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Top-10 facts to consider before placing your Super Bowl bet26 January 2009
By Gary Trask
Watching (and betting on) the Super Bowl is an American tradition, right up there with baseball and apple pie. Actually, in my humble opinion, the Super Bowl soars past apple pie as an American tradition. In fact, I'd like to know who it was that made the claim that apple pie was so important to American culture. But, I digress.
The one good thing about reading this column is that it will save you time. Because instead of reading and watching all of the endless hype that the Super Bowl annually produces, we have gone back, looked at the history of the game, crunched the numbers and come up with 10 worthwhile facts about the game that may be of interest to you.
So, before you do your American duty this weekend as a sports fan and place your Super Bowl bet (legally, of course!) here are some things to keep in mind as well as a not-so-bold prediction on the game. Good luck!
10. The house usually wins
As bad as last year was for the bookies, it paled in comparison to what occurred back in 1979 when Pittsburgh opened as a 3.5-favorite over Dallas. When a slew of money came in on the Steelers, the line went up to as high as five points, and that's when another huge sum of money was bet on the Cowboys plus the points. At game time, most outlets settled on the Steelers as a 4-point favorite, but when Pittsburgh ended up winning 35-31 the bookmakers got "middled." In other words all of those people who drove the line from 3.5 to 5 by betting the Steelers cashed their tickets, as did all of the late-comers who took the Cowboys plus the 5 points. I know, it's tough to shed a tear for the guys who usually end up doing OK against the public, but you gotta admit, that one had to hurt.
9. Prop bets are dangerous
On Sunday you will be able to wager on not only the teams plus or minus the points, but the coin toss, the number of first downs and whether or not there will be a safety. In addition, many outlets offer even more outrageous options. For instance, at Bodog you can bet on how many times Al Michaels and John Madden will call Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger "Big Ben," how many airplanes will be included in the pregame flyover and what color bow tie Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell will wear. Sure, these kinds of bets are fun and can make the day more interesting. But beware of how many you play and for how much. It's easy to get carried away and you don't want to be down half your weekly paycheck before the end of the first quarter. I realize that last year at this time I recommended a wager on the length of the national anthem, but if you read the column you saw that, not only was it written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but my research on that particular bet proved to be correct. The bottom line: You can find value and make money with prop bets (I like over 2 1/2 interceptions in this year's game at +150), but don't go crazy. It could be costly.
8. Favorites have the edge
Underdogs, however, are 5-2 against the spread the last seven years, including two of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history – New England (+14) over St. Louis, 20-17, in 2001 and the N.Y. Giants (+12) over New England, 17-14, last year. This year Pittsburgh opened as anywhere from a 6.5 to a 7-point favorite. As of this writing the line has remained at 7 in most spots and is expected to stay put.
7. The bye week helps the favorite
Secondly, with the stakes this high I think the teams should be as fresh and healthy as possible. The extra break usually ensures just that. With that said, favorites have done even better in the Super Bowl if you exclude the seven times when there was just a one-week delay. In those seven games, the underdog won five of them straight-up and went 5-1-1 against the spread. So if you take the Super Bowls with a one-week bye out of the equation, favorites have covered 68% of the time.
6. Super Bowl first-timers struggle
This year's Pittsburgh team has 20 players with Super Bowl experience. The Cards have just five, although one of them is QB Kurt Warner, who will be playing in his third Super Bowl and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV.
5. The "under" has been the trend in recent years
4. Historically, it's been the favorite and the over…but not recently
3. The magic number for Arizona is 27
2. The magic number for Pittsburgh is 20
1. The pointspread isn't as important as you think
Enjoy the game!
Top-10 facts to consider before placing your Super Bowl bet is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.