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Super Bowl Odds Favor The Patriots, But Everyone's Picking The Giants

Tom Brady and the Patriots are still Super Bowl XLVI favorites, but the majority of betters in Vegas are picking Eli Manning and the Giants to pull off the upset. Plus: more news from Super Bowl week, and some blasts from Super Bowls past.

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We're halfway through Super Bowl week, and everyone's still alive. This is a victory. And speaking of victory's, Vegas still thinks the Patriots will win on Sunday, but there's a catch. Even though New England is favored by three points, MGM Resorts International, which manages 10 sports books in Las Vegas, reports that 65 percent of the public is betting the Giants to swing the upset. If I were a Giants fan, this would be absolutely terrifying. Likewise if I owned a casino.

To that second point: You'd think if the public were betting the Giants this hard--65 to 35 is a pretty wide margin--the line would have fallen more by now. Either way, it's always a fun subplot when Vegas disagrees with the betting public on the Super Bowl, because it's one of the few events of the year where the house can get absolutely hammered. As Reuters reports:

"[The public is] betting the Giants, and I think that will be the trend going into the weekend," Jay Rood, vice president of the race and sports book at MGM, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I am fairly certain that it's happening throughout the whole state (of Nevada) as well so I'm pretty sure the state is going to need a Patriots victory."

Yes, a Giants win would hurt the entire state. How insane is it that there's a state whose entire economy will feel a ripple depending on whether the Patriots cover the spread? And how awesome is it that Vegas knows this, but isn't willing to hedge their bets by dropping the odds to even out the betting? (For instance: If the point spread was even, would the betting still be split 65-35?)

As someone who's been bested by Las Vegas (and/or shady online gambling sites in the Cayman Islands) too many times to count, it'd obviously be satisfying to watch the Giants make Vegas miserable. At the same time, you gotta respect the oddsmakers sticking with their guns here. It's comforting to know that stupid gamblers are the only ones who take irrational risks around the Super Bowl. Elsewhere...


A closer look at how Vegas makes the odds. From Fox Sports:

Vegas, of course, almost always wins. The state’s sports books have come out on top on 15 of the past 16 Super Bowls. The only huge hit Vegas took on recent Super Bowls? Take note: It was in 2008, with the Giants’ upset of the Patriots.

A couple days before the AFC and NFC championship games, I asked Kornegay to pick the winners. He correctly took the Giants and the Patriots. Then I asked him: What would he predict for the Super Bowl? He thought for a moment and then said: Patriots 30, Giants 26.

Sure enough, when the lines opened after the two championship games, Vegas had the Patriots as a 3.5–point favorite and had the over-under at 55. In other words, Kornegay not only predicted the teams, but he predicted the spread to within a half-point, the over-under to within a point.

Yeah ... These people fascinate me. If I could be like any gangster from a Martin Scorcese movie, it would be Ace Rothstein, and nobody else is even close.


Wes Welker thinks hot divorcee sex has helped Bill Belichik loosen up. In so many words: "I don't know, I think he's enjoying himself. I think he's got a lady in his life, so that could definitely be the case; I don't know." As Yahoo! Sports' Chris Chase adds:

Belichick was divorced from his wife in 2006 and began seeing Holliday soon after. The thrice-divorced mother of two became a fixture at Belichick's side that summer and during New England's 16-0 season. There were even whispers that the hard-nosed coach was more relaxed and jovial in her presence that year...


The best Super Bowl week ever. Was obviously with Joe Namath. From New York Magazine:

before the Super Bowl," Namath said. "I went out and got a bottle and grabbed this girl and brought her back to the hotel in Fort Lauderdale and we had a good time the whole night."

He reached for his drink. His grin broke into a laugh. "It’s good for you," he said. He held his arms out and shook them. "It loosens you up good for the game."

In the Super Bowl game, the Baltimore Colts were supposed to wreck Namath, and they probably were in bed dreaming about this all night. As soon as the game started, the Baltimore linemen and linebackers got together and rushed in at Namath in a maneuver they call blitzing and Namath, who doesn’t seem to need time even to set his feet, threw a quick pass down the middle and then came right back and hit Matt Snell out on the side and right away you knew Baltimore was in an awful lot of trouble.

This reminds me of something we were talking about in the office today. Given the level of scrutiny and all the money at stake with today's game, will we ever have another Super Bowl where somebody does something completely ridiculous the week before the game? Sports just aren't as much fun when every guy says the right things and doesn't get arrested for something phenomenally embarrassing.

Speaking of which...


Remembering Eugene Robinson. #NeverForget. Via the New York Times in 1999:

While publicly the Falcon players maintained Robinson's pre-game arrest was not a distraction, privately they said different. Those interviewed said the morning of the game was very tense, and all the talk was about Robinson.

''Instead of getting mentally ready for the Broncos,'' another Falcon player said, ''we were talking about Eugene. The Broncos beat us, but anyone who says what happened to Eugene was not a factor is lying.''

The best part of that story is toward the beginning, though:

''Guys had been going there all week,'' a Falcon starter said. ''It's just that Eugene was the only one who got caught.''

See? This stuff MUST still happen. I think teams and the league have just gotten better at hiding it. For shame. Instead the scandals of today's game look like this next item.


Osi Umenyora Fined $20,000 for Skipping Mandatory Media Session. Taking a nap, or catching up on Justified, or secretly taking an afternoon trip to whatever red light district they might have in Indinapolis, or whatever it is Osi Umenyora was doing today instead of talking to the media0--it turned out to be an expensive decision.

The NFL has fined Osi Umenyiora for missing Wednesday's Super Bowl media session, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer. The New York Giants defensive lineman was nowhere to be seen during Wednesday morning's media session.

For missing the media session, the league fined Umenyiora $20,000.

The league also noted that Umenyiora was the only player or coach from the Giants and New England Patriots to miss the media availability.

The league would also like to note that Osi Umenyora should feel very ashamed of himself.


Eli Manning Uses 'We' ... Sportswriter Takes Offense. Ugh.

Eli Manning surely speaks frequently with Victor Cruz and Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Snee. But does he really know the team’s seventh defensive lineman? The backup cornerback? The rookie safety? Besides "Hi" and "Hey" in the hallways, they are—in most cases—perfect strangers; no different than the relationship I have with the dude who regularly sits near me here in Panera. "We" implies a cohesiveness. But how can one have cohesiveness with someone he speaks with six times a season?


And finally...