The Super Bowl. It's a gambler's paradise. Kinda.
The Super Bowl sees far more money bet on it than any other single event of the year. Of course that doesn't mean a lot of money is won. In fact, in all but two Super Bowls Vegas has made money and we, the gambling public, have lost money. With evenly matched teams and a relatively small line this year, don't expect much to change on that front.
The biggest mistake people make with the Super Bowl is betting large sums of money on it despite not feeling confident about their picks just because "it's the Super Bowl" and "you're supposed to bet." And admittedly, those statements are hard to disagree with. Betting makes everything more fun, so when your team has been out of it since October betting lessens the pain of seeing other fans celebrating their team's accomplishments. While they are cheering for a big 3rd down stop you can be cheering for Jordy Nelson to get his 43rd receiving yard and win one of your 14 prop bets.
Because when it comes to the Super Bowl, simply betting on the game is not enough. You can bet on the length of the National Anthem, if Christina Aguilera will wear a cowboy hat, how many times 'Brett Favre' will be mentioned, the color of Gatorade dumped, the highest rated commercial, the coin toss, the MVP, first reception, first touchdown, how many FGs, total sacks, total penalties, and just about anything else you could possibly think up.
My suggestion is to throw some money on a few of these just for fun, which of course already goes against what I said early, don't bet if you're not confident. But screw it, I've felt bad for Vegas ever since Danny Ocean stole all that money.
I could probably write 10 pages on different prop bets, examining if it's worthwhile to bet that the Packers will not use BJ Raji on offense at any point during the game at a +145 payout, but I won't do that. I can only write so many words before you are likely to stop paying attention anyways, so I best get on to the game itself.
Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay Packers (-2.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Although it's a Super Bowl matchup many may have picked to start the season, it's certainly not one many picked at the start of the playoffs. The Patriots were the clear favorites, the Steelers hadn't looked particularly strong against playoff-level competition, and the Packers had to gut out a 10-3 win over the Bears in week 17 just to make the playoffs. But, when you look at the numbers, it makes sense.
The Steelers were the best defense in the league and the Packers weren't too far behind, only allowing 15 points/game themselves. Both teams grabbed more interceptions than they allowed passing touchdowns, they were one and two in sacks, and they allowed a collective total of 11 rushing TDs. What this says in short is that both defenses are stalwart and that all signs point to a defensive struggle in the Super Bowl, but this will not be the case.
As good as the Steelers defense is, it is predicated on stopping the run. Slight problem for the Steelers, the Packers don't really care about running the ball anyways, so it might throw off their whole plan. Both Bryant McFadden and William Gay are susceptible to getting burned, so expect Aaron Rodgers to spread the ball around and look to exploit any mismatches he can find.
However, it will be interesting to see if the Steelers can force Aaron Rodgers into any turnovers, and obviously, that will play a key component in the outcome of the game. Lost in the NFC Championship among how badly Jay Cutler played and all the subsequent talk about if he quit was Rodgers subpar performance. He threw two picks and no TDs, one of those interceptions was not his fault, but still, he'll need to post better than the 55.4 rating he did two weeks ago to have any chance at taking home the Lombardi Trophy.
I can't see him not coming out and playing well. In an indoor game that he's had weeks to prepare for I don't see any way the Packers will put up less than 20 points, even against the vaunted Steelers defense.
So what this means, and I know this sounds dumb, but the Steelers will have to outscore Green Bay to win this game. If the Packers are scoring at least 20, the question becomes how many points can the Steelers put up on the Packers?
The Packers defense really hasn't been exposed all season. The most points scored on them by anyone was 31 by the Patriots, but two turnovers by backup QB Matt Flynn allowed for 14 of those points. How will the Steelers crack the toughest defense they've played all season (excluding practices I suppose)?
These are all reasons the Packers are slight favorites; a noticeably stronger offense, with a nearly as strong defense as their opponents, and best of all they already avoid the Steelers biggest strength (run D). What isn't accounted for is the fact that the Steelers hold onto the ball a bit better than the Pack and always have knack of coming up big in big games. Somehow, someway they get it done and everyone gets to hear about how the Steelers won the last Super Bowl before the NFL was irrevocably changed forever.
Final Score Prediction: Steelers 27, Packers 24