On paper and certainly very recently on the field the New England Patriots seem to have a growing momentum on the Seattle Seahawks as kick-off time approacches this Sunday evening. The difficult question is should we subscribe to the more popular "what have you done for me lately" theory in confidently backing the Pats or look closer into their Super Bowl and playoff past, especially their all important against the spread numbers before making a decision.
Apparently, the bettors have predicatably weighed in as NOW is more important by driving them to current favoritisim at -1 at Diamond Sports and as a -1.5 favorite at other preferred online sportsbooks as well. But taking a microscope view of some previous ATS trends involving the two teams, here's what we've learned:
Past Playoff and Super Bowl Against the Spread Trends
The Patriots are 0-4 against the spread in their last four Super Bowl appearances. You can either take that as an omen or that they are due to cover with an almost entirely different roster of players except for QB Tom Brady, of course. Overall 3-4 straight-up in their Super Bowl history. They are also a suprisingly poor 4-11 ATS in their last 15 playoff games. Many of those 11 losses were due to straight-up wins and not covering the spread.
Conversely bright forecast for Seahawks backers, they are 5-2 against the spread in their last 7 playoff games and 10-3 in most recent playoff games played on grass, the Phoenix Stadium surface for Sunday's Super Bowl. It is difficult to not bet the Hawks with confidence either as looking at their last 51 games regular season or playoff they are 34-16-1 ATS.
With the extra public money driving the Super Bowl that includes dollars that love "favorites", I would expect the Patriots to be a -1 or potentiall -2 choice depending upon the wagering outlet you choose. Therefore it is very wise to shop around to receive an extra half point or full point that might make the difference in what likely will be a very close game.
The Over/Under Total in the Super Bowl has gathered less attention and has not wavered much past it's opening number of 48. It appears the linesmakers at Diamond Sportsbook and other major sportsbooks have done their job and come up with the right number predicting relative balanced public wagering.
By the numbers the last five Patriots Super Bowl appearances are skewed 4-1 Under and also 7-3 Under in the playoffs when they've played on grass. For the Seahawks, they are 9-3 Over the Total number in their last 12 playoff games including last week's miracle comeback against the Packers and last year's Super Bowl romp against the Broncos.
The interesting comparison stat being overlooked here might be the game line spread in relation to the Over/Under. Games that feature a "pick-em" or Even spread or narrow -1 tend to be lower scoring football games. Factor in both the Seahawks #1 defense and the Patriots solid defensive unit, I would tend to make UNDER a preferred choice here.