Nearly two-thirds of gamblers that are betting on Super Bowl XLVI have put their money on the New York Giants. Over the past week I’ve found more reasons to agree with them than with the 3-point spread in favor of the New England Patriots. In fact, throughout that time I was left wondering, with such an apparent general consensus declaring the Giants the better team, why the point spread is where it is. I was also considering the fact that sports books are looking to create roughly equal action on both sides, as well as football related issues like Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski's now infamous ankle sprain. Then I heard a statistic that appeared to make the most sense: 85 percent of the money gambled on the Super Bowl will be bet on the day of the game. While I completely understand waiting until you can get as much information as possible, I still wondered about that point spread.
Wynn Las Vegas sports book director John Avello spoke with the Las Vegas Sun.
“For me, this game is all about the passing game and the turnovers,” Avello said. “It’s those two factors right there that should decide it.”
New England ranked third in the NFL in turnover ratio this season at +17, while New York came in eighth at +7. Brady bested Manning in every notable passing statistic, which makes the lack of early Patriots support surprising. [read more]
Now I can understand that. I think that offers a much needed football perspective on the point spread. But even with that said, there some other interesting things that you might want to consider. Tom Brady turned it over twice by throwing two interceptions in the AFC Championship Game. He also had no touchdowns and finished with a 57.5 passer rating. Though, they were facing a superior secondary in the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, Eli Manning and the Giants' passing game had a better outing against a great San Francisco 49ers defense, with two TDs, 316 yards, and no turnovers. Of course, it's a different set of matchups now.
Football Outsiders offered a very lengthy, but very good explanation about how the math definitely favors the Patriots, but even they still think the Giants will win.
This is a strange game to pick. The math clearly favors the Patriots. Our various "pick this game" methods generally look at things longer-term, using weighted DVOA, and the Patriots come out significantly better than the Giants if you look at any period longer than just the last five weeks. That's why, for example, the Patriots are favored in the playoff odds report. Las Vegas bookmakers, likely using methods similar to ours, installed the Patriots as three-point favorites. ... If Gronkowski is a little hobbled, and Brady is a little bit pressured, the Giants' offense should have enough weapons to attack the Patriots' porous secondary and come away with a close victory. Math may favor the Patriots, but matchups and circumstance favor Big Blue. [read more]
I think this game depends heavily on the effectiveness of Gronkowski. He's been Tom Brady's primary target throughout the playoffs and completely dominated the redzone throughout the season. Bill Belickick, Brady, Gronkowski, and the Patriots' offense are revolutionizing the TE position. We know for sure now, not that there was any doubt about it before, but Gronkowski will play in Super Bowl XLVI. The question remains, how effective will he be? Belichick didn't see any setbacks and Gronkowski's walking without a limp now, but neither of those things reveal all that much to us. Ultimately, my best guess is that he won't be the weapon that the Patriots need him to be in this game.
I'm also not buying the idea that the Patriots are "due" for a win against the Giants because they have lost the last few. Nor do I buy into the "revenge factor" that appears to be a common theme. Both of these teams want to win the Super Bowl as much their opponent. What I do agree with is that this will be a very close game. So, here are my predictions for the DBN Super Bowl XLVI Pick'em:
- New York Giants
- Eli Manning
ESPN.com has an interesting article with Super Bowl picks from all their TV analysts, writers, editors, and just about everyone else from ESPN. My personal favorite and the one I agreed with the most was Michelle Beadle's:
Michelle Beadle, Co-host, SportsNation: 28-25: “The Giants will ride the momentum train and the backs of their defense — and I don’t like the Patriots.”
Neither do I. Go Giants!