Super Bowl Sunday Betting Tips

Super_Bowl_XLVII

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday. Finally.

After a story-rich season that provided surprise after surprise, the NFL finally reaches its marquee game. It’s taken 22 weeks to get here, but now the 75,000– I would say fans but let’s face it, the corporate numbers eliminates the use of that particular term – in attendance and the millions of TV viewers get the chance to hear Alicia Keys belt out the national anthem, Beyonce shake her rump at halftime whilst lip-syncing (possibly), and those $4 million commercials.

Oh and there’s also the small matter of the game between Baltimore and San Francisco.

Welcome to Super Bowl XLVII: the event, the spectacle, the game nobody can pick.

It’s been a long time since a Super Bowl winner was this hard to pick. Ordinarily, there’s a decisive advantage for one team. That team might not live up to that advantage, but there’s an advantage nonetheless. But this year…

Trying to separate the Niners (the team of the stats) and the Ravens (the team of destiny) has been a nightmare. Numbers (they never lie, you know?) favor San Francisco, but Baltimore has been on a crusade to upset everybody this postseason.  Then there’s history. Three of the last five Super Bowls have gone to the underdog. It’s becoming common place to expect the unexpected.

So, who do you pick?

If you’ve waited this long to pick your side, fear not. You’re not the only one. For now, let’s see what Casino Review can conjure up for you.

 

Opening Lines

Two weeks ago, the line opened with San Francisco as the favorite, with the spread at 5. The total opened at 49.

 

Current Lines

Sunday morning sees the spread at four with most bookies, although Bet Online has it at 3.5. The total is 47.5 with most online sites, although Bovada has it at 48.

 

Betting Straight Up

Statistically speaking, San Francisco (11-4-1, 2-0 postseason) has a slight advantage when it comes to the numbers.

Offensively, the Niners compiled more total yards this season, including a whopping 155.7 rushing yards per game (4th in the league). Towards the end of the season – the part where Colin Kaepernick took over quarterbacking duties – the Niners really started putting numbers up.

Baltimore (10-6, 3-0 postseason) was no offensive slouch though. The Ravens outranked the Niners in passing yards and points per game, although the one tenth of a point difference proved these sides would need a well-oiled crowbar to separate them.

These trends have continued during the postseason, although San Francisco has scored 6½ more than the Ravens.

Defensively, San Francisco was a juggernaut. The side limited teams to just 17.1 points per game, second to only Seattle in the regular season. It was the sort of defense we’ve come to expect of Baltimore, only this year’s Baltimore side was middle of the pack when it came to defense. Until this postseason.

Baltimore has allowed just 19 points per game in its three playoff games, while San Francisco has allowed 27.5. It appears that the feared Baltimore defense (and Ray Lewis) turned up at just the right time.

Historically speaking, San Francisco has been to five Super Bowls and won all five. That includes Super Bowl XXIV (Jan. 28, 1990), a game in which the Niners defeated Denver 55-10 at the Super Dome in New Orleans, making for the most lopsided in Super Bowl history.

Baltimore has made one Super Bowl appearance, defeating the New York Giants 34-7 at Super Bowl XXXV (Jan. 28, 2001). One team’s undefeated Super Bowl streak is coming to an end tonight.

Baltimore currently owns a three-game winning streak over San Francisco, with the average game score coming out at 19-6. Some would argue that Baltimore hasn’t faced the 49ers side currently on show, and in terms of the Kaepernick offense, that’s true, but remember: the Ravens took down the Niners last season (Nov. 24, 2011) 16-6. Add to that the fact that San Francisco has only beaten Baltimore once (Nov. 17, 1996; a team that included Steve Young and Jerry Rice) and you have an historical advantage for Baltimore.

Want the waters to get even murkier?

Consider that the NFC representative has the superior record (23-19 since 1970 merger) in the Super Bowl, has won three straight, and is 18-5 when beginning the game as favorite, you surely have to come down in favor of the Niners, right?

But then again, the underdog has won four of the last five Super Bowl games and eight of the last 11. Add to that, the AFC has gone 9-6 in the Super Bowl since snapping a 13-game losing streak in 1998 and things suddenly look to be favorable to Baltimore.

See what we mean by impossible to pick?

And all of this without considering those unfathomable anomalies: will Ray Lewis win a Super Bowl in his final season? Will Colin Kaepernick finish off a fairy tale story? Will an injury play a part? Which Harbaugh brother has the advantage? Or any number of other factors that could impact the game.

So your pick essentially becomes a tossup. Which brings us to…

Take: BALTIMORE – There’s just something about this team that draws you to it. Huge underdog wins against Denver and New England, as well as experience, gives the Ravens a slight edge. An almost indecipherable edge in all fairness, but this just seems like the Ravens’ year now. It certainly didn’t earlier in the year.

 

Betting Against the Spread

Picking Baltimore means we’re automatically taking the side to cover the spread. But if you still inching towards San Francisco, here’re the numbers you need to know.

San Francisco was 9-7-0 against the spread during the regular season. The Niners covered the spread in both playoff games also.

Baltimore recorded a 6-9-1 tally against the spread during the regular season, but the Ravens have gone on to cover the spread in all three postseason games, including two as the underdog.

Historically, the favorite is 26-18-0 against the spread. On only six occasions has the favorite won the game and failed to cover. The favorite is 5-3-1 ATS when the Super Bowl is played in New Orleans. Those are advantages that favor San Francisco, and well worth considering if you’re going to take the Niners straight up.

In this instance, we’re taking Baltimore to be the 14th underdog to cover and win outright.

Take: BALTIMORE – By default.

 

Betting the Total

The total is a really bitch to predict. Consider this; the total has gone over in 22 Super Bowls and under in 23. The more keen-eyed of you will realize that only equates to 45 of the 46 Super Bowl games. Well, there was no total in the first Super Bowl.

During the regular season, San Francisco was 10-6-0 in favor of the total going over. The total has also gone over in both games involving the 49ers this postseason. All told, San Francisco has seen the total go over 66.7 percent of the time.

Meanwhile, Baltimore was 8-7-1 in favor of the over during the regular season. This postseason has seen two Ravens games (vs. Indianapolis, at New England) go under, with one (at Denver) going over. All told, the Ravens have seen the total go over 47.4 percent of the time, the same as it has gone under.

Take: UNDER – Both teams may have favored the over this season but the two defenses take the field in New Orleans can shut a game down. The two previous playoff rounds have seen the total go over in all games, which suggests the under is about to rear its ugly head. There’s a historical presence here also: six of the nine Super Bowl games played in the Big Easy have seen the total go under. Meanwhile, six of the last eight Super Bowls have also seen the total go under. Smart bettors should be thinking knockdown, drag out affair, not offensive spectacle.

 

So there you have it. Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy the final football game of the season.

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Kaepernick Favorite to Win Super Bowl MVP

Having replaced Alex Smith as San Francisco's starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick is now favorite to win the Super Bowl MVP award.

Having replaced Alex Smith as San Francisco's starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick is now favorite to win the Super Bowl MVP award.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the bookmakers’ favorite to win the Most Valuable Player award at Super Bowl XLVII.

Bookmakers have given the second-year triggerman odds of 7/4 to lift the Pete Rozelle Trophy following the game, which takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans, La., on Feb 3.

Kaepernick is closely followed by his Baltimore counterpart, Joe Flacco, who has been assigned 5/2 odds of being named MVP.

The fact that the two quarterbacks are favorites to win the award is hardly surprising. In the 46 previous Super Bowl games, 25 have seen the quarterback named the star player. That’s 54 percent of the time.

The previous three games, and five of the last six, have seen the quarterback pick up the award. Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning won the accolade following last year’s game in Indianapolis.

In those 25 instances, all 25 have come from the winning side. In fact, only one player has ever been named MVP on a losing side; linebacker Chuck Howley’s Dallas Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts at Super Bowl V in 1971, the first game following the AFL-NFL merger.

With San Francisco currently a four-point favorite, Kaepernick therefore is the leading candidate for the roll.

As an aside, Alex Smith, San Francisco’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, has been given odds of 100/1 to win the award. An early injury to Kaepernick could see the “game manager” come into the game and steal the award. That might just be worth a small wager.

No. 3 on the list is Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis. Having returned from injury in time for the postseason, Lewis has led his side to three straight playoff victories, two of which came with the Ravens lengthy underdogs. It would be somewhat fitting for Lewis to win the accolade ahead of his impending retirement, particularly after what he has meant to this Baltimore side.

History might not favor Lewis though. Defensive players have only won the award seven times, although the Dallas pairing of Harvey Martin and Randy White shared the award following Super Bowl XII in 1978, meaning eight players have been named MVP. That’s just 15 percent of all recipients.

On top of that, only two linebackers have ever won the award. Firstly, the aforementioned Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V and secondly, wait for it, Ray Lewis himself in Super Bowl XXXV. Were he to be named MVP, Lewis would be the first defensive player to be named Super Bowl MVP more than once.

Odds of Lewis lifting the Pete Rozelle Trophy currently stand at 6/1.

The next two spots on bookmakers’ lists are taken up by running backs Frank Gore (17/2) and Ray Rice (12/1) respectively.

Gore was the focus of San Francisco’s offense last season, but this year the emergence of Kaepernick as a running threat has loosened the load for the long-time Niner. Rice was the league’s standout running back last season, but Baltimore’s regular season woes saw the former Rutgers man limited in what he could do this season. Whilst neither had their best season, both could break out in the last remaining game of the season, something history is well aware of.

A running back has won the Super Bowl MVP award on a total of seven occasions. That’s 15 percent of the time. That puts the position second to only the quarterback. However, the last running back to win the award was Denver’s Terrell Davis in Super Bowl XXXII following the 1997 season.

Not only is 15 years a long time but we also live in the age of the quarterback, which makes either running back less of an appealing option.

San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree (16/1) is the favored wide receiver heading in to the game, although Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin (18/1) and Torrey Smith (20/1) are not that far behind.

Wide receiver is the third most prosperous position in regards to Super Bowl MVP voting. A wide receiver has taken home the award on six occasions, or 13 percent of the time. The last player to achieve the feat was Santonio Holmes, who in 2009 joined his Pittsburgh teammate Heinz Ward (2006) as a recipient of the award.

Outside of the three main skill positions things look a little bleaker.

Ravens free safety Ed Reed is considered 33/1 to win the award. A safety has won the award twice in history (four percent of the time); Jake Scott (Miami) in 1973 and Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay) in 2003.

San Francisco’s Vernon Davis is the highest rated tight end (22/1) but in order for him to win the award, he’d need to make history as no tight end has ever been named Super Bowl MVP.

Likewise, no kicker has ever been awarded the accolade, which is bad news for San Francisco’s David Akers (66/1) and Baltimore’s Justin Tucker (75/1).

Other positions to have historically won the award are defensive end (twice), cornerback (once), and kick returner (once).

 

Odds to Win Super Bowl XLVII MVP

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Niners Visit Cardinals on Monday Night Football

Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers will look to run their way to victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers will look to run their way to victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

Sunday saw the New England Patriots defeat the St. Louis Rams in the NFL’s annual International Series game at London’s Wembley Stadium. Monday Night Football sees a clash between the two teams that kick started that series back in 2005.

Whilst the Niners clash with the Cardinals in 2005 game might not have taken place in London – it was in Mexico City – the success that it brought propelled the NFL into a marketing frenzy, taking its product overseas and making it truly global.

This Monday night’s game might not come with the expectation of 103,467 fans – Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca was heaving that night – and the league’s top brass, but make no mistakes, this could be a big game.

 

Keep On Rolling

San Francisco (5-2, 2-1 road) travels to the desert as the number one team in the NFC West, something nobody would have doubted this past summer.

Arizona (4-3, 3-1 home) opened the season winning four straight and looking like this season’s surprise package. A three-game losing skid has put paid to such thoughts, and potentially leaves the Cardinals staring into a losing abyss, not to mention in dire need of a win.

San Francisco’s success has come as a result of a very simple formula: running the football and strong defense wins games.

The Niners have the best running game in the league, averaging 176.6 yards per game on the ground. Lead running back Frank Gore is accounting for 85.9 of those yards, proving the Niners are no one-trick-pony. Kendall Hunter has contributed 36.9 per game, while the QB tandem of Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick account for 39.8 yards per game. With such a prolific running game, it’s not that surprising that the Niners rank 28th in passing (199.9 YPG).

On the defensive side of the football, San Francisco is a beast. Number one against the pass (173.4 YPG) and in total yards against (272.3 YPG), and number two in points conceded (14.3 PPG), the 49ers weakness is its rush defense, which still ranks 10th in the league (98.9 YPG). Points and yards will be at a premium for the Cardinals.

That being said, the Niners could come up against a potential roadblock at the University of Arizona Stadium. The Cardinals give up just 312.1 yards per game (7th) and 16.9 points per game (4th), numbers that suggest a strong defensive presence. However, those numbers are skewed in favor of the passing game – the Cardinals are fourth in the league at stopping the pass – and there are definite weaknesses against the run. Arizona gives up an average of 120.9 rushing yards per game (21st), which means San Francisco should be able to keep on rolling.

 

Looking for an Edge

San Francisco leads the all-time head-to-head 24-17, a rivalry that dates all the way back to 1951 when the Cardinals were based in Chicago. The Niners have had the recent edge, going 7-3 in the last 10. Last time out (December 2011) though, the Cardinals beat their division rivals 21-19, snapping a five-game losing streak.

San Francisco will be favorites entering the game. The spread opened at four points but has subsequently risen to seven.

The 49ers are 4-3 ATS this season. Dating back to last season, the team also has a 2-5 ATS record on the road. Arizona is 3-4 ATS this season, giving bettors a real conundrum when it comes to putting a stake on the pointspread.

The over/under opened at 37 and has risen to 38½ ahead of game time. The total has gone under in four of seven Niners games this season, as well as six of seven Cardinals games. That means the smart money will be on the under in this one.

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Plenty To Get Excited About In NFL Week 2

Michael Vick had a rough day against Cleveland last weekend and can expect more of the same from Baltimore this week.

 

As it has done for the better part of a century, opening weekend in the NFL came and went. Dallas, Washington, San Francisco and Tampa Bay upset the opposition and bookmakers alike. Cleveland and St. Louis kept it tight to beat the spread despite losing, while the Patriots and Jets obliterated the pointspread. There was certainly money to be had.

Week 2 kicked off on Thursday with Green Bay beating Chicago and the spread. Now, it’s time for a full slate of action and this particular Sunday schedule features a host of intriguing matchups.

Those looking for favorites worth backing both outright and against the spread should take a close look at Cincinnati’s (-7) trip to Cleveland, Houston (-7.5) at Jacksonville, and Arizona at New England (-14). It’s hard to imagine any of these three going the way of the dogs.

The rest of the schedule is pretty tight so expect parlay bets to take a big sting this week.

Here’re just some of the matchups on tap this Sunday.

 

Baltimore Orioles @ Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick had a rough day against Cleveland last weekend and can expect more of the same from Baltimore this week.

Possibly the most difficult matchup to call outright this week, Baltimore (1-0, 0-0 home) heads to Philadelphia (1-0, 0-0 home) for what you would expect to be a tough-as-nails bout. Baltimore though lit-up the scoreboard last weekend in a 44-13 trouncing of Cincinnati, electing to utilize the arm (yes, the arm!) of Joe Flacco. Historically, Philadelphia has known how to pile-up the points as well, so this could turn into a shootout. But then again, it could equally become a battle between Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy on the ground.

Playing at home, Philadelphia is narrowly favored (-3), but that homefield advantage could soon take a hit if Michael Vick repeats his four-interception performance against Cleveland. You think that Philadelphia crowd would patiently wait things out?

Take Baltimore to beat the spread and win outright in this one. Philadelphia is a notoriously slow season starter and last week’s rustiness just isn’t appealing against a Ravens side already shortening its Super Bowl XLVII odds.

 

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh (0-1, 0-0 home) hosts the Jets (1-0, 0-0 road) in a matchup that should give an indication of which way both teams are headed.

The Steelers were preseason favorites to take the AFC North but a depleted offensive line and injuries – especially those to Rashard Mendenhall and James Harrison – took the air out of the team in Denver last weekend. Or was that just the Mile High City?

The Jets looked impressive offensively last weekend, with Mark Sanchez quieting a few more doubters after a three touchdown performance. This was not the same team that struggled scoring in the preseason. Or was it just that the Jets beat a Buffalo Bills team that has been dreadful both on the road and in the division of late?

The Steelers are six-point favorites ahead of kickoff. The Jets will probably keep this one tight, but take Pittsburgh to win by a touchdown or more.

 

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

After a surprise loss to Washington, expect Drew Brees and the Saints to take their frustration out on the Panthers this weekend.

Drew Brees and the Saints (0-1, 0-0 road) were picked off by the surprising Washington Redskins last week and will be looking for a bounce back win against the Panthers (0-1, 0-0 home). Carolina was outlasted by division rivals Tampa Bay.

How much New Orleans’ loss was down to the fallout of ‘BountyGate’ and how much was down to RGIII and Co. remains to be seen. The Panthers will hope it’s the former if they’re to pull off a victory this weekend. But having put up 32 points, it might be the latter, which spells bad news for Cam Newton’s side.

Take New Orleans in this one to beat the -3 spread and to win outright. Carolina may be improving, but Brees will be champing at the bit heading into Charlotte, N.C.

 

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

Sunday Night Football pits Detroit (1-0, 0-0 road) against San Francisco (1-0, 0-0 home). The Niners had the result of the weekend last week, defeating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Lions meanwhile struggled past a resilient St. Louis team, and looked far less impressive than preseason odds suggested.

San Francisco enters the game as seven-point favorites and -300 to win outright. Take both! Yes, the 49ers looked good last week and the Lions looked average, but the real reason to take the Bay Area team is history.

The 49ers have won 13 of the last 14 games against Detroit, dating back to 1988. It gets better (or worse, depending on your viewpoint): Detroit hasn’t won in San Francisco since 1975! Sure, streaks like this are made to be broken, but this Niners’ defense just looks too strong for a patchy Lions offense.

After all of that, if you’re still looking for a few wagers to keep you busy, try these Week 2 specials out:

(1) Will Jim Harbaugh (SF) and Jim Schwartz (DET) shake hands or hug at the end of Sunday night’s game? Yes (-400); No (+250).

(2) Will the team of (botching) replacement referees still be on the field in Week 6? Yes (-140); No (EVEN).

 

NFL Week 2 Schedule

Thursday: Chicago 10-23 Green Bay

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Kansas City @ Buffalo | New Orleans @ Carolina | Cleveland @ Cincinnati | Minnesota @ Indianapolis | Houston @ Jacksonville | Oakland @ Miami | Arizona @ New England | Tampa Bay @ NY Giants | Baltimore @ Philadelphia; (4:05 PM ET) Dallas @ Seattle | Washington @ St. Louis; (4:25 PM ET) NY Jets @ Pittsburgh | Tennessee @ San Diego; (8:20 PM ET) Detroit @ San Francisco

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Denver @ Atlanta

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