 20s with some mild wind. It's nothing terrible, and if Manning struggles, it won't be because the gusts are making his passes flutter. It'll be because Seattle's defensive front is putting immense pressure on him. That's the most glaring edge in this contest. The Seahawks seldom blitz because they can get to the quarterback with three- and four-man rushes. Manning eats up the blitz, as he can easily recognize who's coming. If it's just a simple pass rush from the defensive line, it doesn't matter. Suddenly, all of his hand-waving and "Omaha" shouting becomes essentially meaningless.
If you're not convinced, Manning had one of his worst games of the year versus Jacksonville back in Week 6. One week removed from torching the Cowboys for 414 yards and four touchdowns, Manning posted what turned out to be a seasonal third-worst YPA of 7.0. The Broncos, as a consequence, had issues putting away the Jaguars. What does this have to do with anything? Well, Jacksonville employs the same exact defense as Seattle. Gus Bradley, who used to coach the Seahawks, barely blitzed. The difference is that Seattle actually has talented players on defense.
Adding to Manning's struggles is a potent secondary comprised of Richard Sherman, two stud safeties and underrated cornerback Byron Maxwell, who stood out in the NFC Championship. They'll have quite the challenge battling Denver's talented receiving corps, but they should be able to get the job done. Meanwhile, the front will be able to handle Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball after restricting Frank Gore to just 14 yards on 11 carries in the conference title game.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: Ask any Denver fan about this matchup, and they'll probably snap at you, pointing out that their defense gets no respect. "Look at how our defense has played in the past five games!" they'd shout. It's true that Denver's stop unit has improved recently, and it's almost inexplicable, given that the team lost both Von Miller and Chris Harris to injuries.
I don't want to take away much from the Broncos because they've gotten this far, but it's fair to look at whom they've played in this five-game span. We can throw out their victory over the pathetic Raiders and Texans. They couldn't get Philip Rivers off the field the first time they played him Denver, and in the rematch, Rivers nearly led a tremendous comeback once Harris left the game. As for the New England victory, what would've happened had Tom Brady actually performed like a competent quarterback? Brady missed so many easy throws it was ridiculous.
Russell Wilson will have to hit those attempts. He's missed some passes during the second half of the season, but he'll at least be able to escape from pressure, which is something neither Brady nor Rivers could do. Wilson will also have the luxury of targeting Percy Harvin, who is better than anyone Brady had in his banged-up receiving corps. Harvin hasn't been a part of Seattle's great Super Bowl run, but he's one of the most explosive players in the NFL and will certainly be a big factor.
Of course, there's also Marshawn Lynch, who got some flak for not participating much in Tuesday's stupid media day. Like there's anything to gain from overeager journalists asking irrelevant questions. Lynch has a seemingly tough matchup versus a Denver defense that has permitted only one running back to rush for at least 100 yards this season. Then again, the 49ers boasted a tremendous ground defense, yet Lynch was able to bulldoze them for 109 yards on 22 carries in the NFC Championship. Lynch struggled to get anything early on, but he's so powerful that he wore down San Francisco, allowing his 2- and 3-yard gains to suddenly turn into bursts of six and eight. Lynch should be able to repeat that performance against the Broncos.