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    Last Updated: 1/26/2015
    Super Bowl XLIX Pages:
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    Here are the game charts that generally accompany our weekly, in-depth analysis for the NFL. While teams are usually ranked relative to all other teams playing that week, we have updated this chart to rank the team's standing compared to all 32 NFL teams. This helps to put the true value of each facet of the game for each team in more appropriate context when reviewing two squads.

    Sunday, February 1 at 6:30 PM ET:

    Seattle Seahawks +1.5 vs New England Patriots (Covers 60.4%), UNDER 48.5 (Covers 57.3%)
    ATS Play Type: Normal
    O/U Play Type: Normal

    The Vitals:

    Projected Score: New England 20.3 - Seattle 23.5
    SU Pick and Win%: Seattle wins 57.3%
    ATS Pick and Win%: Seattle Seahawks +1.5 covers 60.4%
    ATS Wager for $50 player: $84
    O/U Pick and Win%: UNDER (48.5) 57.3%
    O/U Wager for $50 Player: $52

    The Teams: NE SEA
    Straight-Up Record 14-4 14-4
    Against-the-Spread Record 10-8 10-7
    Over/Under Record 10-8 10-8
    Avg. Points For vs. Against 30.4-19.5 25.2-16.3
    Strength of Schedule Rank (of all NFL) #6 #14
    PM Passing Efficiency Rank #7 #8
    PM Rushing Efficiency Rank #5 #1
    PM Pass Defense Efficiency Rank #4 #2
    PM Rush Defense Efficiency Rank #14 #1
    Actual Pass/Run Ratio 59.6%/40.4% 48.6%/51.4%
    Turnover Margin +15 +10

    Wagering Information: ATS Bets - 74% New England, 26% Seattle; O/U Bets - 59% Over, 41% Under

    See: Game Summary Matchup Analysis Key Players

    Game Summary
    Super Bowl XLIX features two teams that had high expectations entering the season, floundered early (relative to those expectations) yet, with a combination of improved health and tremendous coaching, played better and better football the further they got into the regular and postseason. Seattle started the year just 3-3 after losses to San Diego, Dallas and St. Louis before struggling in one score wins over Carolina and Oakland in Weeks 8 and 9. Since Week 10, however, the Seahawks have gone 9-1 straight-up and 7-2-1 against-the-spread while out-scoring opponents by an average score of 25.1 to 11.9. The Patriots lost their opener at Miami by double-digits and fell again on Monday Night Football in Week 4 by four touchdowns to the Chiefs. Yet over that same stretch we discussed with Seattle (Week 10 to now), New England is 7-2 straight-up and 5-4 against-the-spread while winning by an average margin of 29.7 to 17.0

    From that standpoint and, given that these have clearly looked like two of the best teams in the NFL over the last three months, these teams are similar. Aside from the fact that the Patriots and Seahawks each have one elite cornerback and shaky offensive lines as well, there is little else similar about the Seattle and New England teams that will meet for the championship in Arizona.

    In a league in which teams threw the ball 58.3% of the time on average, Seattle ran more than it passed the ball this year, just one of two teams (with the Houston Texans) to do so. The Seahawks have an effective and efficient quarterback in Russell Wilson who plays a relatively conservative style that is centered around his ability to extend plays with his feet and avoid crippling mistakes. Seattle is built around a defense that so clearly has focused on market inefficiencies physically (tall players in the secondary, light players on the line), yet is loaded with great football players who have consistently proven up to the challenge of the opposition. And though, clearly, New England does everything it can to play within the letters of the rules in the NFL, Seattle blurs what should be a clear, black and white line of legality on the field with a brand of physical football so strong that it overcomes the inevitable issues with penalties.

    The Patriots are more pass heavy than average in the league, leveraging an all-time great quarterback in Tom Brady to make many quick throws with similar objectives to a conventional team's running plays. Aside from the alluded to Darrelle Revis and a playmaker at tight end in Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots are relatively anonymous otherwise. As much has been made of the team's perceived propensity to bend the rules, the Patriots are incredibly sound overall as an above average team with respect to some of the less heralded elements of the game like special teams, penalties and turnovers. Whereas the Seahawks strengths and weaknesses may be a bit obvious, that's not necessarily the case with New England. The Patriots attempt to dig in and exploit opponents' weaknesses regardless of what that means or takes with their own roster. Against most teams, that works (usually really well), but do not expect that to be the case against Seattle.

    Seattle remained the NFC favorite to represent the conference in the Super Bowl according to our analysis after all but three weeks of the regular and postseasons. New England never fell further than a projected two seed in the AFC in our rest of season projections. That being said, leading into the Conference Championships was just the second time all year that New England vs. Seattle was our most likely Super Bowl matchup. As both one seeds and having excelled as of late, this remains one of the best Super Bowls we could have had this season (only Denver vs. Seattle was more likely before the playoffs started and that projected rematch assumed Peyton Manning was healthy). Not too surprisingly, the spread on this game has stayed below a field goal and has, at times already, favored either team.

    Both teams have done all of this despite dealing with critical injuries throughout the year, though one team is markedly healthier now than at its worst. New England lost starters LB Jerod Mayo and RB Stevan Ridley by midseason and has also dealt with having to put top draft choice Dominique Easley on IR with other possible defensive contributors like Alfonzo Dennard. Cornerback Brandon Browner and most of the offensive line has struggled to stay healthy for most of the year as well. Seattle's situation has been a little different. The Seahawks were hurt early by injuries to LB Bobby Wagner and Center Max Unger, but have been a different team with both players bouncing back to good health. It is unlikely that any player from the Seahawks possible roster who will miss this game due to injury would have started. With Mayo, Ridley and others out, the Patriots cannot say that.

    While their journeys may sound similar and the matchup looks like a classic, there is one major difference between these two teams that ultimately leads us to our prediction (both straight-up and against-the-spread) – the Seattle Seahawks are, simply, the team more capable of dominating. This is very important in a winner-take-all battle between two of the league's best because it means that Seattle is both more poised to gain a lead that it can preserve and battle back to win in a comeback bid if it happens to get behind (as we saw in the NFC Championship Game). Sports and direct competition are often about utilizing one's strengths to exploit an opponent's weaknesses.

    Another way to say that is the oft-used cliché around the office that “styles make fights.” Generally, the team with the fewest exploitable weaknesses has the best chance to win in a contest that is otherwise similar. New England's greatest strengths are subtle yet numerous and malleable to opponents, but the Patriots have a few holes, particularly in defending the run and protecting the quarterback. Seattle has elite numbers as well, but, aside from some concerns with penalties, the Seahawks, who finished the season in the top ten in all of our strength-of-schedule-adjusted efficiency categories, do not have glaring weaknesses.

    Against common opponents (Green Bay, San Diego, Denver, Oakland and Kansas City), New England went 3-2 straight-up and 2-3 against-the-spread with an average final score in those games of 23.4-22.2. Against those same five opponents, Seattle was 4-2 straight-up and 2-4 against-the-spread with an average score of 26.8-22.7. It's obviously a small sample size, but there are good teams in that mix, teams that allowed Seattle to score more than New England.

    Using strength-of-schedule-adjusted, play-by-play statistics, the Predictalator has played Super Bowl XLIX 50,000 times before it's actually played. The Seattle Seahawks win outright 57.3% of those games and by an average score of 23.5-20.3. To put that into perspective, Seattle was a favorite over Denver last year by a projected score of 23.8-21.5 (so eerily similar). As 1.5 point underdogs, who win outright in the upset, the Seahawks (+1.5) cover the spread 60.4% of the time, which is a "normal" play that would warrant an $84 play from a normal $50 player. The money-line for the Seahawks is +100 (i.e. wager 100 to win 100). This requires at least 50% confidence to play. A normal $50 player with +115 odds on a team winning 57.3% of the time can justify a $74 wager on the team to win. The UNDER (48.5) hits 57.3% of the time. At least 52.38% confidence is required to win at the typical -110 juice. At 57.3% confidence, the UNDER is worth a $52 play to a normal $50 player. Utilizing the Parlay Calculator, Seattle (+1.5) and UNDER (48.5) both cover 34.6% of the time. Remarkably, this is the sixth of six Super Bowls we have projected on the site for which we have at least a "normal" opinion against-the-spread. Previous to this, three of those five plays were on upsets for underdogs we projected to win outright and did.

    Matchup Analysis
    In analyzing games, the team that wins a game is most often the team that best exploits favorable matchups and generally gets a little "lucky." While luck usually comes from turnovers, especially when the two teams are otherwise evenly matched, balance is critical to success. In this case, balance does not necessarily mean that a team must pass as often as it runs, but that it must find the right mix of decisions to exploit the other team's weaknesses while hiding its own.
    Let's take a close look at the matchups in Super Bowl XLIX:

    Seattle's Run Offense vs. New England's Run Defense:
    As noted above, Seattle finished the season as our best ranked run efficiency offense. Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks faced essentially a league-average schedule with respect to run defenses and averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry in the regular season and 4.7 yards-per-carry in the postseason. They did this despite running the ball more than 50% of the time, which meant that defenses were keying on the run more than the pass. As physical as Lynch is, he can fit the playmaking mold of a “feast or famine” (though “famine” in this case rarely means zero or negative yards) running back that can pick up two or three yards on almost every carry all game and then break a game-changing run. Lynch has had at least a twenty yard run in nine games this season, including both playoff games. Lynch had just 50% of his team's rushes in the regular season, averaging 17.5 carries-per-game, yet has received the ball for over 60% of the Seahawks' carries this postseason.

    The most efficient player running the ball for Seattle is quarterback Russell Wilson who uses his legs to buy time and make plays in the passing game, yet can also be effective taking off and running or on designed run plays. Wilson averaged 7.2 yards-per-carry, which led the NFL among qualified rushers, on 118 attempts, which is a step up from what he did his first two seasons in both usage and efficiency. For a quarterback, Wilson has been fairly consistent on the ground, only rushing for fewer than 25 yards in a game three times.

    New England's defensive weakness is its run defense, which is 14th overall, the only offensive or defensive unit in this game from either team outside of the top ten. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is the best active player on the defense and linebacker Jamie Collins is exceptional at getting sideline-to-sideline behind him, but the team has struggled against the run without Jerod Mayo. The Patriots allowed 4.1 yards-per-carry (basically league average) in the regular season and have given up a total of 262 yards rushing in two postseason games (a scary 6.6 yards-per-carry). Against teams that finished the year ranked in the top ten in our run efficiency metrics, New England was just 1-6 against-the-spread. With respect to Seattle's offense against New England's defense, this is strength vs. relative weakness. In the projected Super Bowl XLIX boxscore, the Seahawks combine for 5.2 yards-per-carry, with Russell Wilson (6.5 rushes for 47.1 yards) and Marshawn Lynch (21.2 rushes for 100.7 yards) both at about their season averages in efficiency with a slight step up in production. If Seattle can exploit this weakness of the Patriots' early, it could be a long day for New England.
    Edge: Seattle (this matchup should make the difference)

    Seattle Pass Offense vs. New England Pass Defense:
    Opponents threw the ball more often in games against the Patriots than against an average team due to the large leads that New England often had. That makes some of the Patriots aggregate passing defense numbers a little worse than they really are. The Patriots fell below league-average in sack rate (6%) and interception rate (3%), yet were just average in yards-per-pass allowed (6.5). The Patriots have two elite members of the secondary in Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty, but the rest of the members of the secondary, which uses upwards of seven defensive backs a game, are average. Though having Chandler Jones back helps, the Patriots struggle to generate pressure.

    Russell Wilson's overall numbers – 3,475 yards on 452 pass attempts (7.7 yards-per-attempt), 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions during the regular season are stellar for anyone. They are also almost identical to what we saw from Wilson over the course of last year. It is easy to point to Wilson's four interceptions and generally terrible play during regulation of the NFC Championship game as issues, but that was the worst game we have ever seen from the most important player to his team and the team still won. Not only did it win, he helped the team win with spectacular plays in overtime. Wilson is definitively one of the league's top ten quarterbacks right now. Plus, with the emergence of Luke Willson, Jermaine Kearse's explosiveness, an x-factor in Ricardo Lockette and a consistently strong Doug Baldwin, Seattle's skill position unit in the passing game is presently underrated. Pressure could be a big factor here, but really only if Seattle is losing and in desperation mode. Russell Wilson had more dropbacks under pressure than anyone in the NFL all season, but he also led the NFL in throwaways by a wide margin and had the third best interception rate of any quarterback while pressured. Though pressured 76 more times than Tom Brady, Wilson was only hit as he threw the ball three times compared to Brady's league-high 13 hits. Especially since New England struggles to get after the quarterback, pressure on Wilson will only matter on critical downs in which conversions are needed (did you hear that Dom Capers?).

    Seattle averages 6.1 yards-per-pass in our projections for this game (which is not great, but it is better than what Tom Brady and the Patriots are expected to do… interestingly, the Patriots were actually out-gained per reception over the course of the season, while Seattle was second-best in the league in yards-per-completion margin).
    Edge: Push

    New England Run Offense vs. Seattle Run Defense:
    Seattle has the edge, but that should be obvious. Since All-Pro LB Bobby Wagner came back from injury on November 23, the Seahawks have not lost a game. They are 8-0 straight-up and 6-1-1 against-the-spread in those games. In that stretch, opponents are only averaging 83 rushing yards on just over 23 carries a game, while scoring 9.8 points-per-game. Sure, the level of competition has not been great, but only two of the last eight Seattle opponents have even topped 14 points and both of those opponents benefited from Seattle turnovers and special teams issues that gave them great field position. The only two times Seattle has not covered the spread in those games, the opponent did rush 30+ times for more than four yards-per-carry, suggesting that could be a key to success against Seattle, but that's much, much easier said than done.

    Tom Brady is great when he has some semblance of a running game and he can look average otherwise. One of the keys to defeating a team like the Patriots is to force them to be one dimensional and in a way that can be stopped. Seattle has the NFL's best run defense and its second-best pass defense. The Seahawks should be able to take one of those away entirely. On the year, New England has actually been out-gained on a per-rush basis (Seattle is the only team in the NFL that has out-gained its opponents by more than a yard-per-carry and that is even more magnified in our projected boxscore... In fact, New England only out-gained its opponents by 0.2 yards-per-play, more than a full yard behind Seattle in that metric). In games against top ten run defenses, New England went 1-4 against-the-spread (meaning they were a combined 2-10 ATS against a top ten run offense or top ten run defense; which includes that the Patriots were 0-3 against teams that fit into both groups). New England rushes for just 3.4 yards-per-carry in our projected Super Bowl XLIX boxscore.
    Edge: Seattle

    New England Pass Offense vs. Seattle Pass Defense:
    U mad bro? Most epic clash of the game. Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. 2014 may have been one of his most compelling and best. Despite lacking a running game, playing with oft-injured weapons and facing a division in which the three other teams each have an elite pass rush, Brady still completed 64.3% of his passes for 7.1 yards-per-attempt, 39 TDs and 11 interceptions. Since Week Four (and removing an irrelevant Week 17), those numbers are 66.2%, 7.5 yards-per-attempt, 35 TDs and nine interceptions.

    But it's difficult to ignore Weeks 1-4 and Week 17 because of the types of teams that gave New England trouble, especially, since New England's pass blocking ranks as the NFL's worst and the team was one of the least efficient in the NFL in deep passing plays that can alter the opposition's game plan. Miami, Buffalo, Kansas City, New York (Jets) and Baltimore are the teams that New England faced this season with a top ten pass rush and a run-heavy scheme. The Patriots went 2-6 against-the-spread versus those teams that thrived on both pressuring Brady and keeping the ball out of his hands. This is the type of team that has also excelled against Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and others. It's also the type of team that Seattle has perfected.

    Clearly, Seattle's opponent is not as loaded in the passing game as it was in last year's Super Bowl when Denver was coming off one of the best passing seasons ever. This pass defense also is not quite as dominant this year as last season, ultimately leading to a Push in this analysis. Seattle finished first in yards-per-pass allowed and interceptions-per-pass-play, while ranking fourth in pass rush in the 2013 regular season. This year, Seattle finished second in yards-per-pass, ninth in interception ratio and just better than league average in sack ratio. They also played one of the weakest schedules relative to opposing quarterbacks of any team in the NFL this season, so it's clearly not the all-time historically great pass defense that it was last year. It was still good enough to finish second in our strength-of-schedule-adjusted efficiency metrics (five spots higher than the Patriots' rank in pass offense). We project New England to throw for 5.7 yards-per-pass play.
    Edge: Push

    Special Teams:
    In the short-term (i.e. one game, not 50,000), a big special teams play has far more relevance than it does in assessing teams' general strengths and weaknesses. In other words, this will be short because it does not mean too much to this exercise. Seattle and New England both finished above average in our overall special teams rankings, yet neither is in the top five. Stephen Gostkowski is a slightly better kicker than Steven Hauschka and New England has a notable edge in kick returns. Doug Baldwin is certainly an X factor for this game, given his kick return and receiving abilities, but he did just lose a fumble returning a kick in the NFC Championship Game.
    Edge: New England

    Misc. - Coaching, Penalties, Turnovers, Crowd
    Since Seattle had the most negative impact from penalties in the league BOTH offensively and defensively, penalties are a slam dunk win for New England (though penalties are called less frequently in the postseason). Turnovers are fairly even. New England has been otherworldly in its ability to avoid losing fumbles (to the point that we have to view that as a clear skill of the team), but Seattle is similarly adept at limiting turnovers. We project both teams to have exactly 1.1 turnovers (this was a big win in the boxscore last year because Seattle was projected to dominate the turnover battle, yet lose on a per-play basis; the opposite is true this year as turnovers are even and Seattle out-gains New England in every capacity). A case could be made that, given that Seattle is closer and plays a game every year in Arizona, the Seahawks should gain the closest thing to "home field" advantage that could occur in a matchup like this, but we are ignoring this potential factor altogether. Coaching comes through in the numbers, but there is not an edge here. The coordinators were hot names in head coaching searches and all are seemingly strong minds for their respective expertise. Comparing Bill Belichick of the Patriots and Pete Carroll (now) of the Seahawks (something Robert Kraft has assuredly done many times) reveals little superiority. The way I evaluate coaching, in-game decision making in critical situations is of the utmost importance. Both Belichick and Carroll are aggressive and defensive-minded. They can also sometimes be aggressive to a fault, but I would much rather that than to be conservative to a fault. With the edge in penalties and everything else even, New England has the advantage here.
    Edge: New England

    Based on that information, here are the most important players for each team:

    Most Important Offensive Player to a Patriots' Victory: Rob Gronkowski, TE
    The last time I wrote about the Patriots in the Super Bowl, we were forced to focus on Gronkowski in this section, but that had everything to do with his questionable health. With a full season played and an extra week to rest, we should see the best version of Gronkowski that we could get. The Patriots will need it. Gronkowski is not just an elite weapon in the passing game, he is one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. Richard Sherman may be able to essentially erase a side of the field (effectively removing a wide receiver from the opposing arsenal), but he cannot do much to stop a field-stretching weapon like Gronkowski. In the NFC Championship Game, Aaron Rodgers repeatedly beat pressure with quick throws down the seam. Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright, who will likely end up sharing responsibility on Gronkowski are both very good players, but not necessarily in this capacity. Seattle is just an average NFL team at defending the tight end. He can help through the air and with his blocking on the ground. Just as balance is important to the Patriots in this game, Gronkowski's ability to help on every play should serve as a microcosm of the Patriots' output. It will be very difficult for the Patriots to win without a great overall day from their star tight ends.

    Most Important Defensive Player to a Patriots' Victory: Jamie Collins, LB
    Collins should be used to this kind of pressure by this point in the season. Despite playing in the shadows of Vince Wilfork (literally), Jerod Mayo and Darrelle Revis, Collins has consistently been the most important player on this defense, especially since Mayo went down with an injury. He is a physical freak, who may be the fastest linebacker in the NFL from sideline-to-sideline. Collins has emerged this year as the player on the Patriots' defense tasked with doing a little bit of everything. He is on the field on every down, plays very well off of Vince Wilfork against the run and is elite at his position both in coverage and when rushing the passer (the more I think about it, the more I think that Collins' play as an "inside" LB in the Patriots multi-formation defense may have inspired the Packers to do something similar with Clay Mathews, a comparable athlete). Revis should do his best Richard Sherman impression (or is it the other way around). Wilfork and McCourty should be solid to great in their roles and Jones is a bit of a wild card. For the Patriots to succeed, Collins is going to have to make plays that keep Russell Wilson and the Seahawks guessing, not the other way around.

    Most Important Offensive Player to a Seahawks' Victory: Russell Okung, T
    Last Super Bowl was Russell Wilson's game to lose. This year, it may be a different Russell who makes the biggest difference for Seahawks. Okung has All-Pro caliber talent, yet has been wildly inconsistent as of late (a characteristic that we used to blame on injuries, but cannot this year). Okung, who missed one game, yet has still seen the field for 1,031 snaps this season, has been an above average player in essentially half of the team's games (and a below average player in the other half). He has rarely had games in which he has strong games in both pass and run blocking. Last year, in the Super Bowl, he was very good in both respects. The Seahawks may need something similar this year. The Patriots often change fronts, use many subs and bring pressure from many different directions. This is not about one specific assignment that Okung has that will make a difference in the game; it is about needing him to play well in all phases. The Seahawks have an elite center (Max Unger), two well below average guards (that's not changing by game time) and two question marks at tackle (Justin Britt, who has started as the other, bookend, right tackle is legitimately questionable for the game due to injury). A great game from either Russell Wilson or Marshawn Lynch could overcome a less than perfect outing from Okung, but it's unlikely to get both without him playing at a high level as well. A great performance from the tackle with star potential could make it easier on everyone.

    Most Important Defensive Player to a Seahawks' Victory: K.J. Wright, LB
    This should probably note all Seahawks tasked with playing in coverage, especially likely on the inside except for Richard Sherman. Tom Brady may have an ego, but he is not stupid. Do not expect him to test Sherman much during the game (unless it's to set something up for later in the contest). Brady will do everything he can to pick on less experienced players. Last year, Malcolm Smith parlayed a couple of big (somewhat fluky) plays into a Super Bowl MVP. Wright could be that guy this season as his importance and potential influence is so great heading into the game. Wright is one of the better coverage outside linebackers in the NFL, which is great. However, he is one of the weakest linebackers in both run and after the pass tackling efficiency. Fortunately, Bobby Wagner cleans up some of that for him, but the Seahawks will not be able to afford many missed tackles in a game this important, especially if the player with the ball is Rob Gronkowski. Wright is the likeliest player to have primary coverage on Gronkowski. His main responsibility for this game will be to eliminate easy opportunities for Gronkowski to change this game. He will not have to do it all on his own, but the player most closely tied to Gronkowski's productivity for the Super Bowl immediately becomes the most important defensive player for the Seahawks. Limit Gronkowski and everything else improves for the Seahawks (and vice versa). (Interesting note: Last season in this spot I talked about Byron Maxwell, yet in the next section talked about how Denver was able to overcome weaknesses with depth at corner to get to the Super Bowl because of New England's lack of weapons "on the outside in the passing game." That's still true AND Seattle has at least one great corner on the outside.)

    Injuries:
    To me, there are three major injury storylines for this game. The first of them, which addressed earlier, is about the injuries that both teams sustained during the regular season, like to Max Unger, Bobby Wagner and Chandler Jones that have already been overcome. This has provided a huge boost to the Seahawks relative to the time those players were not on the field (and to a lesser degree the Patriots). Another storyline is that both offensive lines, which have been in flux for both teams all season, are still in flux. Bryan Stork and Justin Britt are both questionable to play. Both of them are just below average rookies who happen to be replaceable by just below average veterans. There will likely be more talk about these players than tangible impact regardless of whether or not they play. The final storyline revolves around the "Legion of Boom." Safety Earl Thomas and CB Richard Sherman - two of the best players at their positions in the league - both sustained arm injuries against the Packers. Both are practicing and neither seems likely to be slowed by the injury. This will be an oft-discussed yet likely irrelevant topic for the game.

    Line Movement:
    Anyone remember last year? For a refresher, here is exactly what I wrote in this section a year ago:

    Though the NFC was made a 2.5 point Super Bowl favorite heading into Conference Championship weekend, Peyton Manning's brilliant performance and Seattle's early game struggles made this a PK (a zero spread) when the line opened soon after the NFC title was crowned. Almost three-fourths of the action has come in from the public enamored with Manning on the Broncos, pushing this line quickly to Denver as the favorite. The current consensus spread is Denver -2.5. Literally every Las Vegas sportsbook that we track is currently at Denver -2.5 with standard -110 juice, suggesting the line is not likely to move any further (plus, taking the spread to Denver -3 puts a distinct chance of a “push” in the Super Bowl into play, which few people on either side really want). At the current spread of Denver -2.5, we have our fifth consecutive “normal” pick on the Super Bowl (out of five that we have projected on PredictionMachine.com) and third projected outright upset. Keep an eye on the juice as select books make move the odds to Denver -115 or greater without changing the line. And, as always, use the Play Analyzer to re-run the game at the consensus line or your lines. The total has fluctuated more recently and does not have unanimity. It opened at 47, was bet up originally to 48 and even 48.5 in some books, yet has come back down to 47 as the consensus (47.5 still exists).

    Well... something similar happened. The NFC was a clear favorite before Conference Championship weekend. After Seattle's comeback victory over Green Bay, New England vs. Seattle lines started popping up at Seattle -2.5. More than 75% of the public did and has continued to bet on the Patriots, which moved the line to a consensus PK by the end of that Sunday night. Continual lop-sided action has shifted New England to -1 or -1.5 favorite. Like last year, that may continue to rise, but will not likely ever make it to the key number of New England -3. It's probably worth waiting to see if more value arises throughout the week. Any additional points cannot hurt. It is possible that sharp money comes in on Seattle and brings the line down late, but that should not change value much in the play. As it stands, due to overreaction by the public (again), the wrong team is favored and getting all of the action (again). The total opened at either 48.5 or 49 in most locations, yet stands at either 48.5 or 48 at every book we track at this point. The public, as usual, has a slight lean on the OVER at that number. With no weather concerns and no current injury question marks, aside from a major injury or suspension between now and kickoff, do not expect much movement in the total.

    Boxscore: New England Patriots, 20 @ Seattle Seahawks, 23

    Game Breakdown: Super Bowl XLIX Game Breakdown

    Super Bowl XLIX Pages:
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    2/23/2015 Highlight: Using the ResultsFinder for the week of February 16th - 22nd, one could find that all featured, "normal" or better college basketball against-the-spread picks went 8-4 (67% ATS). In the month of February, all "normal" or better against-the-spread bets in college basketball have gone 25-13 (66% ATS). The ATS success carried over to college basketball halftime plays as well. All "normal" or better against-the-spread second half plays last week went 44-33 (57%), returning a profit of $1,621 for a normal $50 player using play value recommendations.

    In the NBA, after the All-Star break, all "normal" or better against-the-spread and over/under plays went 6-3 (67% ATS and O/U). Performance has been particularly strong with NBA totals. In the month of February, "normal" or better NBA over/under picks are 11-2 (85% O/U).

    Success was not limited to the hardwood. All "normal" or better money-line, over/under and puck-line plays in the NHL last week went 19-11 (63% RL, O/U, and PL). In the last three weeks all "normal" or better hockey picks have gone 38-22 (63% RL, O/U, PL).

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