Super Bowl underdogs cash in again

Betting the underdog in the Super Bowl is point underdogs last Sunday, the team getting points has now covered eight of the last 11 Super Bowls. That translates to a 73% winning percentage. For my money, it doesn't get better than that.

Whoops, it does get better than that, as the under in the Super Bowl has come through six of the last eight years. That equates to a 75% winning percentage. For some strange reason, the total in this year's game was between 53 and 54 (depending on when and where the bet was placed). The 21-17 final score produced a final total of 38, far below the posted number.

Did the oddsmakers totally blow this one? Probably, since the final tallies of the previous meetings between these two teams were 44, 31, 73 and 23. In addition, the Giants ended the regular season with three consecutive unders while sporting just one over in their other three postseason games. Furthermore, the Patriots were coming off a 43-point final against Baltimore.

Another point that had to be in the minds of those folks betting the under was that five of the previous seven Super Bowls ended with a final score below the posted number. Not only that, the under came through victorious in the three other times the total was over 50 since 2000.

The underdog and under are two of the key trends that must be followed on a year-in, year-out basis. Another wager that should be used is taking the field goal or safety as the first score of the game instead of the touchdown.

When the Giants cashed in on the two-point play almost midway through the first quarter, it was the ninth time in the last 14 Super Bowls that a field goal or safety was the first score of the game. The 64% winning percentage does not match the under and underdog numbers, but it is also nothing to sneeze at.

Incidentally, the field goal or safety is usually a far better play than the touchdown since bettors taking the latter as the first score have to lay around $160 or $180 to win $100. Those gamblers smart enough to take the field goal or safety were rewarded with a healthy $150 for every $100 wagered.

Another winning percentage-based wager has to do with which player wins the MVP award. Quarterbacks have won it 64% of the time since 1999 with Eli Manning bringing home his second award. That percentage sounds great at first, but one has to remember that there are two quarterbacks in every game. The key is to pick the right one.

To that end, it is best to choose the signal-caller from the team not expected to win the game. The reasons are two-fold. First, his odds will be much higher than the quarterback from the team that's favored, and second, the team getting the points has been crowned Super Bowl champion 60% of the time over the last five years.

Eli Manning's 9-4 MVP odds were incredibly high, particularly since he had defeated the Patriots in the last two meetings. When making prop bets, it is best to find wagers that not only have a high probability of occurring, but also have odds that benefit the bettor.

That ploy worked perfectly a couple of years back when the Saints met the Colts. Indianapolis was favored by five points so Peyton Manning was the No.1 betting choice for MVP. Unfortunately for the chalk players, Drew Brees took home the award with a spectacular performance completing 32-of-39 with a pair of touchdowns.


The early future lines for 2013 are out and if the oddsmakers are correct, Green Bay (6-1) and New England (7-1) will meet in Super Bowl XLVII. The odds of both of them reaching the big game are slim considering only four of the last 10 expected favorites accomplished that feat. The third choice is New Orleans (17-2) partially since next year's Super Bowl will be held in the Superdome.

My pick to take home the Lombardi Trophy is the Houston Texans, who are currently 12-1 and the fourth choice in the wagering.

Houston got a taste of what playoff football is like this past season beating Cincinnati at home and then almost taking down the Ravens in Baltimore. If it wasn't for three interceptions thrown by T.J. Yates, Houston would more than likely have reached the AFC Championship Game.

The Texans finished the regular season second in the NFL in total defense and fourth in scoring defense. They were 11th in scoring offense but that was mainly due to the injury to Matt Schaub. The quarterback missed the final six regular season games and the backups led the team to a 3-3 record while averaging just 18 points per game. With Schaub in the lineup, the Texans were 7-3, picking up 27 points per game.

A healthy Schaub, along with studs at running back and wide receiver, will easily give Houston first place in the AFC South, with quite possibly a bye in the first round of the playoffs and home field in the divisional round.

The Texans could be the most balanced team in the conference and this year's playoff experience will give them the confidence they need in order to get past the likes of New England, Pittsburgh and Baltimore in order to reach the Super Bowl.

Once in New Orleans, the odds are they'll be the underdogs against the NFC winner, especially if it is either Green Bay or New Orleans. And based on the last 11 Super Bowls, we have seen that it is more favorable to be the team getting the points as opposed to the one giving them.