Super Bowl Stat Preview

THE STATS SAY SEATTLE IS THE BETTER TEAM, WILL THAT BE ENOUGH TO WIN ANOTHER SUPER BOWL?

We wrap up our weeklong look at important statistics in Sunday's Super Bowl featuring the AFC Champion New England Patriots and the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks with a review of the key indicators that have worked out so well for us this season. They encapsulate our prior coverage in very clear fashion...and outline the fundamentals handicappers must consider when evaluating the matchup.

Here we go...you've been reading these categories all season...don't forget them now!

Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Seattle: 12-4 (#12 schedule in USA Today)
N. England: 12-4 (#9 schedule in USA Today)

Virtually identical regular season performances. New England played the slightly tougher schedule according to Jeff Sagarin of USA Today. But, the margin for error on something like that is such that this is a virtual dead heat. Both were legitimate #1 seeds. Each may have pushed their records to 13-3 if they played a league average schedule. Both teams had one easy win and one nailbiter in the playoffs.

Yards-Per-Play
Seattle: 5.9 on offense, 4.6 on defense
N. England: 5.5 on offense, 5.3 on defense

A huge advantage here for Seattle on a per play basis. That differential of +1.3 is a monster, particularly this season. New England was barely above break-even...being forced to maximize efficiency on their scoring drives (finding the end zone instead of settling for field goals) and with turnover differential. It's important to note that Seattle was better on both sides of the ball. This isn't a case of Seattle having the better defense, but New England having the better offense (a general media theme). Seattle was +0.4 in one, +0.7 in the other. If pointspreads were based only on the stats...Seattle would be the favorite.

Turnover Differential
Seattle: +9
New England: +12

Both teams emphasize the risk/reward ratio. New England may even tinker with its own footballs to help their cause! Don't put mischief past Seattle either. They key to remember here is that both teams know the importance of ball projection. Part of what makes them great is their emphasis on this skill set. Now, it is true that Seattle has fallen off of last year's pace. The 2014 Super Bowl winners were a full takeaway PER GAME better than the 2015 challengers. Last year's Seahawks crushed Denver, and may have been positioned to do the same to Tom Brady and the Pats. Will this year's less aggressive unit give him too many opportunities to make plays?

Market Performance
Seattle: 9-6-1 ATS (then 1-1 ATS in the playoffs)
New England: 9-7 ATS (then 1-1 ATS in the playoffs)

Once again, we have very similar performances. Both teams were respected by the markets as clear Super Bowl contenders. Both earned slight profits anyway. Both just missed getting eliminated on the way to the big game because they don't have much margin for error over other top teams.

Current Line: New England by 1, total of 47

Why is New England -1 when the stats show Seattle? Clearly intangibles are playing a role here...and that would involve the "legacy" of the Patriots dynasty recognizing that this may be their last chance to ever lift the Lombardi Trophy (it's been 10 years!) matched up against the defending Super Bowl champs who just climbed the mountain. Based on the "stats," Seattle shouldn't have fallen behind 16-0 last week and needed a miracle to beat Green Bay. If the Seahawks are still overconfident and resting on their laurels...then the Patriots can be justified at a low price. Intangibles can be worth a lot when one team is giving 110% while the other already did that and may not think they need to do it again.

With that in mind, JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his on-site sources to get a read on Seattle's mindset. You could argue that it means EVERYTHING! If Seattle is focused, they're the better team and should be the favorite. They're capable of dominating just as they did last year if the Patriots can't move the ball through the air and start forcing things. On the other hand, if Seattle shows up overconfident like in the Green Bay game, they're must less likely to rally from behind against a smarter team with a Hall of Fame head coach. The final scoreboard could easily be off by a touchdown or more either way.

Sunday's Super Bowl is available from JIM HURLEY right now at the website. If you have any questions about football or basketball service, call the office at 1-800-323-4453 between now and kickoff. Be smart and build your bankrolls with some Saturday basketball!

We have one more Super Bowl report for you coming up tomorrow that will deal with late developments and tie up any loose ends. Then it's time to focus on college basketball as we ride down the road to March Madness. Look at the big games coming up!

Monday: College Basketball...#2 Virginia at #13 North Carolina
Tuesday: College Basketball...#22 Indiana at #5 Wisconsin
Wednesday: College Basketball...special major conference report
Thursday: College Basketball...UCLA at Stanford in the Pac 12
Friday/Saturday: blockbuster previews choosing from Kentucky at Florida, Louisville at Virginia, Notre Dame at Duke, and Georgetown at Villanova!

Both Virginia and North Carolina will have little time to recover from their Saturday blockbusters against Duke and Louisville respectively. And, then more ACC thrillers are on tap next Saturday.

It's one of the most exciting times of the Las Vegas sports betting calendar. The Super Bowl is about to hand off to March Madness. Win your most important football bets of the year with WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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