The lead-up to the Super Bowl can be the longest two weeks of a sports bettor’s life. Thankfully, some of Covers Experts sharpest minds are willing to hold you over with a Super Bowl prop pick for each day heading into the Big Game on February 2.
Will Rogers - Highest Scoring Half
Pick: Second half -140
Although there has never been an overtime game in Super Bowl history, if there were to be here, the points scored would count to our benefit as the actual bet is second half + OT -0.5 pts over the first half
On average, NFL games saw about three more points scored in the second half compared to the first. Both Conference Championships played out that way as well. On the AFC side, 26 of the 42 points scored between Denver and New England were scored in the second half. On the NFC side, 27 of the 40 total points between Seattle and San Francisco were scored in the second half. If you go through the recent Super Bowls, the majority of scoring has taken place in the second half. Last year, it was 38 points scored in the second half between the Niners and Ravens compared to 27 in the first.
Jesse Schule - Seattle/Denver pass interference penalty first
Pick: Seattle -130
It's no secret that Denver is expected to be passing the ball more frequently than the Seahawks, therefore logic tells us that more passing plays will create more opportunities for a penalty. Richard Sherman has also attracted far too much negative attention to himself in the buildup to the big game, so don't expect him to get the benefit of the doubt on any close calls.
Matt Fargo - Russell Wilson Total Rushing Yards in Game
Over 30.5 (-105)
Under 30.5 (-115)
Pick: Over 30.5 -105
This is some solid value on Wilson as he is always a threat to break a big run if not more than one. He was held to just 16 rushing yards in the two playoff games and that is helping with this total. He is averaging 33.7 ypg and has eclipsed 30 yards eight times this season including four of his last six regular season games. He has a good matchup here as Denver is allowing 3.9 ypc on defense but its strength is up the middle. The Broncos allow 4.4 ypc on the left edge and 5.3 ypc on the right edge and Wilson will not be getting his yardage up the gut as he goes outside. He averages 5.6 ypc and depending on the flow of this game, this overall rushing total is easily attainable.
Sean Murphy - Total punts 8.5
Pick: Under 8.5 (-105)
I like the value being offered with the Under in regard to this prop, with the Over currently juiced out to -135. While I do have respect respect for both defenses, I'm not sure we'll see a complete slugfest here. Both head coaches have been known to roll the dice on occasion and I certainly don't expect either team to hold anything back in this one. Look for a couple of fourth-down conversion attempts at the very least, helping our cause with this prop total. We'll see the two offenses move the ball into field goal range more often than not. And, it's worth noting that represents a good chunk of the field with kickers Matt Prater and Steven Hauschka instilling plenty of confidence.
Jesse Schule - Seattle/Denver holding penalty first
Pick: Denver -130
Denver's offensive line has done a great job protecting Manning in these playoffs so far, but Seattle's defense should bring more pressure than previous opponents. We saw Denver take a holding penalty early in the second quarter in their win over New England, and it wouldn't be a shocker if we saw an early holding call on Denver here in the Big Game.
Will Rogers - Russell Wilson Longest Rush
Pick: Over 10.5 yards (-115)
The Seattle QB is typically good for one big play per game with his feet and all it will take is picking up one Broncos blitz attempt for him to gain this many yards on one rush. Strangely, he has yet to run for more than eight yards on any carry in these playoffs, so he's due. However, during the regular season there were only three such games where he failed to gain at least 10 yards on one carry. One of those was again against San Francisco. Another was in the season opener. Denver has faced two immobile QBs to this point in the playoffs, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. They'll be susceptible.
Matt Fargo - Total punts made in the game by both teams
Over 9.5 (+125)
Under 9.5 (-150)
Pick: Under 9.5 (-150)
We are paying a little extra juice for this one, but it still is excellent value in my opinion. Because conventional thinking says that strong defenses causes punts, we have to remember this is still an offensive league now and past history is an even greater indication of this being too high. Last week in the conference championship games, there were 10 punts combined in both games. In the 10 playoff games thus far, only two have seen more than 9.5 punts with an average of just 6.7 per game. In 10 playoff games thus far, only two have seen more than 9.5 punts with an average of just 6.7 per game.
Sean Murphy - Will either team score three unanswered times?
Pick: No +200
As usual, we're being offered excellent value with this prop. To put it simply, I'm not expecting a blowout in this game. While the Seahawks defense is the more flashy unit, I feel that the Broncos defense can be equally effective in this game. With that being said, unless we see a litany of mistakes from the two offenses - which is unlikely given their track records - I don't see either defense breaking down over an extended period and allowing three consecutive scores. Look for a nip-and-tuck affair throughout, with neither team able to stretch the margin. I would play this prop at any price +180 or higher.
Jesse Schule - Winning margin O/U 13.5 points
Over 13.5 (+314)
Under 13.5 (-377)
Pick: Over 13.5
This game could come down to how close the referees decide to call the coverage on the defensive backs. If Seattle's big physical corners are allowed to have their way with the Denver receivers, Seattle could cruise to an easy victory behind their defense and power running game. If they pull out flags every time they see contact, then Manning could simply do what he's done all year, and light up the scoreboard. While a close game wouldn't be a shocker, getting such a big payout on a blowout from either side presents excellent value in my opinion.
Will Rogers - Number of times Peyton Manning will say "Omaha"
Over 27.5 (-120)
Under 27.5 (-120)
Pick: Under 27.5
In the AFC Championship Game versus the Patriots, Manning uttered the now-famed audible call a total of 31 times. Against San Diego, he said it 44 times. Thus, most bettors are going to want to bet the Over. But Seattle's defense, the best in the league, won't allow the Broncos to run as many plays. I'll go Under 27.5.
Matt Fargo - First score of the game will be…
Field goal (+140)
Courtesy of Bet365.com
Pick: Field goal (+140)
Nine of the last 15 Super Bowls have seen a field goal or a safety lead off the scoring and at favorable odds here, I like that to continue. Last year, this didn't cash as Baltimore was able to score a touchdown thanks to a short field on its opening drive. I don't see a repeat of that.
These are two strong offensive teams but the Super Bowl will tighten up even the best of them and these defenses are solid, especially the Seahawks. Over these last 15 Super Bowls, there has been an average of only 5.9 points scored in the first quarter, so touchdowns have been rare to begin with.
Sean Murphy - Highest scoring quarter
Courtesy of Bet365.com
Pick: Second (+160)
I have a lot of respect for both of these defenses. I believe the respect is mutual between the two teams as well. With that being said, I'm not expecting a ton of offensive fireworks early in this game.
As is often the case in the Super Bowl, these two teams are rather unfamiliar with one another, and we can expect a bit of a feeling out process in the first quarter. By the time the second quarter rolls around, both offenses should find their rhythm, and that's when I anticipate seeing the most points being scored.
After a long halftime, there's a tendency for teams to come out sluggish in the third quarter. As for the final frame, both defenses have the potential to take over in what I anticipate being a tight game at that point. The second quarter is pegged as the “favorite” in this prop for good reason.
Check back tomorrow for the latest Super Bowl prop pick of the day.