(Tuesday January 31st, 2006)
Oddsmaker’s have had plenty
of time to carefully scrutinize the last game
of the football season, therefore the side and
total are likely to be good numbers. You rarely
see much line movement on Super Bowls. However,
proposition bets offer bettors an excellent
opportunity to find good bets and soft numbers.
But you can’t do guesswork, you have to
do some homework.
Let’s go through a prop and do some research
on it. For instance, there’s a line offered
on the Steelers/Seahawks Super Bowl this weekend
that reads: What half will the most points be
scored in? The second half opened +110. Is this
a good number? Just thinking about what might
happen, it seems to reason that both coaches,
Mike Holmgren and Bill Cowher, are primarily
ball control gurus. They look to establish their
running games and control the clock. Perhaps
the first half will be more conservative, with
the second half more wide-open as the trailing
team looks to catch up. But let’s not
stop there. Is there anything in recent history
to support this?
Last season, the Patriots and Eagles were tied
7-7 at the half, then there were 31 points scored
in the second half. As we reasoned above, the
Patriots jumped ahead 24-14 forcing the Eagles
to pass more in the fourth quarter to get back
in the game. Chalk one up for the second half
having more scoring.
Two years ago, the Patriots and Panthers scored
24 first half points. Then they tallied 35 in
the second half. Actually, there was no scoring
in the third quarter and then the teams erupted
for 35 points in the wildest fourth quarter
in Super Bowl memory.
Three years ago, the Buccaneers led the Raiders
20-3 at the half. That’s 23 point. The
Bucs went on to win 48-21, so there were 46
second half points! Four years ago, the Patriots
led the Rams 14-3 at the half, then the teams
combined for 20 second half points.
Before that, the Ravens were up 10-0 on the
Giants at the half, then the teams combined
for 31 second half points. Before that, the
Rams led 9-0 at the half over Tennessee. The
teams combined for 30 second half points.
Before that, Denver led Atlanta 17-6 at the
half, a combined 23 points. Like the Patriots/Panthers
Super Bowl, there was no scoring in the third
quarter, and then the teams erupted for 30 fourth
quarter points! If you’re keeping score,
that’s 7-0 the last seven years where
there has been more scoring in the second half
than the first half.
In the Broncos/Packers Super Bowl before that,
the teams combined for 31 first half points,
then 24 second half points. So we have to go
back to 1998 to find the last time the first
half won that wager. This doesn’t guarantee
that there will be more second half scoring
this Sunday, of course, but my point is to show
you what handicappers do when assessing whether
a prop bet is worth a wager or not. There are
dozens of interesting prop bets to examine this
Sunday. So get out there and find ones you think
may be worth wagering on. But don’t stop
there: Do your homework to support your findings!
Bryan Leonard is a documented member of The
Professional Handicappers League.
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