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Thursday, January 29, 2015

NFL Predictions 2015 Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots Vs Seahawks

New England Patriots Vs. Seattle Seahawks: SEA PK (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The lookahead line for the game was supposed to be in the Seattle -3/-3.5 range. It opened at -2.5, but for the second year in a row we saw early money fade the Seahawks as soon as the line went up.

The line now sits at "pick em", and some books even have the Patriots as -1 point favorites. Weekend betting hasn't started yet, but so far we are seeing 71% of the tickets, and more of the money, on New England.

Bottom Line

Early money poured in on the Patriots, just like it did last year with the Broncos.

Is that the right call?

As far as I'm concerned, the Seahawks are still the best team in football, and until someone dethrones them, I'm not about to bet against them. On top of that, I like the option to take Seattle as a "pick em", rather than -2.5 or -3, like books originally intended.

Can a legit case be made for the Patriots? Sure. Some of the best football minds out there are predicting them to win on Sunday, and I won't be that surprised if it happens. Football Outsiders does have it as one of the closest statistical matchups on record.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are also no strangers to controversy, and they're no strangers to Super Bowl pressure either. Gronk presents a matchup that even the Seahawks could have trouble with. And they finally have a defense that can compliment the offense.

Yet, there's two factors that I keep coming back to when I look at this matchup.

One, is just how dominant the Seattle defense is. Can a weakness be found? If Gronk doesn't have one of his best performances, don't look for the Patriots wide receivers to make up for it against the Seattle secondary. Top to bottom, this Seahawks unit has been historically good.

The other factor is Russell Wilson. Did he have a bad game against the Packers? No question. Will we see a repeat of that in the Super Bowl? It's possible, but I doubt it. And it's primarily what he can do with his legs that makes Seattle's offense so hard to defend.  If Wilson's mobility can't be contained, he and Lynch will be dictating the game more often than not.

Combined, it puts Seattle in a prime position to cement themselves as a team to remember for a long, long time.  I went against the grain and picked them last year, and I have no second thoughts about doing it again this year.


Monday, January 19, 2015

NFL Predictions 2015: Super Bowl XLIX

Championship Sunday is in the books and favorites and dogs split 1-1 ATS.  No matter what happens in the final game, dogs will come out on top as they are 6-4 ATS in these playoffs. Favorites have actually won 8 of the 10 games straight up though. Unders are 5-4-1.

Around town, Football Outsiders took both dogs, which left them at 1-1 ATS this week. In fact, they've taken every single dog in every game ATS in these playoffs, and every favorite to win straight up. Go figure. In Vegas, the public and pros were both on Seattle, but they split in the AFC game, with the pros on Indy, and the public on New England.

My picks split 1-1 ATS, with the Seahawks as the non-cover. I got -6.5 before the line moved all the way up to -8.5, but it didn't matter in the end. Wilson had one of his worst games as a pro, and it was all uphill from there. Thankfully, they did manage to pull out the straight up win to cash the teaser. And as a fan, does it get much better than that game?

The line for the Super Bowl is up, and there's already been some interesting line movement. The look-ahead line was going to be Seattle -3/-3.5, but after Sunday's action it opened at -2.5 instead. Within the hour, early money came in on New England to bring it down to a "pick em". Some books are even making the Patriots as a -1 point favorite. This is a bit of deja vu since the same thing happened last year, with early action coming in on Denver. I didn't agree with that at the time, and I'm not sure I agree with it this time around either.

We now have two full weeks to over-analyze the Super Bowl matchup to death, and another 300+ prop bets to sift through, too. I'm already leaning Seattle to repeat, but I'll wait until I dig through all the numbers and variables before I lock it in. I'll also have the prop picks up - including some exotics.