Who's going to win today's Super Bowl? Will the victor be the New England Patriots, a three-point favorite, or the New York Giants?
The nod goes to the very capable underdog. All week, I've been presenting evidence why the line is off base and mainly based on the perception that Pats' QB Tom Brady is some kind of Superman and so much better than Giants' QB Eli Manning. Those pro-Pats bettors are in some dream world
In the playoffs, Manning has been the world-beater. He had to navigate a much tougher course to get his team to the Super Bowl. The Giants not only had to beat the Packers in Green Bay, with mighty Aaron Rodgers at QB, but they also had to whip the San Francisco Giants, the NFL's best team, on the road, in the rain. What have the Patriots done? Just trashed an overachieving Denver Broncos team and got lucky and slipped by a Baltimore team that actually outplayed them. The Giants earned their spot. The Pats are fortunate to be in the Super Bowl.
The betting line doesn't reflect this reaility, just bettors' blind faith in Brady and Pats' coach Bill Belichick. There's this feeling that, given time, like the two weeks between the conference championship game and the Super Bowl, that Belichick will miraculously dream up some schemes to lead his team to victory.
When you bet, though, it's wise to be rooted in reality. Here are some facts: Giants' QB Eli Manning is red hot, just like he was four years ago when they upset the Patriots, who then really were the better team; the Giants have a devastating pass rush; the Giants' defense is far superior to the Pats' D, which is one of the worst in the NFL; the Giants, who, in early December, looked like they wouldn't even make the playoffs, got hot and are on a roll--just like they were four years ago.
If you follow the facts, you'll conclude that the Giants will win handily. Manning should breeze through the bad Pats' defense, scoring 3-5 TDs. The Giants' defense, featuring an unstoppable pass rush, should clamp down on Brady, particularly with his best receiver, Rob Gronkowski, slowed by an bad ankle.
The only thing that could ruin the Giants is, of course, the inevitable X factor--turnovers. They've avoided such mistakes so far, so it's possible that the law of averages will catch up with them and they'll be undone by a rash of turnovers.
So if you bet, do you count on New York turnovers and miracles by Brady and Belichick or do you follow common sense and wager on the Giants?
My money is on the Giants.