Super bet chances in off week

Jan 23, 2008 1:45 AM

Feist Facts by Jim Feist | In the world of 11 to 10, there’s nothing quite like Super Bowl week.

In this case, the champions of the AFC and NFC have two weeks to prepare for the Big Game. It’s also one of the most creative weeks of the sports betting season.

While there’s only one game left on the football calendar, there are still ample opportunities for betting on the Super Bowl. There will be hundreds of creative props by various oddsmakers in Las Vegas.

For example, you can bet on the exact score of the game by each team. Last season, if you bet on Chicago return specialist Devin Hester to score the first touchdown of the game, you would have cashed a 25/1 prop ticket after he returned the opening kickoff 92 yards. Just 14 seconds in cashing a 25/1 ticket is the best way to watch a Super Bowl!

You could even wager that there would be no touchdowns scored at 50/1. Of course, that has never happened as we head to Super Bowl 42 next week. There also has never been overtime.

There will be "over / under" lines offered on how many touchdown passes a quarterback might throw, the first team to turn the ball over, and even the coin flip. There will be creative wagers offered such as how many receiving yards one player might get matched up against the number of points the NBA’s Dirk Nowitzki will score against Detroit in a basketball battle before the Super Sunday kickoff.

The Super Bowl brings out the best in the creative minds of oddsmakers. Smart bettors will search through all the props, totals and side bets offered in an attempt to find an edge and add to their bankrolls. When examining Super Bowl totals, weather is not as important an issue as in other January playoff games. Super Sunday is always played indoors or at warm weather sites.

This season the game will be in Glendale, Ariz. Since Super Bowl X in 1976 between the Steelers and Cowboys, there have been 19 "overs" and 13 "unders." The last three have gone "under."

Why so many "overs?" One factor is that coaches with a lead are less likely to sit on the ball in the second half in a Super Bowl. If a team is up 17-0 at the half of a December game, a coach might be inclined to go conservative, run the clock and avoid injuries. In the postseason, it’s the final game of the season and no lead is safe.

No coach wants to play super-conservative and be remembered as the guy who blew a 17-0 lead in the biggest game of his career. Since it’s the last game of the season, coaches will often put in trick plays and new offensive wrinkles in an attempt to maximize scoring opportunities.

Despite the excessive "overs" the last 30 years, you can’t overlook the importance of defense. Heading into the conference championship games, the Patriots, Giants and Packers were in the top 11 in total defense. The Pats and Packers ended up 1-2 in total offense.

The books are petrified of getting middled. Eight years ago the Rams were a 7 to 7½-point favorite against the Titans. The Rams won by seven, 23-16.

The most famous example was in 1979, forever known in Las Vegas as "Black Sunday." The Steelers opened a 2½-point favorite over the Cowboys, were bet up to 5, then back down to 4. Books everywhere were sick when the Steelers won, 35-31, landing on the dreaded ‘M’ word!