Prop: Total TD passes thrown by Peyton Manning
Over 2.5 TD Passes +110
Under 2.5 TD Passes -140
Implied probabilities (converting betting line to percentage):
Over 2.5 TD Passes – 47.62%
Under 2.5 TD Passes – 58.33%
*note: these numbers don’t add up to 100% because of vigorish, the amount charged by the bookmaker for their services
The Denver Broncos put together arguably the best offensive season in the history of the NFL. Led by Peyton Manning, the Broncos scored 55 touchdowns through the air; 16 more than any other team in the league. I don’t want to take anything away from Denver—their offense is undoubtedly a juggernaut—but let’s take a quick look at the opponents that they faced this season and where they stacked up against the rest of the league.
Based on the league rankings illustrated in table above, the Broncos took on some pretty bad pass defenses this season. The rankings for each team are undoubtedly worse because they had to face the Denver offense at one point or another, but many of those defenses struggled on a week-to-week basis.
When you look at that table above and further examine the teams that actually had good statistical defenses, those numbers can be quite misleading. For example, the Giants ranked in the top 10 in pass defense this season but they had the luxury of battling some terrible quarterbacks, including a four-game stretch where they faced Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and Scott Tolzien. The Broncos took on the Giants in Week 2, when their defense was a complete abomination. New York surrendered 30+ points in their first five games of the season.
Peyton Manning threw four touchdowns against a Titans’ defense that allowed the fewest passing TDs in the league this season, but again, that number is misleading because Tennessee’s pass defense wasn’t nearly as good as advertised. The Titans finished in the middle of the pack in terms of yards per attempt and yards allowed per game.
The Broncos avoided the Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers, and other good pass defenses on their schedule. The physicality of Seattle’s defense will be unlike anything that they were exposed to at any point this season.
Even with the epic season that Manning put together, he was held to less than 2.5 touchdown passes in 7 of his 18 starts (38.9%). On the other side of things, the Seahawks allowed more than 2.5 touchdown passes in exactly NONE of their 18 games this year. That’s right, NONE OF THEIR GAMES! As a whole, the Seahawks’ defensive unit allowed a total of 17 touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks (one of their allowed TD passes came against Bucs’ running back Mike James).
It’s not like they played a bunch of scrubs either. The Seahawks held Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees to just 10 touchdown passes in 10 contests this season. In fact, only three quarterbacks even threw TWO touchdown passes against the Seahawks in a single game this season. I think the general public realizes that the Seahawks’ pass defense is good, but I’m not sure they understand just how good this unit is. The Seahawks’ coaching staff will stress the importance of shutting down Manning in this contest, so I have no issues whatsoever in laying 40-cents on this prop.
Pick: Total TD passes thrown by Peyton Manning under 2.5 -140