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Who will be the Super Bowl X-Factor?
1:90 | NFL
Who will be the Super Bowl X-Factor?
Tuesday January 20th, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX between the AFC’s New England Patriots and the NFC’s Seattle Seahawks is an even matchup according to the OddsShark Computer, which went 131-113-6 against the spread this season and has gone 4-1-1 ATS in the last two rounds of the playoffs.

Oddsmakers and bettors seem to agree with that assessment so far, with the line for the big game sitting between Seattle -1 and New England -1 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com after the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks opened as 2-point favorites. This will be the second consecutive season the top seeds from each conference will meet in the Super Bowl, as Seattle routed the Denver Broncos 43-8 last year as a 2-point underdog to claim the franchise’s first Vince Lombardi Trophy.

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The betting public liked what they saw in the AFC championship game from the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots, who crushed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 as 7-point home favorites to win their eighth conference title. New England’s ground game rolled through the Indianapolis defense yet again -- the Pats are now 4-0 against the Andrew Luck-led Colts, and running back LeGarrette Blount racked up 148 rushing yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Tom Brady added 226 passing yards and three more TDs through the air.

The Patriots have outscored the Colts by a 189-73 margin in winning all four meetings since Luck was drafted and replaced Peyton Manning as the team’s starter.

The Seahawks also have the number of the Green Bay Packers, beating them for a third consecutive time, 28-22, in overtime in the NFC Championship Game but falling short of covering the spread as 8.5-point home favorites. Seattle needed some late-game heroics from QB Russell Wilson and RB Marshawn Lynch to pull out the victory after trailing 16-0 at halftime and 19-7 in the fourth quarter.

Lynch finished with 25 carries for 157 yards and scored a key TD on a 24-yard run with 1:25 remaining in regulation that gave the Seahawks their first lead before Mason Crosby kicked a field goal to send  Wilson connected with wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for the game-winning TD on their first possession of OT.

Seattle turned in a similar performance in its last meeting with New England two years ago, overcoming a 23-10 deficit in the fourth quarter with two late TDs for a 24-23 win. The Seahawks were 4-point home underdogs in that game on the NFL online betting odds, which was just the sixth career start for the then-rookie QB Wilson.  He found WR Sidney Rice on a 46-yard TD pass to beat the Patriots with 1:18 left and helped his team overcome Brady's 395 passing yards and two TDs.

It’s also worth noting that Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas each intercepted Brady once, and both players are now dealing with injuries suffered in the NFC Championship Game. Sherman has a sprained elbow and Thomas a dislocated shoulder, but the two critical members of the team’s “Legion of Boom” secondary are expected to play in the Super Bowl.

Statistically, the Seahawks ranked No. 1 in the NFL in total defense and scoring defense during the regular season, surrendering 267.1 yards and 15.9 points per game. Meanwhile, New England ranked fourth in the league in scoring offense with 29.2 points per game and 11th in total offense with 365.5 yards per game.

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Defensively, the Patriots allowed just six rushing TDs, tied for second-least in the NFL and particularly noteworthy considering Lynch’s potential for a monster game. Lynch only had 41 yards on 15 carries in the most recent meeting with New England, but Seattle was playing from behind for most of the game, much like in the NFC Championship Game. The Patriots are 1-5-1 ATS in their seven previous Super Bowls – going 3-4 straight-up – and 2-6 SU and ATS in their past eight meetings with the Seahawks according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

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