Bart Barden was a Seahawks season ticket holder for 11 years so we couldn't resist asking the Director of Betfair's US Exchange to pen his thoughts on Sunday night's big game...
"Seattle are going to let Brady complete the short pass, make sure no extra yards are gained and drive inefficiency on third down to force punts."
Growing up on the West Coast as a huge NFL and Fantasy Football fan, nothing was better than the Super Bowl for player proposition bets. Normally these bet types were hard to find in the regular season, but come Super Bowl time the casinos were doing everything they could to boost volume on the biggest sporting event of the year (for Americans anyway). I can fondly remember yelling in the MGM Sportsbook for Peyton Manning to get just one more completion so I could have the experience of handing my ticket in for cold, hard cash.
Now that I am living in Ireland, I am able to get this excitement in the palm of my hand, but the strategy to pick winning player prop bets still runs deep. Here are my top two player bets for Super Bowl 49.
1: Back Over 22.5 Tom Brady Pass Completions
The logic behind this has both to do with the way the Patriots and Seahawks will approach the game.
On New England's side, their game plan will revolve around short, quick completions. This is the way to keep possession, move the chains and takes advantage of their strengths which is the passing game. Pop quiz: Would you want Tom Brady or LeGarrette Blount to touch the ball more times on offense? Deflated balls or not, the answer should be Brady. If you said Blount, then please stop reading this article and go buy a lottery ticket. The second justification is that the Patriots like to run no-huddle offense and averaged almost 10% more plays than their opponents during the regular season. This leads to more passing attempts which should naturally lead to more completions.
On the Seahawks side, they play a base 3 deep zone defense and because they have all-pro talent, do not need to do any game or opponent-specific formation adjustments. They line up, dare you to move the ball on you then swarm and tackle HARD.
Last year, they rolled up a 43-8 whooping of the Broncos, they stayed in the same coverage, made big hits and forced turnovers.
Most NFL experts evaluate the performance in Super Bowl 48 as the third or potentially second best defensive game played in the big game's history. The interesting statistic? Peyton Manning still had 35 completions in that game. They are going to let Brady complete the short pass, make sure no extra yards are gained and drive inefficiency on third down to force punts. This also means completion chances for Brady.
2: Back Over 6.5 Kam Chancellor Tackles + Assists
For mainly the same logic above, there will be plenty of opportunities for the Seahawk Safeties to roam the middle of the field and have to make tackles and plays. 'Batman' has been playing very well and will have to match up against Rob Gronkowski, resulting in much more chances to make tackles. Also a little known fact about the NFL, "Assists" are much easier to get on the stat sheet than a 'solo' tackle. The NFL statisticians tend to give up to three players credit on a gang tackle. This is a lot of assist chances.
Combine the fact that Kam also plays special teams for the Seahawks getting almost 100% of the snaps in the game, and you have a good value bet.
Did I mention he is an enforcer? How can you not WANT to bet on this guy?!
Full Disclosure and Bonus Bet
I am a die-hard Seahawks fan, lived in Seattle for more than 14 years and had season tickets for 11 years to the Seahawks. I was lucky enough to go to New York last year to watch the Denver Game. That game was loud. Really loud. It was 3,000 miles away but was like playing in Seattle. Peyton Manning felt that noise the first play of the game (safety) and never recovered. Super Bowl XLIX is in Arizona, on the West Coast much closer to Seattle. I will bet that 80% of the fans in the crowd will be cheering for the Hawks. I would take the Hawks +1.5 all day long, this will be a home game for them. 12th Man, loud and proud!