After a week of maybe yes/maybe no, almost universally New England is a one-point favorite at sportsbooks, with a few stragglers still at a Pick. Could the Pats be the right pick for the big game?
According to those setting the NFL odds the Patriots are the right choice, as that is where the market is being driven. However, just like stocks, just because the marketplace is going in a particular direction, ultimately it might not be the correct path to take which leads to financial success for making sports picks.
Examination of Early Line for Super Bowl and Outcome
As I mentioned in previous article here at Sports Book Review.com, on NFL championship Sunday, the Westgate Super Book in Las Vegas put out a Super Bowl line making the NFC champion a three-point favorite. Given both No. 1 seeds Seattle and New England were roughly touchdown favorites, they could post a line with confidence that if both teams played to expectations, the defending Super Bowl champions would warrant such a number.
It is also safe to assume, the betting odds did not come out of a magic genie bottle as those setting the numbers are in this case true NFL football handicappers, who first start in the world of cold-hard data to build lines and progress into the public perception areas later.
Before the two championship contests were played, professional bettors and other associates of mine that utilize power rankings as a benchmark to determine any lines accuracy, all had Seattle as a solid two-three point favorite going into the January 18th conflicts.
As the two games played out, Seattle was fortunate to beat Green Bay in OT and New England proved what many already knew, Indianapolis was a Top 10 team in the NFL, not a Top 4 unit.
With the Patriots landing the haymakers and the Seahawks sliding by, oddsmakers did not want to be caught handing out three-points on Seattle and lowered them to 2 or 2.5 in the second half of New England’s rout and the wagering public joined the bandwagon which made the game a Pick by that evening.
Taking this line moves at face value, what really changed about the two winners other than the scores of the two games?
Did the unknown injuries to Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas contribute to the number falling? I think we can safely say it caused enough doubt in bettors minds when you consider Tom Brady and New England are known as a passing team these days no matter how inflated the footballs are.
Did Green Bay generate the blue print on how to contain Russell Wilson and is Bill Belichick’s defense better equipped to make it work for 60 minutes compared the Packers 55 minutes? The simple answer would be “yes” because the Pats have better individual players in the secondary and more playmakers in their front seven.
The Question Remains, Does the Public have it Right with New England?
With a team changing from a Pick to -1, this is hardly a resounding statement when it comes to NFL picks, nonetheless it would appear to be the correct action chosen. The reasons are certainly varied and here a few to consider.
There have been eight repeat champions, which is 17 percent out of the 47 previous opportunities which could have occurred. (However, there has been 10 teams which won the first Super Bowl and lost the second – Washington 1984 and Green Bay 1998 - thus the success once in place is 80 percent.)
From a matchup perspective, New England’s short-passing offense should have success as Seattle allowed 72 percent of pass completions on short throws which was 27th in the NFL. If Pete Carroll decides to blitz Brady, that could work against them as the former Michigan QB completion percentage rises (66 vs.63 percent) and his yards per attempt jumps 13.1 percent (7.7 vs. 6.8).
There are assumptions Belichick will devise a game plan to slow Seattle’s running game and that the pedestrian Seahawks pass catchers could have trouble getting open versus the New England secondary.
NFL Pick: The final decree is the Patriots should probably be a slight favorite (-2 at Bovada), but are hardly a sure thing to win the game.