Super Bowl Odds: Why are the Packers Favored?
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 2/4/2011
Whether you are a veteran gambler or an avid sports fan that doesn’t know the difference between a bed spread and a point spread, the opening Super Bowl line of Green Bay -2.5 likely elicited the same response.
By now anyone who follows point spreads knows never to second guess the oddsmakers. However, in the biggest game of the year you can’t help but scratch your head when you see a veteran Pittsburgh Steelers team full of a roster with two-time Super Bowl champions getting points in the Super Bowl.
The point spread does not always indicate who the better team is. The oddsmakers have to anticipate where the money will come and adjust accordingly. And once again it looks like Las Vegas hit it right on.
It has been almost two weeks since the line came out, and it has remained steady at Green Bay -2.5 at most sportsbooks with even action reportedly being wagered on both sides. So the oddsmakers got it right in terms of the point spread regardless of what happens Sunday in Cowboys Stadium.
But looking at things strictly in football terms, you have to ask yourself again about the Super Bowl odds, why are the Green Bay Packers favored?
The Steelers haven’t been an underdog in two months, and now in the biggest game of the season they’re a dog? Green Bay has been an underdog twice already in these playoffs and they struggled against Philadelphia in the Wild Card round and against Chicago against a third-string quarterback for the second half.
The Steelers enter Cowboys Stadium with a collective 54 Super Bowl rings amongst them. Only two Green Bay Packers have ever played in a Super Bowl, and only one has a ring and that is John Kuhn who got his as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad in 2005. The Steelers have the better quarterback, a better rushing attack, a better defense and most importantly a better postseason history.
The Steelers are dealing with a few injuries themselves, but Green Bay has 16 players on the injured reserve list. The Steelers were a No. 2 seed in the AFC. The early Super Bowl line has been AFC -3 to -4.5 since December. And now that the NFC sends a No. 6 seed as its representative, the NFC is favored in the Super Bowl.
As a No. 6 seed the Packers had no bye week until this past week. The Steelers have had two bye weeks in the last month. Green Bay has had to play three consecutive road games in the postseason and five consecutive must-win games.
There is precedent for a No. 6 seed winning the Super Bowl, but that only furthers the argument for the Steelers being favored because it was Pittsburgh who was the only team to win the Lombardi Trophy as a No. 6 seed and that was with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Hines Ward at wide receiver and a defense led by Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, James Farrior, Casey Hampton and Ike Taylor. Those are the same players who will likely decide Sunday’s game.
Las Vegas got it right with the point spread as evidence by the almost even wagering, but is Green Bay really the better team? Maybe the oddsmakers will be right in both regards, favoring Green Bay and setting a line that attracts equal betting. After all Las Vegas is 7-0 in picking Steelers Super Bowls. The Steelers were favored in the six Super Bowls they won and an underdog in their lone Super Bowl loss. And the oddsmakers have predicted 32 of the past 44 Super Bowls correctly as the favorites are 32-12 straight up in the Super Bowl.
The Steelers have nearly every advantage thinkable on Sunday with the notable exception of one, the oddsmakers appear to be in Green Bay’s corner.
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