Super Bowl Weekend is upon us, as the New York Giants take on the New England Patriots in Indianapolis on Sunday Night, in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII. It is an interesting match up (especially because I’m a Giants maniac) because a) it’s New England against New York and there is so much bad blood there b) It’s a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, which the Giants ended the Patriots undefeated season 17-14, allowing Mercury Morris and the ’72 Dolphins pop champagne and celebrate staying the only undefeated team in NFL history c) They played earlier this season when the Giants beat the Patriots 24-20 in New England week 9, which was the Patriots last loss. The Super Bowl is a day for beer, food, friends and of course gambling. Here are the bets I’m looking at going into Super Bowl Sunday:
First Touchdown of the game: Mario Manningham (NYG) 12/1: The Giants have three great wide receivers in Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham. With Nicks being the best pure receiver out of the three, and Cruz being the most dangerous to make a big play, teams tend to forget about Manningham. Super Mario has scored a touchdown in all three previous playoff games, and will likely be covered by converted wide receiver Julian Edleman, who now plays defensive back for the Patriots. Advantage Giants.
First Touchdown of the Game: Deion Branch (NE) 15/1: Tom Brady and Deion Branch seem to always find each other around the red zone, and 15-1 are solid odds if the Pats are able to punch in a touchdown first.
Most Receiving Yards: Wes Welker (NE) OVER 82.5 (-115): The Giants are going to try to get pressure on Brady quickly and cover the Patriots fantastic tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) closely, but they have a real tough time matching up with Wes Welker. The diminutive Welker shredded the Giants for136 yards in their week 9 game, and should be able to duplicate that performance on quick, short routes during the Super Bowl. Take the over.
Game MVP: Eli Manning (NYG) 9/4: We all know that unless a Super Bowl involves a) bad QB play by the winning team and b) a huge game by another player, which seals the game, the winning quarterback will win the MVP. If I’m picking the Giants to win, I’m picking Eli to win his second MVP.
Exact Number of Touchdown Passes in the Game: Tom Brady (NE) 3 (+300): If I’m picking the Patriots to score three touchdowns (I pick them to score 24 points, see below) I expect Captain America to throw all three of them. Brady will throw three touchdowns, and +300 is a nice payout if you hit it.
Total Sacks: Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG) 1/2 OVER (-200): JPP has been an animal all season long for the Giants and a force in the playoffs, as he has become one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL. He will pressure Brady often and sack him at least once.
New York Giants (+3) Let’s focus on the game action first, and keep in mind, I am a Giants homer. The Patriots are a good match up for the Giants, and I believe what Jason Pierre-Paul said, the Giants pass rush is in Tom Brady’s head. The Giants are one of the few teams in the NFL that can pressure Tom Brady without blitzing, allowing the team to rush just the four down lineman, as everyone sits back in pass coverage. I expect Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, JPP, Linval Joseph, Dave Tollefson and the rest of the Giants defensive line rotation to rattle Brady and throw off the timing of the Patriots offense. I think both teams will move the ball fairly easily, but the Patriots defensive backs match up very poorly with the Giants wide receiver trio of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham. I think Wes Welker had a huge game for the Patriots, the Giants are unsure how to cover him and will be focused on stopping the tight ends, like in week 9 when Welker caught 9 passes for 136 yards. I think the Giants pull out a victory. Giants 30 Patriots 24.
NOTE: The over/under is set directly at 54, which is what I picked exactly as the final score. Vegas is VERY good at setting the Over/Under by the Super Bowl.
NOTE: I am clearly focusing on football, but here are a list of some of the ridiculous prop bets available, seriously:
How Many Times Will Andrew Luck Be Mentioned During The Telecast: (Set At 1: Over (-110) Under (-130))
If Tom Brady’s Son Is Shown During The Game, Will He Be Wearing A Tom Brady Jersey? Yes (-170) No (+130)
Will Kelly Clarkson’s Bare Belly Be Showing During The National Anthem? Yes +300
Will Madonna wear a hat at any point during the halftime show? Yes (-120) No (-120)
There are a million of these. Please focus on football, these are suicide, Don Corneilus style.