Handicapping Industry News
2007 - Page Updated at 9:45am
Jim Feist Editorials - Superbowl XLII Countdown
In the world of eleven to ten, there's nothing
quite like Super Bowl week. In this case, it's
two weeks, as the Patriots and Giants have
two weeks to prepare for the Big Game. It's
also one of the most creative weeks of the
sports betting season. While there's only one
game left on the football calendar, there are
still ample opportunities for betting on the
Super Bowl. There will be hundreds of creative
props by various oddsmakers in Las Vegas.
For example, you can bet on the exact score of the game by each team. Last season,
if you bet on Chicago return specialist Devin Hester to score the first touchdown
of the game, you would have cashed a 25-to-1 prop ticket after he returned the
opening kickoff 92 yards. 14 seconds in cashing a 25-to-1 ticket is the best
way to watch a Super Bowl!
You could even wager that there would be no touchdowns scored at 50-to-1. Of
course, that has never happened as we head to Super Bowl 42 next week. There
also has never been overtime.
There will be "over/under" lines offered on how many touchdown passes a quarterback
might throw, the first team to turn the ball over, and even the coin flip. There
will be creative wagers offered such as how many receiving yards one player might
get matched up against the number of points the NBA's Dirk Nowitzki will score
against Detroit in a basketball battle before the Super Sunday kickoff.
The Super Bowl brings out the best in the creative minds of oddsmakers. Smart
bettors will search through all the props, totals and side bets offered in an
attempt to find an edge and add to their bankrolls. When examining Super Bowl
totals, weather is not as important an issue as in other January playoff games
as Super Sunday is always played indoors or at warm weather sites. This season
the game will be in Glendale, Arizona. Since Super Bowl X in 1976 between the
Steelers and Cowboys, there have been 19 "overs" and 13 "unders," with the last
three going under.
Why so many "overs?" One factor is that coaches with a lead are less likely to
sit on the ball in the second half in a Super Bowl. If a team is up 17-0 at the
half of a December game, for example, a coach might be inclined to go conservative,
run the clock and avoid injuries. In the postseason, it's the final game of the
season and no lead is safe. No coach wants to play super-conservative and be
remembered as the guy who blew a 17-0 lead in the biggest game of his career.
Since it's the last game of the season, coaches will often put in trick plays
and new offensive wrinkles in an attempt to maximize scoring opportunities.
Despite the excessive "overs" the last thirty years, as far as reaching the big
game, you can't overlook the importance of defense. Heading into the conference
championship games, the Patriots, Giants and Packers were in the Top 11 in total
defense. Of course, the Pats and Packers ended up No. 1 and 2 in total offense.
A year ago the big story was the improved defense of the Colts that led the way
to the title, allowing 16 ppg in four postseason contests. Who can forget five
years ago when the No. 1 offense (Oakland) faced the No. 1 defense (Tampa Bay)?
Oakland's great offense was a 4-point favorite, but Tampa's defense dominated
in a 48-21 rout. In fact, five of the last seven Super Bowl champs have had statistically
better defenses than their offenses, including the 2005 Steelers (4th in defense).
Two of those champs, the 2002 Patriots and '03 Buccaneers, were Super Bowl underdogs.
You'll be able to find creative point spread props, too. A year ago, the total
number of field goals was 3½ over +135. The Colts and Bears combined for
4 field goals as the over just made it. Two years ago Seattle RB Shaun Alexander
had these over/under props: Total yards 89½, carries 21½, and longest
rush 19½. The final tallies: 95 yards, 20 carries, with the longest rush
of 21 yards. Three years ago the number of passing yards by QB Tom Brady: 237½.
The "under" ended up being the winner, but not by much: Brady finished with 236
passing yards! Let's give oddsmakers some credit for those numbers.
Key numbers will come into play, as well, as books are petrified of getting middled.
Eight years ago the Rams were a 7 to 7½-point favorite against the Titans.
The Rams won by seven points, 23-16. The most famous example was in 1979, forever
known in Las Vegas as "Black Sunday." The Steelers opened a 2½-point favorite
over the Cowboys, were bet up to 5, then back down to 4. Books everywhere were
sick when the Steelers won, 35-31, landing on the dreaded 'M' word!
Article Used By Permission
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