Bet on Super Bowl: The Age-Old Offense vs. Defense Matchup

ERF-544_BOS_NFL Futures_January 21, 2014Well, let’s get the obvious out of the way early – we have our Super Bowl XLVIII matchup. The AFC champion Denver Broncos will take on NFC champs Seattle at MetLife Stadium, and it will be one of the most curious matchups in recent memory.
Why? Because it’s essentially offense versus defense.
Denver boasted the league’s most prolific attack in 2013, finishing atop the NFL in total offense and passing, largely due to the play of QB Peyton Manning, who set a number of yardage and TD records en route to arguably the finest season of his career.
Seattle, meanwhile, had the league’s best total defense and finished as the NFL’s No. 1 unit against the pass, thanks in large part to a secondary that featured Pro Bowlers Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.
Sound familiar? Well in terms of Super Bowl online betting, it should.
In Super Bowl XXXVII, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders met on a similar collision course. It was the first time in Super Bowl history that the league’s No.1-ranked offense (Raiders) squared off against the league’s No. 1-ranked defense (Buccaneers), and set the stage for one of the most dynamic storylines in Super Bowl history.
First, the betting angle. Despite the fact Bucs head coach Jon Gruden knew pretty much everything there was to know about the Raiders – he was Oakland’s coach the four years prior to going to Tampa Bay – the Raiders entered the game as 4-point favorites on the SuperBowl point spread, and the O/U was set at a healthy 44 points.
This played on a trend of the more offensively-capable teams going in as favorites when it was time to bet on the Super Bowl. The year prior, St. Louis and its “Greatest Show on Turf” – led by offensive stalwarts Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Torre Holt – were 14-point favorites over the underdog Patriots.
So that set the stage for Oakland and its dynamic offense to head in as favorites for XXXVIII. The team was led by league MVP Rich Gannon and a bevy of pass-catching stars, including Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. The problem on game-day, though, was that the defense (as it often does) found a way to neutralize the offense. Gannon threw a Super Bowl-record five picks – three of which were returned for touchdowns (proving that, sometimes, defense can be your best offense.)
As the game went on, it became clear who was going to win this classic battle of O vs. D, despite the aforementioned Super Bowl betting odds. The Bucs sacked Gannon five times en route to building a 34-3 lead before cruising to a 48-21 win. The defense was so thoroughly dominating on the day that Bucs safety Dexter Jackson – who had a pair of interceptions and one TD – was named MVP, becoming just the second safety and third DB to even win the award.
Will these SuperBowl betting tips predict a similar narrative playing out between Seattle and Denver? Only time will tell.