Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers Odds: Super Bowl Betting Preview, Pick

Rob Carr

Super Bowl betting comes down to believing in either the Baltimore Ravens' destiny or believing the San Francisco 49ers have a superior roster and a quarterback that can't be stopped. The Super Bowl odds say it will be the 49ers, but the betting public is backing the Ravens.

The underdog is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 Super Bowls, and the Baltimore Ravens will look to add to that dog legacy when they take on the favored San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

Baltimore was a 4.5-point underdog at most online sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com, but it had been bet down to -3.5 by mid-week.

It had settled in around -4 at Bovada sportsbook, where spokesman Kevin Bradley expressed surprise by the 55-45 split of money coming in on the Ravens so far. [ 5 reasons why the Ravens will win the Super Bowl ]

Whether or not you believe in "teams of destiny," the Baltimore Ravens are certainly playing like one. Once again fueled by their retiring leader Ray Lewis, the Ravens put forth an outstanding effort on defense last Sunday to hold Tom Brady's high-powered Patriots offense to just 13 points.

The sometimes creaky Ravens defense has handled three elite quarterbacks this post-season, but none of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning or Brady were a danger to run. Can those aging linebackers spy on the speedy and athletic Colin Kaepernick while also managing to plug the middle against fullback Frank Gore?

"We don't see this being a very close game because I think everyone - Baltimore included - has gotten lulled to sleep by this fact," said Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com, which provides spreads and totals to SBNation.

"The 49ers will pound the ball but they can also air it out. And they have a mobile quarterback who is like nothing the Ravens have faced since Week 14 at Washington, where they lost." [ 5 reasons why the 49ers will win the Super Bowl ]

On the flip side, Joe Flacco is playing near-perfect football at quarterback this post season, out-dueling Luck, Manning and Brady with over 800 passing yards, eight passing touchdowns and zero interceptions so far.

Even after spotting Atlanta 17 points on the road, the San Francisco 49ers remained poised and steadily climbed back into the game, outscoring Atlanta 28-7 from that point on to win the NFC Championship Game 28-24.

Fresh off of a performance in which he combined for 444 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and through the air, Colin Kaepernick rushed only twice against Atlanta while reading the defense and handing off the ball for three touchdowns (two for Frank Gore, one for LaMichael James) in the red zone.

Kaepernick showed how unselfish he was and left many wondering if there was any defense for this team.

Of course, the biggest story line in the media this week is the clash of the two brothers at head coach, John and Jim Harbaugh. When the brothers clashed last year on Thanksgiving, Baltimore came out on top 16-6 in an UNDER bet. Six of the last eight Super Bowls have gone the same way.

The NFC is 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS over the last five Super Bowls, and San Francisco is built well enough on both sides of the ball to keep that streak rolling. But while you get the feeling San Francisco is on the rise, this feels like (and is) the end of an era for the Baltimore Ravens with Ray Lewis retiring.

The Ravens have already knocked off three elite quarterbacks. On the surface, it is hard to bet against them doing it one more time, or at the very least keeping it close down the stretch.

We think the running-QB angle is being overlooked and that a few big plays will bust this game wide open.

Super Bowl pick: San Francisco -3.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)

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