On Sunday night at approximately 11.30pm (UK time) over 100 million people are going to sit down and take in the biggest game in the NFL calendar, the Superbowl.
The Superbowl welcomes all types of people, whether it’s your mum or sister who are interested in the commercials at half time, your old man who’s a huge Patriots fan from across the pond, or yourself who has never watched a game of American Football in your life. I am hoping that this preview will give you an idea of what to expect on Sunday night.
I’m going to be using stats from the last 7 games that these two sides played this season. I believe there is no point comparing the form from the start of the season to now as they are different teams on different streaks who are playing completely different football at this stage. With no further ado, let’s get the ball rolling!
How many points will be scored?
In the last 10 Superbowls played, the average total points scored is 46. The line is currently set @ 47.5 for this one.
Let’s start with Seattle, over the course of their last seven games they have scored on average 24.8 points. They have conceded however only an average of 10.7 points per game - giving a grand total average of 35.5 per game.
The Patriots score 27.2 points per game, conceding 17.7. That’s an average total of 44.9 per game. Both totals are below the line the books have offered up.
However, the Patriots total is higher due to two very high scoring games in a row, against the Colts and Ravens. The Seahawks defence will simply just not let the Pats run away with that many points. Seattle have generally struggled to put up points due to constant turnovers from Russell Wilson. To stay in the game on Sunday, Wilson will have to concede far less turnovers and not offer himself to the oncoming line, something which he struggles to do. He is brilliant at eluding tackles but he gets caught an awful lot.
I do believe both teams will be cautious, maybe the Patriots less, with the Seahawks keeping the ball in Lynch’s arms. The two best corners in the league are on display, Revis and Sherman. They are going to make a nuisance of themselves and I wouldn’t be surprised if they both got an interception at some point in the game. Another factor is that this game is being played at the Cardinals stadium where the average points per game is 39.1, well under the advertised line. When the Seahawks travelled to Arizona this year the total was at 41. With those stats and the way I’m looking at the game shaping up I’m willing to take the game to finish under 47.5 points.
Who will score?
With my earlier prediction being under, I predict that touchdown opportunities will be limited. However, there are a couple of bet-able propositions. Lynch is an obvious one but at 8/13 I wouldn’t suggest a bet, if you could find 8/11 by all means jump on it.
The Patriots have a couple of running back options in Blount and LaFell but against the Seattle defence who are so good up front in the red zone, I wouldn’t want to take either of them. The one I am willing to take a shortish price on though is the man, Rob Gronkowski. Playing at tight end he is one of the best players in the league. He uses his weight so well and once the Patriots get in close to the end-zone I can see him shielding players off and picking the ball up just inside the goal line. He has scored in four of his last five games and he is going to be a critical part of this ball game. 3/4 for him to score anytime, seems like a playable price.
Who will win?
In my eyes, this game boils down to who can get the edge, either Tom Brady’s Patriots offense or Richard Sherman and the Seattle defence. There is a term which is thrown about non-stop when referring to Superbowls, and that is, ‘defence wins you Superbowls’. Going along with that statement the Hawks will be victorious due to having the better defence. But it is not that simple, you need panache in both attack and defence to go all the way. Tom Brady has so many offensive weapons. With LaFell and Blount sharing duties of carrying the ball, he also uses Gronk whenever possible and the ever reliant Edelman in clutch situations.
Wilson also has weapons, obviously with Lynch on the floor and Baldwin and Kearse in the air, he went to the latter numerous times in the conference game and was intercepted at will but in overtime Wilson stuck to his guns and found Kearse for the winning touchdown. The Patriots and Brady have a great record in Superbowls and the Seahawks lifted the title last year. In which they defeated with complete ease Manning and Denver, I just get the feeling that it will not be that easy this time around. Brady is the definition of a clutch football player, finding rhythm and tempo that is mightily hard to defend against.
Seattle got to the Superbowl in crazy fashion, coming from way back to defeat Green Bay, they even needed to recover an on-side kick. Seattle didn't have a good game at all, and they can't afford to play like that again. There is no chance the Patriots give up that sort of lead. The Seahawks have a knack of getting W's when not playing brilliant football, mainly relying on their defence to get themselves out of sticky situations, their offense needs to step up if they have any chance on Sunday night. New England overturned the Colts en route in destroying fashion, looking great on both sides of the field, making Andrew Luck (who played so well in Denver the week before) have an absolute shocker, forcing him to push the football while Revis and co licked their lips. I do believe that the Patriots are the better-rounded of the two teams and on Sunday night I think they will collect their fourth championship. The books have the game a coin toss at 10/11 and at those odds I'm willing to take the Patriots to win.
Who will be MVP?
For those who don’t know the MVP is awarded to the most valuable player in the game. In the last seven Superbowls the quarter back has been awarded the trophy on five occasions. As I see the Patriots winning the game with Brady at the helm, I can see him winning the trophy. The fact that he has so many options to use and although Gronk is the most obvious target, I can’t see him putting up crazy numbers to force the panel into giving him the award. If the Patriots win the game then there is a massive chance that Tom Brady will win it, as he is the most decorated quarter back in football. Therefore at odds of 11/8 it may well be worth taking if you fancy a bit of a bigger price than just the Patriots to win outright.
Recommended Superbowl XLIX Bets:
Under 48 points @ 20/23
Gronkowski anytime touchdown @ 3/4
New England Patriots to win the Superbowl @ 10/11
Tom Brady to be named MVP @ 11/8
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