Inside the Super Bowl Point Spread Numbers

This article about Super Bowl spreads seems like a perfectly good excuse to post this picture.

Super Bowl Weekend is finally upon us. Hopefully we can move past trivial story lines and the speculation about Peyton Manning and any other quarterbacks who will have no impact on this game. Actually, wait, scratch that. I’m just getting word that ESPN Insider Extraordinaire and General Everywhere Man Adam Schefter is reporting the NFL has just announced that during the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, Tim Tebow will play Permanent QB for both teams.

Anyway, back to the actual game. The Super Bowl point spread had opened at around Patriots -3.5 and quickly moved down to -3, as it seems a lot of people really like the Giants in the matchup. The over/under opened at about 55.5 and is now down to around 54.

While everyone makes party plans and formulates their picks and best bets for the Super Bowl, I’ve found some more interesting stats and trends to consider:

Something to keep in mind about this stuff: just as with any trends…. at some point they don’t have much bearing on the actual game being played on the field. If the AFC favorites had won and covered 12 times in a row, that really doesn’t mean anything if Tom Brady throws two pick-6’s and Victor Cruz takes a 5-yard slant to the house. Just cuz the under has hit 4 out of the last 5 years, doesn’t mean that offenses led by Brady and Eli wont still go back and forth for a 31-27 game that goes over. I think people tend to get lost in trends: “oh, the last 4 times the Super Bowl featured a rematch with an AFC favorite of under 7 points with a democratic administration in the White House in an even-numbered year, the underdog won outright!!”


I understand the idea of knowing your history, but it’s also wise to consider the fact that it’s just that: history. That said, let’s go inside the numbers of Super Bowl point spread history and results:

  • The spread has been a factor only 7 times, twice pushing and 5 times the favorite didn’t cover. The other 38 games, whether the underdog or favorite won, the spread did not factor into the game.
  • Five out of the last 7 Super Bowls have stayed UNDER the total.
  • Six out of the last 7 Super Bowls has totaled 50 or fewer points including two games that produced just 31 total points.
  • The favored team has won 15 of the last 21 Super Bowls, and 9 of the last 12.
  • The NFC holds a 24-21 straight up edge over the AFC.

Week 6 NFL Picks

Welcome back degenerate gamblers and office pool pickers. No time for rambling faux analysis, let’s just get right to the NFL locks of the week.

Detroit Lions -4 vs. San Francisco 49ers:  I know San Fran hung 48 on Tampa last week, and their record says they’re 4-1. I’m not saying the Niners are frauds, I’m sure they’re pretty good. But SF comes back down to earth a bit this week as QB Alex Smith faces that Detroit D-line and the crazy crowd in the D. Take the Lions -4.

Baltimore Ravens -7 vs. Houston Texans: the Ravens have always been great after the bye week and they take care of business at home. Houston is an okay/good team that gets treated like a contender. But without WR Andre Johnson and now the defense without Mario Williams, I think the Ravens roll easily at home. Take Baltimore -7.

Oakland Raiders -7 vs. Cleveland Browns: this is the week that we confirm that Oakland is pretty good and Cleveland is not. First home game following the death of Al Davis, and a weak opponent, spells a Silver & Black blowout. Take the Raiders -7.

The Obvious Joe Public Square Pick: take the Over in the Cowboys/Patriots game. It’s a high number, 55, but each team shouldn’t have much trouble getting to 30.


Last Week: 4-2
This Season:13-8


Week 5 NFL Picks

Al Davis died again this week, and as cliché as it might seem, I like the Raiders to Just Win Baby against the Texans in Houston. Or at least cover the spread. Oakland has been pretty good, and Houston might be a little overated in this spot (playing at home a week after a high-profile win over the Steelers). Following the death of Davis, it certainly would have been more emotional if it was a home game or if they were playing a division rival. But I don’t think anyone in the sports world would be shocked to see the Raiders play with a little extra emotion and win this game on the road, especially considering that Houston’s All-World WR Andre Johnson is out. Oh by the way, the Texans are giving 6 points. That line is too high, take Oakland +6.

Only a degenerate gambler would consider wagering on the game between the Manning-less Colts and the 1-3 Chiefs. But I think Indianapolis at home, after 4 weeks of practicing how to play without Peyton, they can manage a win over a punchless and weak Kansas City team. Of course, the Colts are still winless, but therein lies the value: it’s only Indy -2 or so, depending where you look. They get the win this week and the easy cover. Bet the Colts.

Here’s another horrible game that you have to bet on just to give it a reason to exist. The Bengals travel to Jacksonville to take on a bad Jaguars team breaking in a rookie QB. Ciny has a rookie QB but he’s been damn good so far and has an explosive fellow rookie at WR. The Jags defense is decent, but the Bengals is better. Mix in the fact that Cincinnati is pretty good and Jackonville just isn’t… yea, the Bengals are gonna win this game, by at least 7 or so. But probably more like 24-13 or even 27-10. This line opened at Jacksonville minus 2 or so and has slowly been moving toward the Bengals. You might have to lay a point, but take Cincinnati.

It’s time for this week’s Joe Obvious Square Public Pick! That’s right, I’m suggesting you bet the OVER in the Philly/Buffalo game. It’s a high total (51.5) but you know both teams have a good chance of hitting 28.

Sunday night, despite all the signs pointing to Aaron Rodgers being unstoppable and the fact that this line opened at GB -4.5 and was bet up to GB -6… and the fact that Atlanta probably isn’t as great as we think they are…. I have a weird feeling the home crowd for the nationally televised Sunday night game and a little playoff payback will push the Falcon over the Packers. And if they fall short? You’re getting 6 points. Take Atlanta plus the points.

Monday night, I like the New Upstart Can You Believe the LIONS of Detroit. First Monday nighter in 10 years, loud dome, dominant pass rush, Jay Cutler and his lack of protection up front, Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Done. Take Detroit -5. And the Lions defense isn’t great so I imagine this could end up turning into a garbage time pseudo shootout as Cutler, Hester, and Forte score enough to hang around push this one over 47.5 points relatively easily. Bet the Lions-Bears OVER.

Last Week: 2-1
This Season: 9-6-1

Week 4 NFL Picks

Week 4 NFL action is upon us and once again Bums Logic has your Best Bets: NFL picks against the spread that are sure to win, but might possibly lose, as evidenced by our paltry but technically winning record so far!

Oftentimes winning football picks aren’t the glamorous Game of the Week when two popular contenders square-off in a showdown. As sad as it is to bet on crappy who-cares games that no one in their right mind would ever watch, if you have a feeling about a game, no matter how bad or boring, just take the easy money.

Case in point this week: the ho-hum Tennessee Titans to take on the perennially putrid Cleveland Browns. Not exactly the kinda game that inspires you to make sure you have a table at the wings place at quarter-to-1, eh? The Titans showed some life in a home win against Baltimore when they utilized a pass-heavy attack with Veteran QB Matt Hasslebeck. Even that season-high only yielded 26 points. In their other 2 games they scored 14 at Jacksonville and 17 against Denver. And now they are suddenly without emerging WR threat Kenny Britt. So this is probably the week they look to get RB Chris Johnson going (he’s yet to have a really big game), and that will keep the clock moving. It’s also a good bet that Cleveland will look to do the same by feeding the rock to RB Peyton Hillis in hopes of grinding out a home win. No one outside of Cleveland or Nashville will be watching this game. It’s got 16-13 written all over it. Maybe 17-14 or one of those weird-score games like 19-15. You get the idea. The point is, bet the Titans-Browns game Under 39. Even if they get to 21-17, it still stays under.

In another game that might be canceled due to lack of interest, New Orleans makes the short trip east to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Giving 7 points on the road is often risky in the NFL, but the Saints are a good team with an explosive offense and Jacksonville is mediocre at best with not much of a home-field advantage. I could see a lot of regional Saints fans from the Southeast making the trip to North Florida for this one. The only stat we need for this one is the Saints score 35 points per game while the Jags score just under 10 while giving up an average of 21. Okay maybe that was three stats. Anyway, I expect that to continue as Drew Brees and company will run a clinic en route to a 38-17 win. Bet New Orleans -7 at Jacksonville.

If you must make a bet with a bit more fun and pizazz than the two snoozers above, bet Over 54.5 in the Patriots-Raiders game. I know, it’s another obvious bet just like the Over pick in the last New England game (that won easily). But just like the 2007 Patriots were killing opponents and the spreads they were favored by kept going up and up, these high totals for New England wont keep Over bettors from cashing in for a few more weeks. The Raiders will have confidence and energy at home, and Darren McFadden is running wild on the NFL so far this year. The Pats cant stop anyone, but Tom Brady can keep them moving up and down the field and scoring quickly and often. Both teams should hit 30+ in this game and it will sail over the total. Even 31-27 or 34-24 would be a winner.

Last Week: 2-1-1
This Season: 7-5-1

Week 3 NFL Picks

There’s a few old adages in NFL wagering, like beware of road favorites or be careful betting on that one obvious easy play that everyone else loves. I’m going against both of those warnings this week.

First, the road favorite. It’s not going out on a limb to suggest that the Detroit Lions might be for real. It’s a pretty risky prospect to back that up by taking the Lions giving points on the road to a division rival. The Minnesota Vikings might be 0-2 right now, but they’re not that far removed from their run the NFC championship. But the Detroit defense will stifle Adrian Peterson just enough, and Donovan McNabb won’t be able to save them. Soon as Matthew Stafford gets a couple TD’s on the board and a sack/fumble by McNabb puts the Lions up 21-3, the crowd will be out of the game and we’ll all be wondering why Detroit wasn’t favored by more. Take the Lions -3 at Minnesota.

Now for the Joe Square Public Pick That Will Still Win: Patriots-Bills to go Over 54. I know that’s a pretty high total, and it’s already been bet up from the opening line of 51, so the whole world and their degenerate-gambler mothers love the over in this game. This is the first “really big game” in Buffalo in a long time, featuring two QB’s who sling it around against defenses that can’t really stop anyone. Too obvious, huh. Vegas knows all this so they set this total so high that maybe we should take the under? Could have a “playoff atmosphere” and the semi-shootout only gets to around 31-20 and it stays under the total? No way. 30-27 or 31-24 will push it over, and I still think this one will be more like 38-30 Pats. Take Bills-Patriots Over 54.

I also like New Orleans -3.5 at home against the Houston Texans. The Saints have battled the Packers and Bears so far while Houston has been on the JV circuit, sparring with the Manning-less Colts and the lackluster Dolphins. The Texans step up in competition this week against Drew Brees and the Saints in what will also be their first hostile environment of the year. Saints might cruise in this one, but even if it’s not a blowout, New Orleans will cover the spread easily.

Teaser of the Week: Take the Titans and tease them down from -7 to -1 at home against the Broncos by pairing it up with the Steelers, teasing them down from 10.5 to a much more manageable -4.5 at Indy. Tease Titans -1 with Steelers -4.5


Last Week: 2-2
This Season: 5-4

Weak, er, Week 2 NFL Picks Against the Spread

It’s only week 2 in the NFL, which means it’s okay to hitch your wagon to some probably mediocre teams that no one yet believes in. One of them might emerge as a surprise overachiever, but most likely they are destined for the 5-11-to-7-9 crap heap.

Sure, there are some marquee match-ups like San Diego at New England and Philly at Atlanta. But wagering on the big national TV games can be a trap. It’s better to put your money on your best picks, not necessarily on the Game of the Week or the one you know you’ll be watching on TV. So sometimes that means slummin’ it with a few undervalued bottom-dwellers. That’s right, this week I’m rollin’ with the Bills, Lions, and Redskins. Let’s get to the picks to find out why.

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Against the Spread: Week 1 NFL Picks

Ah, football is back and it gives me the munchies. In this economy, or lack thereof, the only safe investment is to gamble recklessly on pro football point spreads. Time to revive the NFL Picks column and give out a few best bets against the spread for Week 1.

Over the last two years of picking games for a football website, I went 128-100. Nothing great, but good enough. This year I bring the column to Bums Logic in hopes of helping some of you degenerate gamblers and office pool players some tips on winning a few bucks this year. You’re welcome. Donations accepted.

Wait, this just in, someone else just made the “this just in, the Packers just scored another touchdown” joke. Now onto the Week 1 NFL Picks:

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