How much does the revenge factor play in Super Bowl XLVI betting?
You could smell the animosity in the air, overpowering the stink of stale beer and fried food.
The chill making its way down the spine of New England Patriots fans was nearly as cold as the temperature outside – a stinging minus 38 degrees.
In the dingy lounge area of a Northern Alberta steakhouse, legions of Patriots fans, and only a handful of brave New York Giants supporters, huddled in front of projection screens, blown away by what was happening in front of them. The Giants were not only keeping up with the mighty Patriots but beating them in Super Bowl XLII.
Some New England supporters stared motionless at the screens, occasionally coming out of their comas to sip their beers. Others were very vocal about their disappointment, with startling explosions of four-letter words every time Eli Manning completed a pass.
You just knew you were sitting in a booze-soaked powder keg. All it needed was a single spark. And when one drunken patron walked by a table of Pats backers hatefully chowing down on chicken wings, and muttered something under his breath, all hell broke loose. And that was just in the second quarter.
If a group of New England fans tucked away in the Great White North can feel that strongly about losing to New York, you’d have to think that it would be twice as heated for the guys who were actually on the field in Arizona back on February 3, 2008.
Revenge, payback and good ole fashion hate are things football fans are going to get an earful of in the time between now and the end of Super Bowl XLVI. It makes for a good story: The Patriots out to avenge their would-be perfect season and a stunning 17-14 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. But does it make for good betting?
Covers Expert and host of Vegas SportsDay, David Malinsky, talked about using the revenge factor in handicapping the 2.5-point spread for Super Bowl XLVI. He believes that revenge will have very little to do with the outcome of this game.
"It does exist in the regular season," Malinsky said about the revenge factor. "Ideally, it's when revenge gives you a motivational edge over an opponent, when otherwise the team would be flat. But a motivational edge in the Super Bowl?"
"When you get to this level, there are no side motivational factors because both teams are going to bring everything that they have."
While Malinsky makes a good point, avenging the loss to the Giants would make a Super Bowl XLVI title even sweeter for Tom Brady and Co. And revenge is something that has worked for the Patriots in the past – whether the team was conscious of it or not.
According to Covers Expert Marc Lawrence, Bill Belichick and Brady are 43-13 SU and 36-17-3 ATS in games when avenging a loss. They’re also 2-0 SU when avenging a playoff loss, with those coming against the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens this postseason.
Former Patriots players, who were part of that Super Bowl XLII team, have been very vocal about the revenge factor, claiming that a chance to exorcise the demons would be a huge motivational tool. However, most of those former players are now members of the media, hyping the Super Bowl rematch the same way Don King would sing the praises of his promotions.
“I just know if I was playing, I’d want to hurt all those players, all 16 of them, then I’d run out of bounds and get (Giants coach) Tom Coughlin, too,” former fullback Heath Evans, now an NFL Network analyst, told the Boston Herald. “Seriously, I know how much those guys care about this game. All those guys had a much bigger impact on the ’07 game than I did. So I’d guess they probably feel more strongly than me.”
Stats and figures may hold water in certain situations, but we’re looking at impressive numbers for an impressive football team. And smack talk and bulletin board material should always be taken with a grain of salt – double the dose when it comes to sports betting.
Perhaps the best gauge on whether bettors should have faith in the revenge factor is if oddsmakers take those sorts of situations into account when calculating the odds.
Jay Rood, sportsbook manager for the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas says the revenge factor doesn’t have any impact on how the odds are set but does believe it has an impact on where they move once posted.
“You look at it from the public standpoint and say it could be a factor,” says Rood. “ESPN or whoever can manufacture whatever angle they want. And that’s what the public is going to be fed. “
Rood says that bettors who are buying into the revenge factor should bet accordingly. If you think the Patriots are going to not only beat but blowout the Giants on Feb. 5, maybe take one the of the many prop bets or alternative pointspreads out there. New England to win by between 13-18 points is paying +650, by 19-24 points is priced at +1,200.
“I’m sure it doesn’t sit well with the Patriots,” Rood says of New England not only losing in Super Bowl XLII but also to New York, 24-20, in Week 8 of the regular season. “You’d have to think that if the Pats can find a way to put it on (the Giants), they’ll drop the hammer on them.”
Revenge seems to mean a lot more to the people off the field than on it. It’s in the back of Brady or Belichick’s mind heading into the game, but it’s front and center with the betting public. They dictate how much of a factor revenge will have by the way they wager.