I Meanwhile Aunt Betty’s roving pack of 6 large hunting dogs (down from her career average of 13.8) were very happy to see someone new – always wanting to watch the game on your lap while being petted. Unable to watch the action – it was a couple of ear scratches and then on the floor with you.
As we steered the pack away from the TV we were able to watch a couple of great games. I went 1-1 again with my Mega Bets as:
Baltimore @ New England over 50.5 – I taught the Mom what an over and under was. She really got into betting the over. Whoever has the ball – that’s who you go for. No need to pick a team. Just get into the end zone. We were having a blast as the Patriots and Ravens traded punches – putting up 33 points in the second and third quarter.
Baltimore took over with 1:44 left deep in their own territory- I was going to need overtime to get the over-so I had to change my rooting strategy. A TD would be fatal. I needed a FG to keep the game going. If another FG was scored in OT on the first drive – I would still have a chance as the other team would get a chance to tie or win and get the over. A TD in OT would get the over too. I desperately needed the FG to stay in the game.
The Ravens were doing just as I had hoped. They drove to the NE 15, stalled - setting up a chip shot FG. Nice! But Ohhhhh Nooooo Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff shanks it. Game over. Crap! Final Score Pats 23 Ravens 20 LOSS Don’t expect to see Cundiff on the Ravens roster next year.
NY Giants +2.5 @ San Francisco – Good thing I was going for the New York in this game ‘cause Betty’s was a card carrying Giants household. And a great game it was. The teams played as expected in a back and forth defensive battle. The result was a 17 all game in regulation.
I was only getting 2.5 so I needed to win to get the cover. The only way NY could lose and still cover was for SF to score a safety. Not highly likely.
The Giants got the ball first in OT but punted. SF went nowhere and punted too. On their second possession -the Giants AGAIN had to punt (after Manning got sacked – he looked terrible in the pocket all day). But, the Niners muffed the punt return ALL RIIIIIGHT!! Devin Thomas (SPARTAN!!) recovered – his second fumble recovery of the day.
The Giants took the ball over at the Niner 24 - drove to the 8 yard line and lined up for a chip shot FG. Uh Oh, I couldn’t get screwed 2 games in a row on a missed chip shot FG could I?? With my heart pounding – Lawrence Tynes calmly put it through the up rights for the win. Final GMen 20 Niners 17 WIN and then the party really started!
Having two weeks to recover – I am ready for Super Bowl XLVI (these Super Bowl numbers were a lot easier to figure out when they were something like III – what the heck is XLVI?? They should just call it SB 2012. Using Roman numerals adds no panache and is just plain confusing)
And just like last year I am having a tough time figuring out who I am going to bet on. As stumbled out of Betty’s dog kennel with accommodations for humans we were convinced that the Gants were the better team. They had beaten New England in Foxboro back in week 9 when Eli Manning hit WR Jake Ballard (who?) for a TD with 15 seconds left. Keeping in mind that the Giants were without two of their best players in RB Ahmad Bradshaw and WR Hakeem Nicks in that game.
The Giants are on a roll too – they are 5-0 ATS after they starting the season 7-7. And they are 5-1 ATS against the Pats.
Meanwhile Brady looked awful against the Ravens throwing two picks and not throwing for a TD for the first time all season. The Ravens were able to pressure Brady and the Giants have as good or better defensive line. To top it off, Brady’s favorite target TE Rob Gronkowski brutalized his ankle in an ugly tackle. He claims he is OK which really means he is hurting.
Finally, in one of those statistical oddities – the team with the better seed is 1-11-2 since 1998 against the spread. The Pats are the better seed. And in the history of Super Bowls the AFC East is 4-11-1 ATS. In fact the Patriots are the only team to cover the spread from the AFC East since the ‘73 Dolphins.
But still I think I will take the Patriots in this game for the simple reason that Brady will be in full FU mode. The last time he was in FU mode he was destroying Tebow 45-10. And he has plenty of reason to be pissed off. First, he is coming off his worst game of the season. Two, is the game in week 9 and most importantly is avenging the 2008 Super Bowl which kept him from having the best season of all time.
He also does not like having QBs being compared to him. We saw what he did to Tebow. Now Manning is getting all kinds of pub about being elite and a Hall of Famer if he wins this game. To top it off, Eli’s brother Peyton is getting plenty of air time too regarding whether he is ever coming back. Not enough attention for Tom means that he will come out pissed off enough to eat orphans.
The public is all over the Giants too with 65% of the money on the underdogs. The Patriots were supposed to be here but now that they are all the talk is how they will lose. Brady and Belichick love these kind of situations. With two weeks to prepare – who do you want doing the game planning Belichick or Coughlin. I’ll take the one on the sweatshirt.
And here are some statistical oddities that favor the Patriots:
The last three times there has been a rematch in the Super Bowl the loser has exacted revenge. Of course, there is the famous Giants upset of the Pats in 2007, the Pats avenged a loss to the Rams in 2001 and the Rams did it to the Titans in 1999.
Since the NFL went to a 16 game schedule, no team with 9 wins during the regular season has won a Super Bowl. The Giants went 9-7
The Patriots under Belichik-Brady are 11-2 ATS in revenge games. This is a double revenge game. And this oddity is less about statistics and more about the FU mode that Belichick and Brady get into.
Factoring it all in, I will take the Patriots and give the points – but how many points? The spread has generally been around 3. A few books have tried dropping it to 2.5 only to get flooded with Patriot money. 3 is the most likely number for an NFL outcome as a full 18% games are decided by exactly 3 points.
So the Sports Books have been adjusting the vig to even out the action. The Las Vegas Hilton has the spread at Patriots -3 but at -100 (bet $100 to win $100) instead of the normal -110 (bet $110 to win $100). The Mirage has the spread at Patriots -2.5 but with the vig at -125. The outlier is the Wynn at Patriots -2 at -110. I’ll take the monorail over and take that line.
Pick New England -2.0 vs New York Football Giants
Then of course there is the over/under. The spread was initially set real high at 55.5. It has since been forced down to 54. I still like the under here.
As said before – Brady’s favorite target Gronkowski is hurting. He won’t have the explosiveness he has shown all year. New York may not get to Brady – but they will move him in the pocket and force him to throw to his second and third receivers.
New York has gotten too pass happy in the post season – throwing almost 60% of the time. With a healthy Bradshaw – expect the Giants to run the ball to keep Brady off the field. The Patriots may try to run a bit more too to slow down the Giants pass rush.
Neither team has a killer returner so special team TDs will be unlikely.
Finally – this spread is eerily similar to the last time the met in the Super Bowl. That over under was 55 and the game ended up 17-14.
Statistics favor the under as the under has gone 5-2 in the last 7 Super Bowls and in the 7 Super Bowls where the over/under was above 50 the unders cashed in 5 times.
One more look at the various lines shows that the Mirage has set the over under at 54.5 and the vig at the standard -110. I’ll make a stop there on the way back from the Wynn and get me that extra half point.
Pick New England vs New York Football Giants under 54.5
No matter who wins the Super Bowl they will be the champions with the worst ranked defense (and I am taking the under??) The 2009 Saints have the current record finishing 25th for the year. This year the Giants are 27th and the Patriots 31st
It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without all the interesting propostion bets. Some of my favorites are
Who will win the coin toss? The NFC has won an amazing 14 straight times. But as we all know from statistics – the streak has nothing to do with the next toss. Still 14 straight wow! I’ll pass
Who will get the ball first? You would think that this would be even money on both sides figuring that the winner of the toss will take the ball but as Joe Fortenbaugh of NationalFootballPost.com reported “On Sept 7, 2008, New England played the Kansas City Chiefs, won the toss and elected to receive. That was the day Tom Brady was lost for season with a torn ACL. Since then, the Patriots have played 65 games - playoffs included - and won the coin toss 28 times. On all 28 occasions, New England elected to defer their choice to the second half and started the game by kicking off.” The Giants are -180 to get the ball first. I’ll pass – Beleichick may go against tendancy here but he needs to win the toss
Who will be shown first Manning’s girl friend Abby or Brady’s wife Gisele? Brady’s super model wife asked for prayers for Tom to have a great game. I’m not in favor of asking the Almighty to favor one player or team but I think I would be forgiven if I ask that she has a wardrobe malfunction.
Total number of aircraft used in the flyover over/under 4.5. Last year in a dome there were 4 and the Navy caught plenty of flack for sending aircraft over where no one could see them. This year is another dome – the Navy cuts back in these tough times – I’ll take the under.
Total Number of Patriots to score – I’ll take the over at 3.5 (at a high priced -170). The number does not include safeties but does include FGs and 2 point conversions. Brady will taget several receivers and the kicker is good for one. Gives me a little protection on the under too.
Finally – what color will the Gatorade be dumped on the winning head coach. Yellow 2/3, Orange 5/1 Green 5.5/1 Blue and Red 12/1 and clear 3/2. The last two have been orange – I’ll take orange
And there are always the great crossover bets – bets that span different sports on Sunday. My favorite is
Total points and rebounds scored by Draymond Green vs Michigan +10.5 vs the first FG of the game. Draymond is hurting but in FU mode too. So I will go with Draymond and a short FG.
Attached are all the prop bets at the Las Vegas Hotel. It was the Las Vegas Hilton but the jettisoned the contract when the hotel filed bankruptcy this year. Crap – there go all those Hilton points I have been saving up. Probably won’t get the free buffet as a Hilton Diamond member too.
At halftime, I’ll see if the spouses want to come out for a line dance.
And GO JUMBO Oct 20, 2012