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2010 SuperBowl Championship Lines: Saints Colts Free Predictions

Super Bowl XLIV Preview & Pick

Finally, it’s time. Time for what many fans expect to be the greatest Super Bowl ever. After all, we’re seeing football’s most exciting offenses go head to head. We should, however, use last year’s Steelers/Cardinals matchup as a reminder to expect the unexpected. That game was a classic and the Colts and Saints aren’t guaranteed to play a close game despite the hype.

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Time to break the matchup down once and for all.

SUPER BOWL XLIV – Sunday, February 7, 6:25 p.m. ET
Opening line: Colts -4
Current line: Colts -5

The Colts line shifted as far as -5.5 earlier this week but has since trended back to -5. It’s understandable, as the Saints bring some truly formidable weapons to the table. Their offense was second to none this season, averaging a league-best 403.8 yards and 31.9 points per game. Few teams are as versatile as the 2009 Saints. We all know what athletic, charismatic Drew Brees can do; he throws a ton and can fit balls into tight spots. He’s also an expert at using his receivers’ strengths. He relies on Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey’s athleticism with jump balls; he utilizes Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem’s speed with deep routes; he uses Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush as capable backfield receivers.

A major reason why New Orleans took its game to the next level this year was, of course, the vaunted rushing attack, which ranked sixth in the NFL. Finally, New Orleans can protect a lead. Pierre Thomas wasn’t an every-down back but his 5.4 yards per carry suggests he can be if called upon. Indy has notorious problems stopping the run; if the Saints grab an early lead, Thomas will give them a chance to widen the gap.

But there’s a problem. I call it the “been there, done that” factor. Indianapolis is just three years removed from winning a Super Bowl in Miami and returns 25 players from that roster. There’s very little reason for them to suffer any jitters. As poised as Drew Brees and the Saints have been so far, they may press a little early in the game and make a few mistakes – maybe the odd overthrow or false start. Against a finisher like Indianapolis, a few early blunders could be enough to seal a team’s fate.

Peyton Manning’s offensive line allowed an amazing 10 sacks in the regular season, giving him all day to throw the ball. Perhaps more so this year than ever before, Manning played the role of surgeon in the passing game, picking apart secondaries with outstanding precision; his 68.8 completion percentage was the best mark of his career. As he proved when he carved up two top-three defenses over Indy’s last two playoff games, Manning can excel even when his top targets, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, are neutralized. He instead looks to rookies Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. The youngster tandem combined for 18 catches, 274 yards and two touchdowns against the Jets’ top-ranked pass defense two weeks ago.

Some experts talk up Darren Sharper’s big play ability and the Saints’ dangerous, opportunistic defense, but why should that scare Manning when he conquered the Ravens’ and Jets’ far superior units?

Some sceptics may question the Colts’ finishing ability because their running game ranked dead last in the NFL at 80.9 yards per game. But I think the stat is misleading; since Manning and the passing game almost scored at will this year, Indy simply didn’t have to run very often. The Saints’ run defense is also a major concern; it allowed 165 yards to the Vikings and thus may give Joseph Addai and Donald Brown a rare shot at success.
Are the Colts perfect on defense? No, but they know how to make a stop at crucial moments, as they showed against Matt Schaub in Week 12 after rallying from a 17-0 deficit. They’ll bend plenty – especially since they didn’t face too many elite quarterbacks this year – and the Saints will score their share of points. But, as I said before, the minute the Colts get their first lead and take the driver’s seat, they may never look back. The Saints could do damage in the running game but will have no choice but to abandon it if they fall behind.

NEW ORLEANS vs. INDIANAPOLIS BETTING TRENDS

New Orleans is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Indianapolis
New Orleans is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing Indianapolis
Indianapolis is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games
Indianapolis is 16-2 SU in its last 18 games

Pick: We’ll certainly see lots of offense on Sunday but I’m not totally convinced this will be a naillbiter. I see Indy marching out to a seven or 10-point lead and the Saints playing catchup the rest of the night. Indy will cover and win its second Super Bowl in four seasons.

Pick: Colts -5

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Shea Matthews lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national newspapers. He now applies his knowledge to sports betting and handicapping every day, and shares his winning picks with the world.

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Comments

Comments

  1. This game will come down to the Saints ability to match the Colts point for point as oppesed to their ability to stop them from scoring. If they cannot match them touchdown for touchdown early this one could be over by the 3rd quarter. If they can keep within 7 points through three quarters, they have a chance to not just cover, but win.

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