Baltimore Ravens to Win Super Bowl XLVII

Published On Feb 3, 2013

Five Reasons to Bet on the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII

With a convincing 28-13 victory over the heavily favored New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens advanced to their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Baltimore continues a trend of lower seeded teams advancing to the NFL’s biggest game—once primarily the province of number 1 and 2 seeds (in the first 11 years of the 12 team format, the Super Bowl winner was a 1 or 2 seed nine times), the Super Bowl now features a team seeded 4th or lower for the sixth time in the last eight years. Can the Ravens continue the trend of a lower seeded team advancing all the way from the Wild Card round to become Super Bowl champion? SuperBowlBets.Org presents five compelling reasons the underdog Baltimore Ravens are poised to upset the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

First, as the lines has been fluctuating since there were first set after the January 20th championship games, let’s take a look at how things currently stand:

Point spread: Baltimore +4

Money line: San Francisco -160, Baltimore +140

Over/under: 47 ½

Even with just a few hours left before Sunday’s 6:30 EST kickoff, there is still plenty of time left to place your bet. In fact, with two week’s worth of analysis and a clearer picture of both team’s injury situations, there is no better time for NFL bettors to fatten their wallets with an informed Super Bowl bet.

Before examining how the Ravens match up against the 49ers, it is useful to consider how both the Ravens’ offense and defense performed during the regular season. To include the most accurate, up to date information available, we’ve included the adjusted numbers for the Ravens post season performance:

On offense, the Ravens finished 15th in the NFL in passing yards per game (233.7) and 11th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (118.8). Those averages have seen a enormous increase in the 2013 playoffs—perhaps due to recently promoted offensive coordinate (and former Colts head coach) Jim Caldwell. In the post season, the Ravens are averaging 276 yards per game through the air and 148.7 yards per game on the ground. On defense, the once feared Ravens defense finished 17th against the pass (allowing 228.1 yards per game) and just 20th against the run (allowing 122.8 yards per game). Those averages have gotten even worse in the playoffs as the Ravens, through three games, are now allowing opponents 286.7 passing yards and 128.3 rushing yards.

These regular season and playoff statistics undoubtedly provided a useful tool for all would-be Super Bowl bettors as they give an indication of the Ravens strengths on offense and defense. Football is a game of match ups so the crucial question remains—How do the Ravens match up against the San Francisco 49ers and what convincing reasons are their for bettors to lay their money on the upset? We here at SuperBowlBets.org offer five reasons the underdog Baltimore Ravens will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy next Sunday.

1. No Ordinary Joe

No player in this year’s NFL playoffs has been more integral to his team’s success and made bigger strides towards entering the NFL’s elite echelon than Joe Flacco. Once practically defined by the “not good enough to win a Super Bowl” tag, Flacco has been this year’s most reliable post season signal caller and enters Sunday’s game with the highest quarterback rating (114) of any playoff performer. In his first three playoff games, Flacco has thrown for 853 yards, 1 touchdown and, most importantly, 0 interceptions.

While he has never put up the gaudy regular season statistics of a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, Flacco has now bested both in his last two games. Flacco, although often the object of criticism, in year’s past, has also now won a playoff game in each of his first five NFL seasons—a first in NFL history.

The past few weeks have demonstrated that Flacco is now playing the best football of his career. In the NFL playoffs and particularly the Super Bowl, the narrow line between victory and defeat is often just one turnover. With two wins under his belt—and zero interceptions—our money is on Joe Flacco being the quarterback leaving the field a Super Bowl champion come Sunday.

2. Torrey Smith Over the Top/Ray Rice Underneath

As well as Flacco has been playing, the Ravens offense would be no better than an unloaded gun if he wasn’t surrounded by talent at the wide receiver and running back positions. Once a team whose identity was based on the running game, recent years have seen the Ravens add considerable talent on offense. Now possessing the firepower to beat the NFL’s elite, receiving talent can be considered strength of the Baltimore offense and will play a key role if they are to upset the 49ers.

One of the biggest improvement the Ravens have made is in their deep ball efficiency. During the regular season, the Ravens were among the league’s best in passes completed over 20 yards. This trend has continued during the playoffs with Flacco averaging nearly 17 yards per completion. Second year player Torrey Smith is a big reason why. No receiver has been more dangerous down the field this post season than Smith who is now averaging 22 yards per completion—best in the NFL playoffs. Smith’s ability to beat corner backs down field adds a potent dimension past Ravens offenses has been lacking.

But what makes the Ravens offense so difficult to defend is its diversity. In addition to the deep ball, the Ravens feature one of the best receiving running backs in the NFL in Ray Rice. Rice provides a security blanket for Flacco; if no receivers are open down field, Flacco can always dump the ball underneath to Rice who is often mismatched against an opposing linebacker. And, once he gets the ball in his hands, few players are as dangerous in the open field as Rice. His fourth and 29 scramble in week 12 against the San Diego Chargers remains one of the plays of the season and demonstrates how he can turn a desperation pass into a game changing gain.

If the 49ers defense has a weakness, it is in their secondary. Consider this match up one that goes in the Ravens favor.

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3. Special Teams

Although an often overlooked aspect of NFL football, special teams have been decisive in a number of past Super Bowls. Think of Super Bowl XXXI. After the Patriots cut the lead to 27-2 in the third quarter, kick off returner Desmond Howard propelled the Green Bay Packers to victory with a scintillating 99 yard kick off return touchdown. Howard was named the MVP of the game and is exhibit #1 in showing how special teams players can change a game.

The Ravens feature the NFL’s top return man in all-pro kick returner Jacoby Jones. Jones has already returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season—one an NFL record 108 yards—and led the league with a 30.7 average. On the flip side, the 49ers special teams unit gave up over 26 yards per return attempt–bad enough to rank them 2nd worst in the entire league. In a game that could come down to field position, expect the Ravens special teams to give them an important edge.

The Ravens also have a significant advantageous with their field goal kicker Justin Tucker. One of the NFL’s best, Tucker was good on 91% of his regular season field goal attempts. Even more impressive, the reliable kicker was 4-4 on field goals of 50 yards or more. Tucker has yet to miss in this year’s playoffs. Contrast Tucker with his counterpart David Akers. Akers were near the bottom of the league with just a 69% success rate on field goal attempts. In fact, after Akers missed 13 regular season field goal attempts, the 49ers brought in journeyman Billy Cundiff as competition. Although Akers remains the kicker, he again missed a routine attempt in the NFC Championship game against the Falcons. In a game that could come down to 3 points or less, the leg of Justin Tucker gives the Ravens a not to be overlooked advantage.

4. Ravens defense taking flight

With the return of emotional leader Ray Lewis who has announced this season will be his last, the Baltimore defense appears to be a revitalized unit. Perennially among the league’s elite, this year saw the Ravens falter to a mediocre to below average defense. Although they have given up big yardage through their three playoff games, their post season play in the red zone has been a key in all three victories.

Their 28-13 victory over the Patriots in the AFC Championship game is the most illustrative example. Although the Ravens actually allowed more yards than their offense gained—428 total yards including 320 passing yards for Tom Brady—those yards only translated to a mere 13 points on the scoreboard. How did the Ravens defense constantly allow yards while keeping their opponent out of the end zone? The key was in their red zone play. Three times the New England offense drove within the Ravens 20 yard line but left the field with no points to show for the effort. The usually infallible Tom Brady was picked twice in the red zone by an opportunistic Baltimore defense.

This trend has been consistent throughout the Ravens three playoff games. Although the Ravens gave up 419 total yards to Andrew Luck and the Colts, the Colts finished with only 9 points as they were 0-3 in the red zone.

It’s simple enough – the NFL comes down to points and, although the Ravens are allowing their opponents to amass a large amount of yards, they are keeping them off the scoreboard.

5. The Ravens Have Been Here Before

Despite their last Super Bowl appearance being 12 years ago–Baltimore’s 34-7 manhandling of the New York Giants in 2001–the Ravens roster still contains a key player from that championship team: defensive leader Ray Lewis. More importantly, the majority of the Ravens roster is a playoff seasoned bunch. Since Flacco took over in 2008, the Ravens have appeared in a league high 13 playoff games. The team has won at least one playoff game every season in that stretch and has advanced as far as the conference championship three times in the last five seasons. No team in the NFL is better prepared to deal with the pressures of a Super Bowl than the Baltimore Ravens.

On the other hand, the San Francisco 49ers team is starting a quarterback playing in just his 10th start—fewer total games to his resume than many Ravens have in the post season alone. This might factor as less of an issue if the 49ers had a seasoned, veteran coach who could navigate the team through the many distractions of a Super Bowl. Instead, Harbaugh is just as green under the collar and enters Sunday’s game with just two years of NFL coaching experience.

Inexperience doesn’t always translate to a lack of success; but, in a game that has NFL analysts divided, the fact that the Ravens have been here before gives them an advantage in dealing with the pitfalls and pressure of a Super Bowl appearance.

Super Bowl Betting

Although the Ravens enter Sunday’s game 4 point dogs, there are compelling reasons to think that, not only can they cover the spread, but that they will be the team taking home the Lombardi Trophy and bringing Baltimore its second NFL championship in the last 12 years.

With kickoff now just days away in what promises to be one of the better championship games in recent memory, be sure to stay tuned to SuperBowlBets.org for the latest news, commentary and analysis. With the lines starting to settle, there is no better and no more exciting time to bet on NFL football than Super Bowl weekend. Be sure to take advantage of unbeatable offers currently available through our recommended SportsBooks—lest you kick yourself at kickoff by not taking advantage of SuperBowlBets.org outstanding betting opportunities.

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San Fransciso 49ers to Win Super Bowl XLVII

Published On Feb 3, 2013

Five Reasons to Bet on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII

After their thrilling come from behind 28-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers will now face the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL’s 47th Super Bowl.  Although this marks the first time the 49ers will play for the Lombardi trophy since 1994, they nonetheless rank 3rd all time with this being their sixth Super Bowl appearance.  The 49ers have never lost the NFL’s biggest game and enter Sunday 5-0 all-time in their previous Super Bowl appearances.

With kickoff scheduled for 6:30 EST on Sunday, February 3rd, NFL bettors still have time to place their final bets. The betting lines on Sunday’s Super Bowl are currently as follows:

Point spread: San Francisco -4

Money line: San Francisco -160, Baltimore +140

Over/under: 47 ½

As there has already been significant movement on these lines–and that trend could continue even minutes before kickoff– be sure to regularly check our recommended Sportsbooks for advantageous action.

Before listing the top five reasons the San Francisco 49ers are worth your betting dollar, here are a few useful San Francisco 49ers statistics all NFL bettors should consider before placing their final bet on Super Bowl Sunday. To provide the most detailed, accurate information available, we have included both regular season and playoff season statistics for the 49ers:

On offense, the 49ers were 23rd best (206.1 yards per game) in the NFL through the air and 4th best (155.7 yards per game) on the ground. With Colin Kaepernick at the helm, both of those numbers have risen significantly in the 2013 playoffs: in their two postseason games, the 49ers are now averaging 240 passing yards and a staggering 236 yards on the ground.     On defense, the 49ers were 4th best against both the run and the pass, allowing opposing teams just 200.2 passing yards and 94.2 rushing yards per game. During the post season, the 49ers are uncharacteristically allowing 322 passing yards per game but remain stout against the run allowing just 92.5 yards per game.

Although this type of general statistics should always be considered by prospective NFL bettors, the more relevant question is: How do the 49ers specifically match up against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII?  Here are the top five reasons the 49ers are likely to emerge victorious on Sunday and capture their sixth Lombardi trophy:

1.    The arm and legs of Colin Kaepernick

In a bold decision in a league that tends towards the conventional, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made the move to unproven second year quarterback Colin Kaepernick after starter Alex Smith went down with a concussion in week 10. Smith had been no slouch himself, leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship game last year and posting one of the best quarterback ratings in the league this season (104.1). However, the switch to Kaepernick has undeniably made the 49ers a more diverse and explosive offense.

With Smith at the helm, the 49ers were a fairly predictable offense that relied heavily on the ground game and the short to mid-length passing game. Kaepernick has a much stronger arm and is able to make the deep, down field throws Smith struggled with. With receivers Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss paired with tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers now possess a quarterback with the arm to get them the ball down field.

Kaepernick is just as explosive a threat on the ground.  In his first playoff game, he set the NFL post season quarterback rushing record in the first half alone. For the 2013 playoffs, Kaepernick is averaging over 100 yards per game rushing—a stat that puts him 4th best in this year’s NFL playoffs and ahead of most running backs.

2.    Pistol Read Option

Although not a new offensive system (it has been used in college for years), use of the pistol read option has been rare in the NFL. In the read option, after the quarterback takes the snap, he makes a quick read of the opposing defense and chooses amongst three options: hand the ball to the running back, run the ball himself or drop back to pass.

The relative rarity of the offense along with its triple threat attack has confounded the 49ers opponents the last two playoff games. Nowhere was this more on display than in the divisional playoff game against the Packers.  The 49ers executed all three aspects to perfection: Frank Gore ran for 119 yards while Kaepernick passed for 263 yards and ran for another 181. Far from being a liability due to his inexperience, it has been the 49ers who have exploited the rest of the league’s inexperience with Kaepernick and the read option offense.

Even more telling for Sunday’s match up, the Ravens defense has struggled this season with mobile quarterbacks.  The Ravens were defeated earlier in the season by both the Robert Griffin III led Washington Redskins and the Michael Vick led Philadelphia Eagles.  Given the 49ers success thus far and the Ravens previous inability to handle dynamic quarterback’s, this looks like a mismatch in San Francisco’s favor.

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3.    49ers Ground Game

Although Kaepernick has rightly received many of the headlines, he is only an aspect of  diverse 49ers running game that figures to have success against an aging Ravens defense. Even prior to Kaepernick taking over as quarterback, the 49ers featured one of the most potent running attacks in the league. During the regular season, the 49ers rushed for over 155 yards a game – fourth best in the NFL.  In the post season, they are averaging a dominating 236 yards per game on 6.56 yards per carry.

The often overlooked Frank Gore remains one of the league’s best running backs, and he has proved it during the 2013 playoffs. Gore is averaging over 100 yards this post season and is the type of back who will pick up steady yardage, allowing the 49ers to control the ball and keep a dangerous Raven’s offense off the field.  As the Ravens will be keyed in on stopping Kaepernick, look for Gore to exploit the Ravens’ focus being elsewhere.

Gore himself will occasionally be spelled by LaMichael James. The rookie speedster is one of the quicker players in the league. Seeing increased playing time during the playoffs, he is a constant threat to bust off a long run and adds yet another dimension to a running attack that is already one of the league’s best.

4.    Let’s Get Physical

No defense in the league is more physical and more punishing than San Francisco’s. As the New York Giants dominating front,  four has shown in recent Super Bowl victories, the only way to stop modern NFL passing offenses is by getting constant pressure on the quarterback. No higher praise could then could be applied to the 49ers defense than the words of Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell who summarily described the 49ers unit as “Physical, physical, physical.”

Two weeks rest should be just what the doctor ordered from the San Francisco defense.  Defensive end Justin Smith has now had the time he needed to recover from a Triceps injury that has hampered him since week 15. The attention Justin Smith warrants from the offensive line should free up pass rushing specialist Aldon Smith to do what he does best: get to the quarterback.  Aldon Smith finished the season with 19.5 sacks yet has posted none in his last four games—a four game stretch that coincided with Justin Smith’s injury.  With Justin Smith back at full strength, expect Aldon to be in Flacco’s face early and often.

With linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, the 49ers unit is arguably the best in the league.  The Ravens like to exploit mismatches by using Ray Rice as a receiver out of the backfield matched up against a linebacker. This has provided Joe Flacco with a safety valve when deeper options are not available. Look for the 49ers linebackers, the best coverage unit in the league, to do a better job defending this option than Baltimore’s past opponents.

5.    Jim Harbaugh

In this most televised of sibling rivalries, we give an edge to Jim Harbaugh over his brother John due to his proven ability to pick apart other teams’ weaknesses by ruthlessly exploiting mismatches.

Harbaugh’s genius as a game planner was on full display in the 49ers earlier 45-31 playoff dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers seemed woefully ill-prepared for 49ers read option and Harbaugh was merciless in exploiting this weakness.  The best evidence of this is that, of Kaepernick’s 181 rushing yards against the Packers, 178 occurred before he was even touched by a Green Bay defender. In other words, the Green Bay defense didn’t simply miss tackles, they weren’t even in the correct position to make them. The conclusion to be drawn is that the San Francisco coaching staff designed their offensive game plan around holes they noticed in the Green Bay defense and that this strategy worked to perfection.

As a further example, at one point Green Bay guard Josh Sitton was forced to leave the game due to injury. In his place, the Packers were forced to use the over the hill Jeff Saturday.  What did Harbaugh do?  He immediately called a delayed blitz for San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis.  The result?  A driving killing sack for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense.

When Harbaugh senses a weakness, you can be sure he will devise a game plan to exploit it.  Although games are ultimately decided by the talent on the field, the NFL remains one sport where an elite coaching staff can have a decisive influence. In just his second year, Harbaugh has demonstrated the ability to continually out scheme his peers.

Super Bowl Betting

With a victory on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers will tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with a league best 6 Super Bowl victories. The 49ers have never lost a Super Bowl previously and, given the reasons enumerated above, there are compelling reasons to think that trend isn’t likely to change come Super Bowl XLVII.

With kickoff just hours away to what promises to be one of the better championship games in recent memory, be sure to stay tuned to SuperBowlBets.org for the latest news, commentary and analysis.  With the lines starting to settle, there is no better and no more exciting time to bet on NFL football. Fatten your wallet by taking advantage of the outstanding offers currently available through our recommended SportsBooks.

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2013 Pro Bowl Recap

Published On Feb 3, 2013

Can Watt’s Bloody Pinkie Convince the Commish?

Although many view the Pro Bowl as a meaningless contest sandwiched between the excitement of the NFL Championship games and the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl is an additional opportunity for NFL bettors to fatten their wallets by wagering on various aspects of the game. Each year Sportsbooks set lines on the spread and over/under just as they would any other game. Although the game may not count for much in the standings, the money that can be won from the contest spends the same as that won from any other wager.

History of the Pro Bowl

The first Pro Bowl—at the time called the “Pro All-Star Game”–was played on January 15th, 1939 at Los Angeles’s Wrigley Field. The name wasn’t the only significant difference: unlike the format of today which pits NFC all-stars against AFC all-stars, the original Pro Bowl matched that year’s NFL Champion New York Giants against a cast of all-stars assembled from the rest of the league’s teams. Although initially intended to be an annual contest, the game was abandoned after the 1942 season.

The concept of an NFL all-star game was resurrected in 1950. It was at this time that the league dubbed the game the “Pro Bowl” and switched to the current format of rosters composed of all-stars from the NFL’s two conferences. From 1951-1972, this contest was played annually in Los Angeles, California.

It wasn’t until 1980 that the Pro Bowl was moved to the venue it is now permanently associated with, Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. With the exception of the 2010 game played in Florida, every game since that 1980 season has taken place in Honolulu where it serves as an significant annual source of income for the city. The only substantial change in the game during that period has been its timing; whereas it once occurred at the conclusion of the season after the Super Bowl victor had been decided, the game now takes places the weekend between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

Future of the Pro Bowl

As the Pro Bowl is the only all-star game in a major sport to draw lower ratings than its regular season games, recent years have seen increased speculation that the NFL may scrap the game entirely. The lack of fan interest in the game primarily stems from the nonchalant attitude many of the players exhibit. With blitzing and press coverage already disallowed by the revised Pro Bowl rules, defense in the game is at a minimum causing Pro Bowl contests to more often resemble a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition than an actual NFL game. Contact in the game is often nonexistent leading some to compare to the game to flag football or, worse, a pillow fight.

After criticism of the game reached an all-time high in 2012, NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell stated he was “not inclined to play it anymore” unless players approached the game with increased effort and raised the level of competition to something at least approximating that of a regular season game.

The 2013 Pro Bowl was thus arguably the most important Pro Bowl in NFL history as the very existence of the game is at stake.

2013 Pro Bowl

Although the players appeared to give more of an effort last Sunday, the results were similar to past Pro Bowl performances—comically high scoring by both teams combined with video game stat lines for most of the offensive players involved. In a game that was a blowout by the second quarter, the NFC all-stars routed their AFC counterparts in a 62-35 victory. Although the NFC unit already appeared unstoppable on offense, they were helped even further by a sloppy, five turnover performance by the AFC squad. Houston Texan quarterback Matt Schaub was the worst culprit contributing two interceptions.

Second year Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph was voted the MVP of the game after he finished with 5 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Rudolph is a player NFL bettors should keep an eye on next season as he appears poised for a breakout season which should give the Vikings a much needed weapon on offense alongside likely league MVP Adrian Peterson and often injured wide receiver Percy Harvin.

In terms of quarterback play, nearly every player involved put up gaudy statistics that would make fantasy football players salivate—if only the game counted. Colts rookie Andrew Luck lead all players with 202 passing yards. However, it was in the third quarter that another rookie stole the show as Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson tossed three touchdown passes in a ten minute span. Wilson also did his part to help save the Pro Bowl by refusing to take a sack and risking a scramble numerous times when his pocket collapsed.

Cincinnati Bengal A.J. Green lead the AFC with 7 catches for 119 yards, one of which included a 49 yard TD catch along the right sideline—good for the longest scoring play of the game. Green is another player NFL bettors need to take note of as he projects as a top 5 receiver next season.

The highlight of the game may have been a bit of buffoonery on the part of Houston Texan J.J. Watt. Although Watt will most likely win the defensive player of the year award after finishing with an NFL best 20.5 sacks, the 6′ 5” 300 pound defensive lineman lined up offensively as a split out tight end twice to the delight of the crowd. Later, Watt humorously held up a bloody left pinky finger like some bruised gladiator and even addressed the commissioner: “Hey commish, we’re playing hard!”

Will J.J. Watt’s bloody pinkie be enough to save the Pro Bowl? In an interview, this week, Goodell did note that the level of effort exhibited by both sides seemed to increase. The NFL has said there should be a decision on the future of the all-star game by the time next season’s schedules are released in April. As always, stay tuned to SuperBowlBets.org as soon as any news breaks that NFL bettors need to hear, you can be sure you will find it reported here.

Super Bowl Betting Promotions!

Published On Jan 31, 2013

Super Bowl 2013 is upon us, and with it comes the desire for additional entertainment and/or some extra cash on the side – so why not bet on the Super Bowl? Well, that is exactly what we like to do, and what so many of our visitors do as well; but, you do not have to conform to your usual Super Bowl Bets anymore, at least not this year as we have been given some special Super Bowl betting promotions for you all to take advantage of.

As the name of them suggest, these are Super bowl betting promotions only; thus, right after the NFL final championship is over, so are these betting promotions and bonuses, so it makes sense to take advantage of them now. As long as you register to the recommended online sportsbooks via our links and deposit, then you will have activated your eligibility for the promotions and bonuses, which you can utilize any time you want before, during and/or after the NFL championship. Thus, you just need to activate your eligibility by joining and depositing now.

Without saying more, your exclusive Super Bowl XLVII promotions and bonuses are:

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Bet365 as Canada, Europe, Australia, and pretty much everywhere else in the world friendly (minus the US), is one of the leaders in gaming and customer service. This great sportsbook, with all other channels included as well, is offering a 50% parlays on NFL football bets. So, all you have to do is make some parlays on the Super Bowl, such as within the prop bets, and you will get 50% more of your bet – which you can even bet with your mobile!

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We hope you enjoy these amazing online sportsbooks, their services, promotions and bonuses, and of course, we hope you enjoy the Super Bowl game vs. the Ravens and the 49ers this Sunday Feb 3rd, 2013!

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Super Bowl XLVII Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs Baltimore Ravens

Published On Jan 28, 2013

Super Bowl Venue and Halftime Show

The 47th Super Bowl in NFL History will kick off at 6:30 EST on Sunday, February 3rd 2013. This year’s Super Bowl venue is the Louisiana Superdome. The Louisiana Superdome has hosted more Super Bowls than any other stadium in NFL History; beginning with the Dallas Cowboys 27-10 victory in 1978, the Superdome will now have hosted seven Super Bowls.

The Superdome has been the regular season home of the New Orleans Saints since 1975. An engineering marvel, the stadium covers over 13 acres and is over 27 stories tall. Despite its rich football history, the football stadium is perhaps most well-known for serving as a shelter in August of 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of New Orleans. Although the stadium’s roof was damaged during the hurricane and leaking water, the Louisiana Superdome provided temporary asylum for over 30,000 evacuees at the time.

As a result of the hurricane damage and the large number of people temporarily calling it home, the Superdome sustained over 185.4 million dollars of damage. The NFL football stadium was thus shut down until a massive renovation and cleaning project finally allowed it to be reopened on September 24th, 2006 when the Saints played their first game at home in over 2 years – an emotional 23-3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Aside from the game itself, the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime show is also one of the most anticipated events of the year. Last year over 112.5 million viewers tuned in for the halftime show making it the most watched musical performance of the year. This year’s show will be headlined by Beyonce and, if rumors are to be believed, will feature a Destiny’s Child reunion with former band mates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. In years past, Super Bowl halftime show acts have included the likes of Madonna, the Black Eyed Peas, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Prince, the Rolling Stones, U2 and Paul McCartney.

Although these side attractions are undeniably a part of what makes the Super Bowl such a spectacle, the main attraction will always be the NFL championship game itself. Both teams feature a wide cast of star players that should make for one of the most compelling match ups in recent pro football memory.

San Francisco 49ers to keep an eye on

After starter Alex Smith went down with a concussion in week 10, the 49ers made the move to Colin Kaepernick and haven’t looked back. This was a controversial decision by Jim Harbaugh as there is almost an unwritten code in the NFL that players do not lose their job to injury—particularly when they were playing as well as Alex Smith who was top 5 in the league with a 104.1 quarterback rating. Kaepernick’s play in the post-season thus far has made it difficult to argue that Harbuagh didn’t make the right decision. Against the Packers in the divisional round, Kaepernick set a post-season quarterback rushing record in the first half alone before finishing with 181 yards on the ground. His mastery of the read option (where he poses a threat to throw, hand off to a running back or run himself) kept the Packers defense off guard and made defensive coordinator Dom Caper look silly. How Baltimore is able to defend Kaepernick and the read option will be decisive come football game day.

Kaepernick isn’t the only dangerous weapon on the 49ers offense. Although the team advanced to last year’s NFC Championship game based primarily on the strength of their defense, this year the offense has been carrying more than its share of the load. Other notables and players to look out for include: running back Frank Gore (averaging nearly 5 yards per carry), wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15 receptions in his two playoff games) and tight end Vernon Davis. Although Davis had a sub-par regular season by his standards, he was dominant against the Falcons catching 6 balls for 106 yards. Finally, the addition of veteran Randy Moss gives the 49ers the deep threat last year’s team was lacking.

On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers boast one of the most physical, punishing defenses in the NFL. The key player to keep an eye on is Justin Smith. After he was sidelined with left triceps injury, in week 15, the 49ers defense allowed back to back 40 points games. In particular, Smith’s presence and the attention he commands from opposing offensive lines seems to greatly benefit sack specialist Aldon Smith whose impact has declined as he has become the focus. Although Justin Smith has played in both the Green Bay and Atlanta games, he hasn’t appeared to yet be 100 percent and the 49er defense has continued to uncharacteristically allow big yards. Keep an eye on Justin Smith’s health during the week—the two week layoff should benefit him—and the 49er defense—greatly.

The other strength of the 49er defense is their line-backing corps. Led by Patrick Willis and complimented by NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks, this unit is heads and shoulders above the rest in the NFL.

Ravens to keep an eye on

Although posting a 44-20 over coach John Harbaugh’s first four years, the Ravens regular season success hadn’t translated to the playoffs prior to this year. At the center of the criticism was Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco—a player practically defined by the “not good enough to win Super Bowl” tag. Flacco has silenced the critics with his performance thus far in the post-season and now his just oen victory away from entering the NFL quarterback elite. In vanquishing Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and, most recently, Tom Brady, Flacco has been almost perfect: over 800 yards over the three games with 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

On the ground, the Ravens feature a double-headed attack with running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Rice in particular will be an important player. As one of the best receiving backs in the game, his use in the screen game and as a safety valve for Flacco will be a key in helping to overcome a fierce 49er pass rush.

Whereas the receiver position has previously been a weakness for the Ravens, Flacco’s improved play this year is no doubt due in part to the play of receivers Anquan Boldin and second year player Torrey Smith. Smith in particular has given the Ravens passing game a deep threat that was lacking in year’s past. Between the two of them, they account for five of the Ravens 8 post-season passing scores.

Perennially among the best in the league, the Ravens defense this year was just 17th against the pass and 20th against the run. The aging until nonetheless appears revitalized during the post-season with the return of their fiery leader Ray Lewis. Lewis, like Smith, missed part of the season with a triceps injury. No defensive player over the last decade has been more integral to his team’s success than Lewis. Lewis should also benefit from the extra two weeks off and, given that he has announced his retirement at season’s end, the Raven’s defense can be expected to play inspired football. Are the Ravens a “team of destiny” – the answer to that question may be less important than the fact that they *believe* they are.

Super Bowl Betting

San Francisco opened at 5 point favorites but there has already been considerable movement on that line; due to early money leaning toward the Ravens, the line has already fallen to 4 at many online Sportsbooks. A couple of other facts all that Super Bowl bettors ought to consider:

  • The underdog is 8-3 against the spread in the last 11 Super Bowls
  • The last meeting between the teams was dominated by defense. The final score, 16-6, easily fell below the threshold of the UNDER bet.

With so many gripping story lines, Super Bowl XLVII promises to be the most watched–and bet upon–sporting events of the year. As the February 3rd kick off draws closer, remember to stay tuned to SuperBowlBets.org for ongoing analysis, commentary and, coming next week, our free Super Bowl betting pick. As always, remember to take advantage of the outstanding Super Bowl offers currently available through our recommended Sportsbooks.