Sports and Gaming News

Superbowl edition of sports betting’s must read weekly…

January in Atlanta can be in the 60’s or it can be cold. This week it’s cold. It’s far too cold for the players to be out bird-dogging for hookers, so there’s one variable from last year’s Super Bowl that’s been eliminated.

St. Louis suffers from the “Tampa Bay Beat The Hell Out Of Us Last Week” factor. The week after playing the Bucs and their brutally physical, confidence-ruining defense, teams stumbled to a 2-13 record both straight up and to the spread. 9 of the 13 lost to the spread by 14 points or more. With no week off will the Rams be able to bounce back physically from their struggle against Tampa’s fierce stop unit? But before jumping on the burgeoning Titan bandwagon keep in mind that Tennessee actually gave up more yards than they gained this season. There’s a lot to be said for efficiency and turnover ratio but who ever thought we’d ever see a team get outyarded on the year and end up in the Super Bowl?

While the Super Bowl itself is not always predictable, the hype designed to get as many Americans as possible to watch is as certain as Trent Dilfer never starting another NFL game. The TV talking heads who actually make predictions throughout the year are unreliable enough, this week everyone with a forum comes up with a selection. The guy at the gas station, your mother in law, and your clergyman suddenly turn into prognosticators. Ryan Leaf, Leif Garrett, and the descendants of Leif Erickson will all be ferreted out by some media outlet to weigh in with their opinion on the game, although none have any qualifications to comment on anything related to football.

The publicity involving betting on the Super Bowl is largely devoted to the compulsive gamblers who tap out on Super Bowl Sunday. For some reason these problem gamblers DO seem to use the Super Bowl as a springboard into the abyss. Whether they see it as a chance to get even on the season or want to wallow in their last chance at football action, those who study problem gamblers agree that Super Bowl Sunday is a big day.

Bettors who are serious about winning realize the folly of the focus on Super Bowl Sunday. The Super Bowl is analyzed from every angle by thousands of media people who are desperate for a fresh perspective on how the game will be played. While one can have a unique perspective on the game that puts you on the right side, your reasoning may have been incorrect. For instance, a bettor who likes St. Louis because of their magnificent offense will get paid with money just as green if the Rams struggle to two field goals while gaining only 160 yards of offense, score TD’s on a kickoff return and a fumble return, and win 20-10. The analysis may have been faulty, but the celebration will be just as sweet for the winning bettor.

Those who load up on the Super Bowl are likely gamblers who happen to bet on sports, as opposed to winning sports bettors. The true value is not likely to be found in the game the entire world is focusing on. The winning player will find far better opportunities in the (exactly) 100 basketball games on the board this weekend than he or she is likely to uncover for the Super Bowl. Such focus on where the value lies is what separates the winning sports bettor from the gambler looking to load up on the Super Bowl.

Let’s consider a few facts that may help you handicap the Super Bowl.

1. No Week Off: Historically speaking, having an open week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl has lead to mismatches, as one team handles the time off well while the other comes out flat. Without a week off games have been cleaner and more competitive. A five-day power outage negated my plans to look up the exact numbers, but it is the case. 2. Tennessee’s D is no Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay managed to befuddle the high-powered St. Louis offense on Sunday with speed all over the field. The Titans D has obviously come on in the playoffs, though Buffalo wasn’t a powerful offensive unit, the efforts against the Colts and Jags were admirable. Important to note, however, that Tampa’s defense was significantly better than Tennessee’s over the course of the season. Just because the Bucs slowed down the Rams doesn’t mean.. 3. Earlier matchup: In late October in Nashville, the Titans burst out to a big lead over the Rams and held on for a 24-21 victory. Although they lost, the Rams outyarded the Titans 415-281 in that game. Let’s be careful with this information, however. The early Titan lead was based on turnovers. The Rams yardage was largely a result of Tennessee playing softer defensively with a big lead while being conservative in the second half on offense. With Tennessee off a bye week and St. Louis unrested off a string of big victories, the situation favored the Titans that day. 4. Let it all hang out: Teams do not save things for next week in the Super Bowl. A team looks to pour it on, both to rip their opponent’s heart out as well as for individual glory as the whole world watches. It’s no accident that the straight up loser has only covered the spread three times in the thirty-three previous Super Bowls.

Last week we wrote that the Stratosphere had developed an aggressive sports book to try to draw patrons to their inconvenient, “halfway between downtown and the Strip” location. Never mind. For the second time in a little more than a year fearless sports book director Nick Bogdanovich (formerly of Binion’s Horseshoe) has left due to philosophical differences, as his propensity to take any and all action resulted in losses for the property. Callers to our Hotline at 770.618.8700 have enjoyed a great January. We’re off yet another big winning week in hoops on our late phones as well, with 7 winning weeks out of 8 since starting hoops on December 1. We provide free picks and analysis all week long. The Hotline is a free 24-hour service, so call 770.618.8700 anytime.

Since Super Bowl opinions are a dime a dozen, we’ll look at a college basketball game instead. Consider using Colorado plus the big points at Texas on Saturday. While improved this year, the Buffs obviously are considerably shy of the Longhorns in the talent department, but it’s motivation that keys our selection here. Last season Texas beat Colorado in the regular season before disposing of them once again in the conference tournament. Last year’s results may leave Texas a tad overconfident in this spot while giving Colorado extra motivation. The ‘horns are also sitting fat after a blowout win earlier this week over Nebraska. The other slice of the sandwich is Texas’ Big Monday ESPN showdown at Oklahoma 48 hours hence, which provides a distraction here. Disparate levels of interest leads to Colorado hanging around and getting in under a healthy number.

Good luck, be careful, and please remember that the Super Bowl is just a single football game from a handicapping perspective. It is nothing more and it is nothing less. | January 28th, 2000

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
Kevin is the author of two best selling books on football betting. His weekly column covers the world of sports betting, the media and football handicapping.

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