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Insider

Super Bowl XLIX picks, prop bets

For the second year in a row, we have a marquee Super Bowl matchup with the defending champion Seattle Seahawks taking on the New England Patriots. It's also the second straight year in which both conferences' No. 1 seeds have reached the big game.

And, just like last year when the Seahawks-Broncos matchup led Nevada sports books to handle a record $119 million in wagers, we're well on our way to a similar amount by the time all the tickets are totaled this Sunday.

ESPN Insider's Super Bowl Betting Guide aims to bring you a comprehensive look at the Super Bowl and hopefully produce as many winners as last year's guide (three straight years if including two years ago, when three of our four handicappers were on Baltimore over San Francisco).

Insider's team of pro football handicappers, as well as John Parolin of ESPN Stats & Information, will give their thoughts on the point spread and over/under as well as breaking down a bunch of the ever-popular proposition bets.

All odds courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of Thurs., Jan. 29.


Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots

Spread: Opened Seattle -2.5; now New England -1
Total: Opened 48.5; now 47.5
Public consensus pick: 72 percent picked Patriots

Public perception: Most of the time, the public doesn't get involved in betting opening numbers as much as the sharps, but the gap narrows for the Super Bowl. The action came early on New England on championship Sunday and snowballed as the Patriots finished off their 45-7 rout of the Colts. And since the early push we're still seeing the public going with the Patriots, who are the more public team (note: 72 percent also was the public consensus number last year on the Broncos in this Super Bowl Betting Guide).

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Wiseguys' view: Some sharps were on the Patriots early, as well, though a lot of that was trying to grab stale numbers as they saw the bandwagon filling up on New England. It was clear pretty early that the Patriots were going to get bet to favoritism, just like Denver did last year. Now, the sharps are pretty split on the two teams, though those on Seattle wish this would steam a little higher. Still, the Seahawks will probably be a popular teaser play.

Tuley's take: I love that the line has flipped to make Seattle the underdog, just like last year when we had them plus-2.5 against Denver. It's eerily similar to last year with the Seahawks being power-rated more highly (and favored at books that offered advance lines) before the conference championship games and then having the tighter title game while the AFC champion coasts, and everything flips.