The past four times that the best offensive team met the best defensive team in the Super Bowl, the defense won the championship three times. That pattern has not swayed Super Bowl bettors from throwing early money behind the as they prepare to face the league's top defense in the Seattle Seahawks.
The opening line listed the two teams as a pick'em or Seattle as a slight 1-point favorite, but early action on the Broncos has driven Denver up to -2.5, according to the sportsbooks monitored by SB Nation lines partner OddsShark.com.
The total for the game is currently set at 47.5 or 48 points.
"But the Super Bowl has not been kind to AFC teams or favorites lately, so we expect tons of action on both sides of this game," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.
Indeed, underdogs are 5-1 against the spread in the past six Super Bowls, and they have won outright in four of those games. The NFC was riding a 5-0 ATS streak before the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens a year ago, a key consideration for anyone looking to bet on Super Bowl XLVIII.
Both teams won their respective conference's top seeds with 13-3 straight-up regular season records, and used their bye weeks and home field advantage in the playoffs to earn their trips to the Super Bowl.
Both Seattle and Denver enter the Super Bowl with a 15-3 SU record this season, with Seattle holding a slight ATS edge of 12-6 over Denver's 11-7. The game is being hyped up as a classic offense vs. defense matchup. Denver finished No. 1 in the NFL in scoring offense and total yardage while Seattle finished No. 1 in scoring defense and total yardage allowed.
Denver was a virtually automatic bet on the OVER during the first half of the season, with eight straight OVERs to start the year and 11 over their first 13 games, but each of the last five games Denver has played has gone UNDER the total. With that said, this is the first time a total has been under 49 for Denver since Week 1.
When handicapping this game, bettors must keep in mind that this will be the league's first ever cold weather Super Bowl. Current weather reports call for highs of under 40 degrees and an 18% chance of snow.
As the game gets closer, be sure to keep your eye on the conditions at MetLife Stadium, as they could have an effect on the flow of the game.
Super Bowl Computer Prediction: 35-34 Denver (from Super Bowl betting preview at Odds Shark)
Super Bowl Trends:
NFC is 5-1 ATS over the past six Super Bowls, 49ers lost last year as 4.5-point favorites against Baltimore.
Underdogs are 5-1 ATS over the past six Super Bowls, and they have won four of six SU
Seahawks are 6-3 ATS over the past nine playoff games
Seahawks are 17-3-1 ATS as underdogs since 2011
Broncos are 9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS over the past 11 games as favorites
Broncos are 11-2 ATS over the past 13 seasons after a bye week
Seahawks are 3-10-1 ATS over the past 14 seasons after a bye week
Seahawks are 3-12 SU vs. the Broncos since 1995