USA Today Sports

Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh has little impact on Super Bowl betting

Jason Logan
Jim and John Harbaugh are far from Cain and Abel.

But, with the way the media is playing up the brother-versus-brother angle for the upcoming Super Bowl, you’d expect the two head coaches to leave their troops on the sidelines and settle Super Bowl XLVII like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers.

Caution: This might be NSFW, depending on where you work.

While the “Harbaugh Bowl” is unique and fun, it has little bearing on how Feb. 3’s Big Game will play out, according to both Las Vegas oddsmakers and professional sports bettors. Books opened Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers as 4.5-point favorites versus John Harbaugh’s Ravens, with the early money taking the spread down to 3.5.

“There is a competitive thing there but I don’t think it’s a factor,” Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, told Covers. “We didn’t think about it (when making the odds). It’s the perfect breakeven, and kind of cancels itself out.”

Some NFL bettors believe the familiarity between the brothers will create a defensive stalemate, much like their first meeting as head coaches for their respective clubs last November. Baltimore won 16-6 as a 3.5-point home favorite over San Francisco, playing well under the total of 40 points.

Neither team totaled more than 260 yards of offense and they traded field goals until Ravens QB Joe Flacco found Dennis Pitta for an 8-yard touchdown pass to open the fourth quarter. The 49ers had a 75-yard TD strike in the second quarter called back because of a chop block penalty on RB Frank Gore.

Plenty of bettors will look back at that Nov. 24, 2011 game for some insight into Super Bowl XLVII, which has had its opening total of 49 bet down to as low as 47 points. However, Covers Expert Teddy Covers says recapping that Thursday Night Football showdown is a waste of time.

“I personally think the first meeting is absolutely irrelevant to the current meeting,” he says. “Remember, that was a Thursday night game and both teams had limited time to prepare. Here, they'll both have two weeks to prep. And the two units have been completely overhauled since that game. The Niners offense and the Ravens defense. Baltimore also has two different coordinators.”

Perhaps the biggest difference is San Francisco second-year QB Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers started Alex Smith in that previous meeting with the Ravens and watched as he was sacked nine times for a loss of 44 yards. Baltimore relied on the blitz in that game but may not find the same success against a much more mobile Kaepernick.

“This game will be more about player execution than coaching decisions,” says Teddy Covers. “Brother versus brother is nice for the league to hype, but the game will be won or lost where most games are won or lost - on the offensive and defensive lines.”

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Posted by ShadowWarrior
4 years ago

Colin will the first half white half black qb to win the SB should he do so. Also the first adopted qb to do so. The first NV qb from the MWC to do so. Will there be any commercial opportunities?

Posted by Skubishack
4 years ago

If you feel that the brother vs brother angle is meaningless in regards to the actual game... Then how much more meaningless is you lame addition of a lame movie clip with the same theme...???

Posted by BigBlueCrew56
4 years ago

I like both of your plays. I got the under at 49.5 and Ravens at +6. Good luck bud

Posted by dontbookme
4 years ago

I agree as far as the game will be decided on the field.. This is a DREAM for the NFL to get this matchup and damn right they are gonna run with it.. There will be non football fans that will tune in just bc if a feel good family story.. NFL is wacking off to this...PERIOD!! I like the Under here.. I got it at 50 with a local as soon as it opened, and i jumped, as well as the Ravens.. I see a FG game either way.. i got 5.5 .. good luck
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Top Response

Posted by ShadowWarrior
4 years ago

"Colin will the first half white half black qb to win the SB should he do so. Also the first adopted qb to do so. The first NV qb from the MWC to do so. Will there be any commercial opportunities?"