LAS VEGAS -- When my "Opening Line" column was posted on Insider a week ago Monday, one of my readers, Herc Strizzo, wrote in the comments section what I'm sure many were thinking: "Spoiler alert, Tuley bets the underdog."
As it turns out, he's correct as the Seattle Seahawks are my pick to win Super Bowl XLVIII over the Denver Broncos. But the truth is that even before the opener was posted, I knew I was going to be on the Seahawks. Now, I know the true professionals will tell you that you should only bet when you feel you have an edge, and it's OK to pass even if it's the Super Bowl, but even though the Broncos opened as a short underdog here in Vegas, I knew I wasn't going to like them in this matchup. Plus, I do have too much degenerate left in me to actually pass on the Super Bowl, so I was prepared to make the Seahawks my pick (though I probably would have gone with a short money line play of minus-120 to minus-130 as opposed to laying any points).
Wondering which side to take? Check out PickCenter and do your research before making that critical decision. PickCenter
Thankfully the early bettors turned the Broncos into the favorite and I'm comfortably back on the underdog.
However, the Super Bowl is more than just picking the winner, so I'll do my regular breakdown of what the public and the wiseguys are thinking about the game and then I'll give my "take." This betting guide also will include input from other handicappers on the game, total and the best prop bets to bet on.
Some years I've been able to win money on Super Sunday even when my main point-spread pick has lost (such as when Devin Hester paid off at 30-1 to score the first TD in Super Bowl XLI and guarantee a winning day even if the Bears didn't cover -- and they didn't), but also have cut into my winnings when I did have the right side.
Enjoy the game and good luck, as always.
Playoff record: 3-3-1 ATS | Regular season: 55-62-3 (47 percent) ATS
Note: Public Consensus Pick percentages from ESPN Insider's PickCenter as of Thursday morning.
Matchup: Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos
Spread: Broncos minus-2.5
Public consensus pick: 72 percent picked Broncos
Public perception: The wiseguys are given most of the credit for betting the Broncos from an opening underdog to favoritism, but the general public that also bet early was all over the Broncos, too. While the wiseguys have slowed down, the public consensus number at Insider's PickCenter and other bet-tracking sites have continued to show more than 70 percent of the action coming in on the Broncos. Peyton Manning is obviously a big part of Denver's appeal (the public rarely fades him) and they've been rewarded, as the Broncos are 11-7 ATS on the year (though the Seahawks certainly have their supporters and are an NFL-best 12-6 ATS).
Wiseguys' view: As stated previously, the sharps were on the Broncos early. Some of them probably thought Manning & Co. should be favored all along, while the rest of the movement came as part of the snowball effect. It gained momentum and other wiseguys jumped in along the way as it became more and more likely that they could buy back some on the Seahawks plus-3 at some point if they wanted. The line has gone that high a few times at a few books, but many industry insiders think it'll get pushed there for sure by Sunday. Regardless, the Seahawks also will be a popular teaser play, as you can get them over a touchdown.