Alright, sports betting community, there's one game left, and it's a biggun' (okay two if you want to count the pro bowl, you degenerates). Sure, there's that extra added fun of the squares and the prop bets, which I'm sure I'll engage in - Will it be heads or tails? Will the recently injured Gronk spike the ball in the end zone? How many times will Giselle be shown between kick off and final whistle? How many times will we see the "Eli face"?
Okay, so I made that last one up. But for a football purist like me, there is always the line and the over/under, which has been set at New England -3 and 55 respectively. Gamblers everywhere will scramble to parlay this bad boy, because this is their last chance to throw a wager on football for the next seven months, and I've got your free, non expert pick right here on Ruthless Sports.
Vegas set this line wrong, but it makes sense. There aren't many games that New England could walk into as an underdog, and come to think of it, they haven't been dogs all year. Their road to the Super Bowl was short, spanking the upstart Denver Broncos and just barely getting past a defensively tough Baltimore Ravens team.
The Giants, although lack luster at times this year, have been playing the most solid football of the season in the last 4 games. They handled business with the Cowboys, Falcons, and Packers. Then they squeaked by the 49ers to come into the Super Bowl with confidence. Let's look at the head to head match ups:
New England's offense vs. New York's defense - The patriots are not the same high flying offense that they were in 2007. They simply do not have a deep threat anymore (Ocho Cinco to the white courtesy phone, please). The pats have transformed into more of a dink and dunk offense that chunks away at you. They throw between the hash marks to Welker, Gronk and Hernandez while trying to establish some sort of run game with Green-Ellis. Tom Brady is still a chain moving wizard, but without a deep threat, he certainly won't be scoring at will. The pats will have to sustain drives, and against a hardnosed defense like the Giants, that will be hard to do. The front four on the Giants should be able to sustain some kind of pressure on Brady and make his life miserable at times, while their linebackers should be able to contain (at least tackle or break up some passes on) Gronkowski and Hernandez. Points will be scored by the Patriots, but not as many as Vegas would like you to believe. I'm giving the edge to the Giants defense here, just slightly.
New York's offense vs. New England's defense - The defensive side of the ball has been coming on for the Patriots lately. Vince Wilfork has been an animal for New England, and he should continue to get pressure on Eli up the middle in this game. However, beyond Wilfork, a pass rush is basically non existent. Without Andre Carter, they're not getting much of a perimeter pass rush. Even in the face of pressure, Manning is capable of seeing the field incredibly well and converting when it matters. Eli has emerged as the king of the third down conversion this year, and nothing is quite as deflating as holding a team to 3rd and 8 just to watch them convert and continue to drive. This is a different Giants team from the one we watched in 2007 - in fact, they have a completely different receiving corps and they're better for it. Nicks, Manningham and Cruz all run tight routes and possess incredible ball skills. The patriots defense has been embarrassed several times this year, and I think it'll happen again next Sunday. Manning will take advantage of any defense breakdowns, and his receivers are more than willing to take it to the house when a mistake is made. This is all being said without even mentioning the Giants running game. They punch you in the mouth and wear you down, especially if your team has a weak rush defense like the Patriots. I'm giving a huge advantage to the Giants here.
When you have two high powered offenses meeting like this, Vegas has a tendency to set the OU high, and 55 is a big number for an NFL game. Although I hate betting the under, it's usually a smart play in games like this because the final score will usually miss the number by two or three points. Let's not forget that there's over a week until the game is played. Sit back and wait on your bet - you may see that number get even bigger.
Given the public's view of New England all season, Patriots -3 makes perfect sense, although my belief is that the line should land on the opposite side of the ball at Giants -3. You're giving me a solid offensive team with a better defense and 3 points? I'm taking that every day of the week.
Who am I rooting for? The mad scientist building the time machine so that I can go back and change Sunday's outcome. Unfortunately that's unlikely, so...
My pick: Giants plus the points, which I won't need, and the under.
Final score: Giants 27, Patriots 24