Do you really need me to list out the reasons to bet on the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl XLVIII? Probably not. They have the best offense, a respectable defense and just torched their way through the 2013 regular season. But in case you need some water cooler conversation helpers, I’ve got you covered.
1. Peyton Manning Has Owned This Season
Let’s face it. If you’re going to bet on the Denver Broncos, it’s because of Peyton Manning. You’ve probably read extensive coverage on his playoff performances of the past, but the 2013 edition of Peyton has simply been on a mission. Think about his first game of the season, where he dropped 462 yards and 7 touchdowns on Baltimore. Think about the fact that nobody had broken the 5,000 yards passing and 50 touchdown barrier in a single season until Manning did this year. Consider that Manning, at 37-years of age, is playing at an apex we’ve never seen before. Realize that he’s thrown for an average of 315 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0.5 picks in the last two playoff games, which is well above his career playoff averages. His team went 15-3 SU and 10-5-1 ATS. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t the year of Peyton Manning.
2. Jack del Rio and John Fox
They’re not the best head coaches in the business. In fact, they might be the farthest thing from what you want in an ideal head coach. But you can’t deny the results that defensively minded gurus like Fox and del Rio have accomplished together. Both have defensive backgrounds, success at managing personalities and maximizing the potential of the roster that they have. The Broncos don’t have a great defense, but since Manning does an incredible job of fine tuning his offense, Fox and del Rio can focus on ensuring that the Broncos defense does its damn job. They will be tested by the awesome ability of Marshawn Lynch, but I wouldn’t ignore the impact of Fox and del Rio on this team. They helped get them this far, right?
3. The Four Horseman of Peyton Manning
No quarterback in the league enjoys a stronger set of receivers than Peyton Manning. Wes Welker is an undeniable weapon in the slot, and teams always have to account for his speed. Eric Decker is perhaps the best number-two option in the league and can eviscerate secondaries if left in man-on-man coverage. Remember his 4 touchdown game against Kansas City? And while Julius Thomas may not be the world beater that Graham or Gronk are respectively, but he finished third amongst tight ends with 12 touchdowns.
A lot has been said about Richard Sherman’s ability to change a game, and there’s no way I can denounce the league leader in interceptions. But while Sherman takes all the media attention, people might start forgetting that Demaryius Thomas is one of the best receivers in the league. Those of you that have already bet on the Denver Broncos should be comforted by the fact that the Manning-Thomas combination has been virtually unstoppable all season, and even though Sherman is fantastic, he’ll literally have his hands full dealing with the dynamic, 6-foot-3, freak known as Demaryius Thomas.
4. Matt Prater’s Right Foot
Wait a second…a freaking kicker? Damn right. Super Bowls are won based on details. Don’t forget that Jacoby Jones practically won the Super Bowl last year with a blistering kick-off return in the opening half against the Niners last year. Anyone can be the hero.
To that end, Prater is 25-of-26 this year in terms of field goals and has hit a career long of 64 yards. He’s also perfect in terms of extra-points with 75-of-75 which is only fun to point out because the second and third ranked teams in this category were Cincinnati (53) and Kansas City (52). In other words, Prater’s had a lot of practice.
Seattle’s defense is to be feared, but the one person who won’t be scared of them is Prater because the rules protect him as well as ten blockers on every field-goal attempt. Prater also went 14-of-15 from ranges of 40 yards or more, including 6-of-7 from 50+ yards. That right foot of Matt Prater might not be one of the biggest reasons you bet on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, but it’s one of the strongest and most reliable boots in the league. He’ll be called upon plenty if the wind and weather don’t cooperate with Manning, or if Seattle’s defense goes bananas. Matt Prater’s right foot will be a weapon in stifling kick returns, chipping in extra-points and blasting field goals from distance. Don’t ignore the details.
5. The Broncos Are Favored
The Super Bowl XLVIII spread opened at -2.0 points, which is the smallest number we’ve seen on the championship game since 1973. It’s since shaded up to -2.5 for the Broncos, which still ties it for the tightest line in the last thirty years (2011 NYG-Patriots was -2.5 as well). Considering that all the action is coming in on Denver, the number could shift even higher. I’m expecting it to close at DEN -3.5.
Why is this important? The favorite is 15-7 SU in the last 22 Super Bowls straight up and has won 6 of the last 10 championships as well. You shouldn’t just bet blindly on the Broncos because they’re favored but the favorite’s odds of winning the game outright are simply better than the underdog’s overall. This should be piled on to a scale along with all the reasons I’ve listed to bet on the Denver Broncos that should tip you in the right direction when you wager on this spread.