My final article leading up to Super Bowl 49 is this one looking at several of the proposition wagers that I think have decent value from a handicapping perspective. I wouldn’t get too carried away on the prop bets for the reason that both New England and Seattle have outstanding coaching staffs and with an extra week to prepare, things might not go quite as planned, which is pretty much my philosophy on the Super Bowl in general – it’s just another game for bettors to decide whether there’s enough value to place a wager or not.
Seattle Seahawks over 142.5 rushing yards (-120)
The Seahawks are the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL, although the Patriots have done a decent job stopping the run and rank in the top 10 of the league rushing. But as I point out in Super Bowl 49 Preview, the Patriots allowed plenty of rushing yards in those games where they didn’t blow out the opposition and I don’t think they’re going to roll over the Seahawks. Even if New England loads the box and tries to make Russell Wilson beat them, Wilson is capable of breaking a few big runs and I believe Seattle will go over this number.
I like this wager a bit more than the Marshawn Lynch wager because if I’m New England, I do everything possibly to try and put the game in Russell Wilson’s hands and not let Lynch beat me. That probably involves crowding the box a bit to try and take away the run, but Wilson is a threat to run anytime he drops back to pass. I also like it a bit more than the Russell Wilson rushing prop because if Lynch is having some success, they’ll keep giving him the ball. It’s possible that both Wilson and Lynch could finish slightly under their rushing over/unders, but the Seahawks, as a team exceed 143 rushing yards in the game.
Tom Brady over 23.5 completions (-130)
I think that the Patriots will look to complete a lot of quick, short passes and have to believe that Brady completes at least 24 passes in the game as long as he doesn’t get knocked out. Keeping Brady in the game is obviously a priority for the Patriots and don’t believe they will attempt too many long pass plays. The Seattle cornerbacks are about as good as they come, but Brady should be able to find his backs coming out of the backfield and tight ends on occasion, along with some quick slants to the ends. The Seahawks are tough to run against and the Patriots line is better at pass protection, so while New England will run the ball some to try and slow down the pass rush, I have to believe that they’ll throw twice as much as they’ll try to run.
Stephen Gostkowski over 1.5 field goals (-140)
This is a case where I believe that New England will be able to move the ball a bit between the 20 yard lines, but things will get a lot tougher for the Patriots once they get inside the red zone. Short passes become harder to complete when the field shrinks and you have more bodies in a tight space. In some ways this wager is essentially tied in to the one directly above in that if Brady is able to move the ball with short passes, it increases the potential for a few scores. Have to believe that the Patriots will get a few attempts and Gostkowski is one of the best at anything 50 yards or less.