Super Bowl Pick: Going Contrarian

Jim Wexell has heard the opinions of the greatest in the world. And he's going the opposite way. Here's his Super Bowl take:

OK, you came to this site for insider information and right now this is the best I can give you:

The top NFL handicapper that I know, a razor out of the Bronx named Nemo, whom I watched compile a 13-2-1 season, is picking the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl.

And I can't say that I agree with him.

In addition, a $10 million bet placed on the Broncos by well-known gambler and world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather moved the line a half point to Denver -2.5, but neither did that move my opinion.

It did shake me up a bit, though.

But, no, I sat and watched Peyton Manning lob softballs around his home yard against New England two weeks ago in sunny, calm weather, and wondered just how difficult he would find the February winds in The Meadowlands.

Oops. Sorry. The New Jersey site is now called Met Life Stadium.

Regardless, since the Broncos' run statistics against the Seattle Seahawks will likely be measured more closely in feet rather than yards, I'm thinking that Manning's old-man arm will find the matriculations rather difficult against Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and that frenetic group of pass rushers for Seattle.

And then there was my sense while watching the Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers that that was the real championship game, much like the 1980s when the young NFC ruffians would play to determine who would chew up the AFC representative that had a passing game and little else.

And the Seahawks are getting Percy Harvin back.

And Pete Carroll's one cool operator.

And the hungry 'Hawks have that underdog chip to keep them loose and feeling disrespected.

So, yeah, I like the Seahawks in spite of what the really smart gamblers of the world are trying to tell me.

But I must first put pencil to paper and run through my reads before I post a prediction.

I do this in Super Bowls by comparing specific statistics of games against common opponents, and this is what I came up with:

The Seahawks.

I only use three indicators because I don't want to make this too complicated, and against Jacksonville, Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee and the New York Football Giants, the Seahawks bettered the Broncos in all three.

Of course, the Broncos went 5-0 against the common opponents and outscored them by an average of 41-21. The Seahawks went 4-1 (losing at Indy) and outscored the five by an average of 28-17.

That's probably why the Broncos are favored and drawing massive bets from world champion boxers; that and the perceived edge at quarterback. But a look behind the scores reveals what I believe to be a gold strike:

* The Seahawks have a better number on both lines of scrimmage by +0.6 yard per rush.

* The Seahawks have the better pass defense by +0.7 yards per completion.

* And the Seahawks even have the better yards per point -- an efficiency number that tells us something about red zone, turnovers and special teams -- by +0.7.

There aren't any whopping differences, but the fact that all three indicators come up on the underdog makes me stick to my original perception that the Seahawks are the better team.

I'm not saying I'm going to actually have the courage to go against Nemo, the man I consider the best in the world at NFL analysis, but it's enough to predict the Seahawks right here on paper.

And if I'm wrong, and the Seahawks lose, well, it couldn't happen to a bigger bunch of Great Northwest whiners.

So enjoy your Super Bowl party wherever you are, and with whomever you pick to win the game.

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