The 2015 Super Bowl is just days away, as the Seattle Seahawks look to repeat as champions against the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona. Not only does Sunday’s contest have a chance to be one of the most competitive Super Bowls in the game’s 49-year history, but it might be one of the most difficult games to predict this season.
The betting odds aren’t likely to change much before the game kicks off, and most Las Vegas casinos have the Patriots favored by just one point, as of Thursday morning. The popular online betting website Bovada.lv has the point spread at two points in favor of New England.
Only two other Super Bowls have ever featured a betting line of just one point, according to vegasinsider.com. In 1973, the undefeated Miami Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins, 14-7, as one-point favorites. Nine years later, the one-point favorite San Francisco 49ers needed a touchdown in the final minute to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21.
Underdogs have fared very well in recent Super Bowls. The favorite has failed to cover the point spread in six of the last seven Super Bowls, with the only exception coming in 2011 when the Green Bay Packers covered a three-point spread against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots lost two of those games, being favored by a combined 14.5 points. The Seahawks were 2.5-point underdogs when they beat the Denver Broncos, 43-8, last year.
Seattle is looking to become the first team to reach consecutive Super Bowls, and win their repeat appearance as an underdog. The Buffalo Bills were underdogs in the 1992, 1993 and 1994 Super Bowls, losing every game by at least 13 points.
The Patriots are all but guaranteed to cover the spread if they beat the Seahawks, considering the New York Giants’ 20-19 win over the Bills in 1991 was the only Super Bowl to be decided by fewer than three points. New England has gone 10-8 against the spread this season, while Seattle has covered the spread in 11 of 18 regular-season and playoff games. The Seahawks were an underdog once this year, beating the San Francisco 49ers by 16 points on Thanksgiving.
The over/under of 47.5 is exactly the same as last year’s game, which finished with a total of 51 points. The over has hit in three of the last four Super Bowls, but this year’s game has a chance to be low-scoring.
The Seahawks boast the NFL’s best defense, allowing 15.9 points per game in 2014, and allowing 22 points or fewer in each of their last eight contests. Seattle’s two playoff games have totaled 48 points and 50 points, respectively, but none of their final seven regular-season games totaled more than 44 points.
New England’s offense ranked fourth with 29.3 points per game in the regular season, and they’ve scored 80 points in the postseason. However, the Patriots have been involved in several low-scoring games. Four of their final five regular-season contests totaled 47 points or fewer, including their matchup with the Green Bay Packers and their top-ranked offense.
If the 2015 Super Bowl doesn’t feature a lot of points, Seattle would likely benefit. While Russell Wilson has proven to be a quarterback that can make big plays, the Seahawks are at their best when they are led by their No.1 defense. The defending champs have allowed 24 points or more on four occasions this year, all of which have resulted in losses.
The Patriots are undefeated when scoring 24 points or more, which has happened 11 times this year. However, they are 2-2 when scoring 21 points or fewer. Tom Brady and Co. will have a difficult time scoring three touchdowns against the best defense in all of football.
Prediction: Seattle over New England, 23-17. The Seahawks should edge the Patriots, but it won't be a high scoring game. Take "Seattle" and bet the "under."