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Super Bowl XLII Free Picks & Betting Trends
Jan. 31, 2008
By Mike Halford and Jason Brough
Bodog Nation Contributing Writers
Each week, we break down four trends to help bettors make more informed NFL betting picks. The following are for Super Bowl XLII:
When it comes to the Super Bowl, a big point spread doesn’t necessarily mean an automatic victory for the favorite.
Not counting Sunday’s game, which oddsmakers have at New England (-11.5) over New York, there have been 13 Super Bowls with double-digit point spreads.
Some of those big lines, like in 1986 when the Chicago Bears (-10) beat the Patriots 46-10, were more than justified. The same was true for the biggest spread of them all, in 1995 when the San Francisco 49ers (-18.5) hammered the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
However, the two most recent big spreads were so wrong that oddsmakers didn’t even pick the right team to win. In 2002, the Patriots (+14) beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17. In 1998, the Denver Broncos (+11) beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24.
Of course, the most famous upset came in Super Bowl III, when Joe Namath and his 18-point underdog New York Jets took out Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts 16-7. What’s more, the next year saw another shocker when the Kansas City Chiefs (+12) beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-17.
In all, that’s four big upsets out of a possible 13, a 30 percent win rate for the underdog. (By the way, the Giants are paying +325 on the moneyline.)
Randy Moss isn’t exactly known for his postseason heroics.
There’s no doubt that Randy Moss is one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history. However, whether it’s because he gets so much attention from the defense in big games or some other reason, he hasn’t exactly lit it up in the few postseason games he’s played.
This year, Moss has just two catches for 32 yards in the Patriots’ two playoff games.
Obviously, he didn’t do anything in the postseason for the Oakland Raiders. But he wasn’t that involved as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, either. In four playoff games with the purple and gold, Moss had just 11 receptions total. Granted, four of them were for touchdowns. Still, you have to wonder if he’ll once again play more of a decoy role against the New York Giants.
Oddsmakers have made a number of Super Bowl props for Moss. His over/under for receiving yards is 93.5, though he’s only once gone over that number in six playoff tries. His total pass receptions are at 5.5, though the most he’s ever caught in a playoff game is four.
After the Patriots beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional playoffs – a game which saw Moss catch just one pass for 14 yards – he had this to say: “They did a great job of controlling me, but they did a bad job of controlling the rest of the team.”
Will it be a similar story on Sunday?
Free Super Bowl XLII Picks Against the Spread
Bodog Nation Staff Selections Brijbassi
Strother NYG at
NE -11.5 NE NE NE NE NE
Super Bowl XLII – Best Value Prop Bets
(all props available in the Bodog Sportsbook) BN Staff Best Prop Bet Adrian Brijbassi Randy Moss to go under the posted total of pass receptions: 5.5 (-110) Jason Brough Eli Manning to go over the posted total of pass attempts: 34.5 (-120) Mike Halford Brandon Jacobs to go over the posted total of rushing attempts: 15.5 (-115) Carlisle Richards Who will score a TD first? Brandon Jacobs vs. Laurence Maroney. Brandon Jacobs to score first (+150) Miguel Strother Tom Brady to go over the posted total of rushing yards: 2 (-125)
The kicking games might be more important than anyone assumes.
By now, most are well-versed in the story of Lawrence Tynes, the field-goal kicking Scot who went from goat to hero in the NFC Championship. He’s since parlayed that game-winning, 47-yard kick against the Packers into national fame: an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, an award from Entertainment Tonight and a big, big spotlight heading into Super Bowl XLII.
But let’s not pretend that either the Giants or Patriots are heavily reliant upon their kicking games. Tom Coughlin was within seconds of strangling Tynes at Lambeau Field and hasn’t been a big advocate of his body of work this season.
Meanwhile, Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski has been the benefactor of the highest scoring offense in the league (he was the third leading scorer in the NFL with 137 points) but only attempted five field goals from 40-49 yards this year, connecting on three.
So why all the fuss about two run-of-the-mill special teamers?
Well, consider the kicking prowess in four of the last five Super Bowls:
- XLI: Adam Vinatieri and Robbie Gould combine for 16 of the 46 points scored.
- XXXIX: Vinatieri’s fourth-quarter FG stands as the winning score.
- XXXVIII: Vinatieri kicks game-winner with four seconds left.
- XXXVII: Martin Gramatica scores 11 points as Tampa rolls, 48-21.
Tynes will likely be under the most scrutiny, especially against a Patriots defense that rarely allows touchdowns in the red zone. The Chargers had to settle for four field goals in four red area trips in the AFC Championship. If Tynes is forced into a similar position on Sunday, he’ll need to be perfect if the Giants have any chance of keeping the game close.
Can the veteran New England linebackers deal with the Giants run game?
Yes, we know. The Patriots’ linebackers are old.
We know that Junior Seau is 38, Tedy Bruschi is 34 and Mike Vrabel is 32.
We know that the “young jack” of the unit is 30-year-old Adalius Thomas.
We know all of it. The question, though, still remains – does it really matter?
The job the unit has done in the playoffs has been nothing short of brilliant. In their most impressive performance to date, the LBs held Jacksonville – the second-best rushing team during the regular season – to just 66 total yards in the AFC divisional playoff.
For Giants fans, that’s a scary statistic on the eve of Super Bowl XLII. If the Giants mirror anybody with their 1-2 punch of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, it’s the Jaguars. Jacobs plays the Fred Taylor role, chewing up yards on first and second down. Bradshaw is the Maurice Jones-Drew closer, coming in on thirds while providing a scary receiving option out of the backfield.
The Pats linebackers aren’t just about stopping the run, however. They know that blitz packages and constant pressure throws the run and the pass out of sync. And nobody knows that better than Eli Manning.
“You have to be able to answer their blitzes and play a mistake-free game,” Manning told Newsday. “They’re not overly complicated. [But] if you do move the ball, they will come with the blitzes… They try to get a sack, big plays. That’s how they end drives.”
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