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Super Bowl XLVIII betting

February 1st, 2014

Denver Broncos from the AFC take on Seattle Seahawks from the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

This will be the Bronco's seventh Super Bowl appearance (W2, L4) and the Seahawks second (L1), and the match is a fascinating clash between the best attack in the NFL in Denver against the league's best defence in Seattle.

Indeed, that is reflected in their respective results at MetLife Stadium this season, with the Broncos beating the Giants 41-23 and the Seahawks shutting out the Giants 23-0.

Bookmakers make the Bronco's slight favourites to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy at best odds of 5/6 with Ladbrokes, while the Seahawks are available at 11/10 with Bet365 or at 20/21 with a 2 point start on the point-spread.

The first thing to note is that bookmakers have often got it wrong of late - with the underdog winning 5 of the last 6 Super Bowl's, including the 15/8 Baltimore Ravens last season.

However, it's fair to say that the bookmakers got it spot on at the start of this season, as both sides were available at just single-figure odds - with the Bronco's 7/1 favourites in the Super Bowl betting and the Seahawks 9/1 shots. Indeed, the two other fancied sides pre-season were the 8/1 San Francisco 49ers and the 9/1 New England Patriots - the two vanquished sides in the championship games last month.

The two sides faced each other in a pre-season game in Seattle back in August, which the hosts won comfortably (40-10), but Denver's quarterback Peyton Manning only played the first 1½ quarters and there is every reason to believe this will be a much closer affair.

Manning is undoubtedly one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. From 1998 to 2010, he led the Indianapolis Colts to 8 divisional championships, 2 AFC championships and a Super Bowl championship. His 5 NFL MVP awards (including this season) are a league record and Sports Illustrated named him the NFL player of the decade for the 2000's.

There is no question that how well Manning fares against the Seahawk secondary will determine how this match pans out. Seattle have conceded just 14.4 points per game this season, while Manning excels against the blitz defence - identifying the blitzers and exploiting the gaps they leave - but this Seahawks side rarely blitzes and the suspicion is that they may be able to handle Manning better than anyone else.

As is often the case in big games such as this, the turnover battle will also be crucial and it's noteworthy that the Seahawks have a plus-23 turnover margin this season, compared with a minus-2 margin for the Broncos. That could be the difference between the sides in a close game and we fancy the underdogs to win yet another Super Bowl on Sunday.

In the First Touchdown Scorer market, the favourite is Seattle's running back Marshawn Lynch, who has 12 touchdowns and three 100 yard games to his name this season. 'Beast Mode' is 6/1 with William Hill to cross the line first (as short as 4/1 elsewhere), while Manning's favourite option is wide receiver Demaryius Thomas who is 10/1 with William Hill to score the first touchdown. Both look worth backing.

Meanwhile, it's also worth noting that the MVP award has gone to the winning quarterback in 6 of the last 7 Super Bowl's - a run stretching back to when Manning won it with the Colts in 2007. Manning will be keen to catch up with brother Eli - who has won two Super Bowl MVP awards - and especially to do so on Eli's home turf. A win would also make Peyton the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.

Indeed, if you are betting on the outright winner on Sunday you might want to consider instead backing that sides quarterback for MVP. Manning can be backed at 11/10 with William Hill and Coral, while the Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is a very tempting 7/2 with William Hill (surely that's better than backing Seattle at 11/10).

Wilson has gone somewhat under the radar in his first two seasons in Seattle, certainly in comparison to the more heralded Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III - the two darlings of the 2012 draft. But he has won more games as a starter than any other quarterback in his first two seasons during the Super Bowl era and while he has a long way to go to be anything like as good as Manning, at the odds he looks the much better value.

As ever you can bet on anything in the Super Bowl with over 400 markets on offer, including on the outcome of the coin-toss for which Betfred offer evens on heads and tails (Sky Bet and Ladbrokes offer just 10/11 on each). Meanwhile, Sky Bet also offer odds on the first Bruno Mars song to be sung at half-time, with 'Locked Out Of Heaven' the 8/13 favourite!

Russell Wilson MVP
William Hill
Marshawn Lynch First Touchdown Scorer 6/1 William Hill
Demaryius Thomas First Touchdown Scorer 10/1 William Hill

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