Walk into any sports book on Super Bowl Sunday and your first reaction is bound to be, “Economic crisis? What economic crisis?” Indeed, there will be lines—long, snaking, Disneyland-on-summer-day lines.
And those lines will be filled with all kinds of characters—from sharp handicappers plunking down $10,000 on the Colts or Saints to the 80-year-old grandmother wagering $10 on the jersey number of the player to score the last touchdown (and that number, not-so-coincidentally, will match the one that won her bingo the previous night).
Of course, you know you’ll be in one of those lines come Sunday—you just don’t yet know where to place your money. That’s why I’m here. These are two of my favorite plays for Super Sunday (it would’ve been three, but I couldn’t find a line on “How many times will the CBS cameras pan to Archie Manning”):
$1,100 (to win $1,000) on Colts (-5½) vs. Saints: Two weeks ago, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning shredded the NFL’s top-rated defense for 377 passing yards and three TDs. Now he faces a New Orleans defense that ranked 25th out of 32 teams in defense (and 26th against the pass). It’s the same defense that the Vikings’ Brett Favre picked apart in the NFC Championship Game (when he wasn’t on the sideline rinsing out his false teeth). The Saints are a great story, but they don’t stand a chance against Manning, who unlike Superman cannot be felled by kryptonite. Indianapolis is 25-1 in the last 26 games Manning has started and finished.
$330 (to win $300) on Saints-Colts OVER 56½ total points: This is the highest “total” in Super Bowl history, and there’s a reason for that: New Orleans and Indianapolis ranked first and ninth, respectively, in offense this year … and 25th and 18th, respectively, on defense. The Saints put up 76 total points in their two playoff wins (including 31 against the Vikings, who had the NFL’s sixth-best defense), while the Colts scored 50 points in their two postseason victories (including 30 against the stingy Jets). Yep, there will be more scoring on the field in Miami than there was all week in the South Beach strip clubs (presuming Tiger Woods doesn’t make an appearance).
Matt Jacob is a former local sports writer who has been in the sports handicapping business for more than four years. For his weekly column, Vegas Seven has granted Matt a “$7,000” bankroll. If he blows it all, we’ll fire him and replace him with a monkey.