With two weeks to analyze and over-analyze every bit of statistical information connected to Super Bowl XLVI, bettors could go mad like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. So before you start writing stats and figures all over your windows, let Covers Expert Marc Lawrence do the heavy number crunching for the Big Game.
Take a quick look how New England and New York arrived to Super Bowl XLVI and at some of the more interesting trends that have occurred in Super Bowls past. All results are ATS (against the spread) in Super Bowl games since the 1980 season, unless noted otherwise. Common denominators
These two teams squared off against one another’s division in 2011 and the results were, for all intents and purposes, diametrically opposite.
New England was 3-1 SU (straight up) but 1-3 ATS and 1-3 ITS (in the stats) in games against the NFC East while New York hit a grand slam against the AFC East, going 4-0 SU, 2-1-1 ATS and 3-1 ITS.
Additionally, the Patriots’ opponents combined for an overall record of 141-157 (.473) this season while New York took on foes that ended up 176-139 (.559). Advantage:
GiantsThe "R" word
Revenge has been a factor in Super Bowl games.
New York upset New England in Gillette Stadium as a 9-point underdog this season, despite being outgained by 77 yards in the contest. That set up a “double-revenge” incentive for Tom Brady’s bunch after seeing dreams of a perfect season ruined in a 17-14 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Interestingly, teams playing with same-season loss revenge are 7-5 SU in Super Bowls, including 3-0 the last three games.
Revenge has been a staple for the Patriots especially under the tandem of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The Dynamic Duo is 43-13 SU and 36-17-3 ATS in games when avenging a loss, including 18-3 SU and 16-4-1 ATS when playing off three or more wins in a row.
In addition, Belichick and Brady have lost five playoff games together. They are 2-0 SU during the postseason in playoff loss revenge games, defeating Denver and Baltimore this campaignAdvantage:
The public loves backing favorites, and when it comes to the Super Bowl it’s like putting kids in a candy store. They go crazy.
The public today suffers from a bad case of diabetes. That’s because overloading on these super-sweet favorites has proven to be an unhealthy experience, with favorites sporting a 20-11 SU and 13-16-2 ATS record, including 5-9-2 ATS the last 15 games.
Favorites (read: New England) taking on opponents off back-to-back SU and ATS wins are just 13-9 SU and 7-13-2 ATS.
The last sixteen favorites to score 30 or fewer points are 2-14-1 ATS, an interesting stat considering that Tom Coughlin’s teams have surrendered more than 28 points in only three of 15 postseason games while Bill Belichick’s troops have tallied more than 28 points in just six of 24 playoff contests.Advantage:
Speaking of scoring, putting points on the scoreboard is obviously vital to succeeding in this game.
Those that do, win the game and the money. Those that don’t, lose the game and their shirt. It’s just that simple.
And 20 points appears to be the cut-line.
That’s because, since 1977, teams that fail to score 20 points in the Super Bowl are 1-22 SU and 3-19-1 ATS. Teams that tally 21 or more points are 30-11 SU and 27-11-3 ATS.
Ironically, the only team to score fewer than 20 points and win a Super Bowl in that span was New York in its 17-14 win over New England in Super Bowl XLII.
Twenty-seven points virtually assures a victory as teams putting 27 or more on the scoreboard are 26-1 SU and 23-3-1 ATS dating back to 1977. Advantage:
Sixteen top-seeded teams from the AFC have made it to the title game since 1977, but only four were crowned champions – the most recent being the 2003 New England Patriots.
No. 1 seeds are 6-12-1 ATS since 1990, including 2-8 SU and ATS the last 10. In fact, the last No.1 to win a Super Bowl, playing a non-No. 1 seed, was the 1999 St. Louis Rams.
And going back the last 16 years, the higher-seeded team has struggled mightily against the spread in the big game, going an eye-opening 1-12-2 ATS following the Steelers failure against the Packers last year. Advantage:
Like the National League’s one-time mastery over the American League, the NFC has held the upper hand over the AFC in Super Bowl games since the 1980 season, going 20-11 SU and 19-10-2 ATS.
However, the NFC is only 5-9 SU and 7-6-1 ATS of late in the last 13 Super Bowl contests.
One final note: this marks the ninth time in 10 years the AFC opened as the favorite.