Taking the Colts and the over
Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist
On paper, Super Bowl XLI appears to be an even match-up. Making a pick is not an easy task.
But if there is to be a mismatch on the field, the most obvious place to look would be Indianapolis’ pass offense. With the future Hall of Fame tandem of quarterback Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison, plus Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne and a now-healthy tight end in Dallas Clark, the Colts should be able to exploit a Chicago pass defense that struggled during the second half of the season. Manning is a master at running the no-huddle offense and executing play-action passes. As long as the Colts mix in more running plays and turn the ball over less than New Orleans did in the NFC Championship Game, they should be able to score some touchdowns.
Although Chicago’s Rex Grossman is not, as some reporters have said, the worst quarterback ever to reach the Super Bowl, he’s no superstar, either. Injured for most of his first two seasons, Grossman has started only 24 games. His 11 for 26 passing performance against New Orleans was uninspiring.
Recent history also points to an Indianapolis victory. The AFC representative has won seven of the last nine Super Bowls. The AFC, as usual, showed its dominance by capturing 40 of the 64 interconference games. Two of Chicago’s three losses this year were to AFC teams. Since 2000, four NFC No. 1 seeds like the Bears got to the Super Bowl, and all of them lost.
So, it seems that the Colts will win the game. The question is, by how much?
Betting the Over/Under again is not an easy choice. There are statistics that point in both directions.
But the Bears were the second-most consistent team all year long, behind Tennessee, for going Over the total. Five of the last six Chicago games have gone Over, with the one other game being the regular season finale that Grossman foolishly admitted he wasn’t prepared for. With a 30 percent chance of rain in the Sunday forecast for Miami, scoring could be slowed down, but it probably won’t be that much of a factor.
Prediction: The public has moved the line in favor of Chicago and Under, which strengthens my feelings further that the game will go the other way. The pick is on Indianapolis -6 1/2 and Over 48 points total.
Making proposition bets sometimes can be more fun than betting on the final score. Ask Wayne Gretzky’s wife Janet, who last year bet $5,000 on the pre-game coin flip. There are so many prop bets available, everyone is bound to find something they like. Here are three predictions on props found in Carson City sports books:
•It’s no coincidence that when injured Indianapolis safety Bob Sanders returned for the playoffs, that the Colt run defense improved. Indy has given up 44, 83 and 93 yards rushing against good running teams. The bet is on Chicago to gain Under 129 1/2 total yards rushing.
•Although Indianapolis gave up three of them to New England, the Colts have allowed the fewest amount of sacks in each of the last three seasons. They gave up an average of less than one per game this year during the regular season. The pick is to take Under 3 1/2 sacks combined for both teams
•You couldn’t ask for better than the two Pro Bowl kickers meeting in the Super Bowl. Everyone knows how clutch Indy kicker Adam Vinatieri can be, and Chicago’s Robbie Gould probably won’t miss one either. The question is, how many opportunities will they get? We’ll try betting on the Over 3 or 3 1/2 field goals made during the game, and Over 1 1/2 on each kicker.