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Superbowl XLII Betting BodogLife

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Super Bowl Betting: The Perfect Chase

Bodog Nation Articles

Jan 21st, 2008

By Adrian Brijbassi
Bodog Nation Contributing Writers

The Patriots, who are 14-point favorites, will make history unless Eli Manning steps up

So it comes down to Brady vs. Manning after all.

While Peyton's reviewing endorsement opportunities and brushing up on acting techniques, the two men who've lived in his shadow will battle to take his crown. He'll be rooting for his kid brother, of course, and so will a lot of sportsbooks. The Patriots opened as two-touchdown favorites against the point spread and that number could grow as the Feb. 3 kickoff approaches and money pours in on the NFL's perfect arsenal.

The last obstacle in the Patriots' relentless pursuit of ultimate glory is the younger and less together of Archie's quarterback kids. In his fourth year as a pro, Eli appeared to regress. He threw fewer touchdowns and more interceptions than he had the previous two seasons. His quarterback rating was also his lowest since his rookie year, when he started only seven games. But something has clicked lately for Manning, who turned 27 on Jan. 3.

In three postseason games, he has thrown four touchdowns and not had an interception, and the wild-card Giants beat the point spread as road underdogs in each win. Manning's improvement comes after a regular-season finale when he nearly curtailed the Patriots' run to perfection by throwing four touchdowns and one pick in a 38-35 loss at Giants Stadium. New York held a 12-point lead midway through the third quarter in that game, thanks to Manning. His recent success has apparently made him almost as cocky as another Super Bowl quarterback from Gotham.

"We know what it takes to beat them," he said of the Patriots. Manning declared that knowledge minutes after the Giants barely figured out how to escape Lambeau Field with a 23-20 overtime win on Sunday.

While not quite a guarantee, Manning's confident words speak to his mentality nonetheless. He's a quarterback who’s struggled to assert leadership throughout his career, but he appears to have discovered his voice as well as his game in the most dramatic of times.

"The focus of Eli was outstanding," New York coach Tom Coughlin said in Green Bay. "He just willed himself to play well."

Super Bowl XLII Schedule

New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
When: Sunday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. EST (Fox)
Line: Patriots by 7
Halftime show: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Prior to the season, the Giants were considered dysfunctional, but they've proven surprisingly cohesive, rallying in support of their besieged coach and quarterback. Add a dominant pass rush and powerful running game to the mix, and this Manning suddenly resembles any other who's lined up under center. If Eli can match his brother's title from last year, he'll stand alone with Joe Namath in the pantheon of Super Bowl Davids.

So far, the new year has been kind to the underdog. Favorites are just 2-8 against the spread in the playoffs, including 0-2 ATS on Championship Sunday. The Giants, who were 10-6 ATS in the regular season, will need whatever trends, gimmicks and alchemy they can gather in order to hang with the Patriots.

Have no doubt, New England wants to punctuate a season for the ages with a spectacle that shatters records. Should the Patriots win, they'll go down as the greatest team in the sport. And with four Super Bowls in seven years, probably the top dynasty, too. The next question will be when they might lose again. Of their key players, only free-agents-to-be Asante Samuel, Randall Gay and 34-year-old linebacker Tedy Bruschi may not be back. If you're sick of the Patriots now, give it some time. The glory days of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady may be far from over - unless the Manning clan intercedes once again.

"We've got another shot," Eli said of his team's rematch with the Pats. "And hopefully this time we've got what it takes to get it done."

Random Thoughts on the Weekend in Sports

  • Fox is thrilled with this Super Bowl XLII matchup. The most-watched show of the entire fall TV season was the Patriots-Giants game on Dec. 29. It averaged 34.5 million viewers over the course of its broadcast and was also the most popular NFL regular-season game since 1995, according to TV Week.

  • In the six Super Bowls since the Ravens blew out the Giants in 2001, underdogs and favorites have been an even 3-3 ATS.

  • The Chargers' Chris Chambers said of the Patriots: "[That's] the best team I've ever seen in my career." He's not alone.

  • So New England and New York meet again in a duel for supremacy. Does that mean Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts governor, will take on New York senator Hillary Clinton in the race to be the next U.S. president? After their wins in Nevada over the weekend, that's looking more likely.

  • Upsets were in the air prior to Sunday's NFL action. In two awesome games that tested your dexterity with the remote control, No. 1 North Carolina and No. 4 UCLA lost at home to unranked conference rivals on Saturday afternoon. And the Australian Open reeled off a number of surprising results and one near shocker as Roger Federer was extended to a fifth set before outlasting unranked Janko Tipsarevic. Had he won, Tipsarevic would've seen his supporters collect $1,400 on a $100 tennis bet.

  • Sidney Crosby's injury comes at a bad time for the NHL. The All-Star Game is this weekend, and with the sport's biggest star on crutches, marketing the midseason showcase becomes more difficult. It's too bad because the NHL has enjoyed a bit of rejuvenation in the U.S. in recent months, partly because its fans are Internet savvy, which means more advertising opportunities for media sites that feature hockey content. But no Crosby is a setback.

The Undercard

That's upsetting: The Giants' Plaxico Burress played a sensational game with a torn ligament in his ankle. So how come LaDainian Tomlinson couldn't go with a sore knee? One touchdown would've changed the complexion of the AFC Championship Game, and Chargers backers must be enraged that the most prolific scorer this decade didn't tough it out. The last two weeks stain L.T.'s career.

Proof of disorder in the universe: In 1991, the Giants reached the Super Bowl and the U.S. economy was in a recession. In 2001, same thing. In 2008? You know it.

Coolest song of the week: Perfect by the Smashing Pumpkins (Last week: Deeper Water by Paul Kelly).

Note: Super Bowl odds subject to change.

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