Super Bowl Odds: Cashing 'total' tickets

By: Joe Freda | Monday, January 31, 2011

Those playing the ’over’ this Sunday hope to see a lot of this from the zebras.

Super Bowl betting brings many gamblers out to back a ‘side’ in the game, but the ‘total’ is often worth an even longer look when wanting to place a winning wager.

The public has historically preferred betting the ‘over’ in the Super Bowl to cheer on scoring and to use in parlays with other wagers.  Sports books have often had to inflate the ‘total’ to a high value in the annual duel to account for this, while letting professionals capitalize on the overlay.

Sunday’s clash between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers saw its ‘total’ open at 45 ½, with early ‘under’ action untraditionally dropping the number to as low as 44.  The pattern could be worth backing, with ‘total’ movement being correct at 52.9 percent (45-40) in games involving either Pittsburgh or Green Bay for the last three seasons, according to Don Best Sports' matchup report.

The ‘under’ has cashed at 5-1 in the last six Super Bowl battles, with the combined score of several contests in that span falling near the closing ‘total.’

The sole ‘over’ of that span saw Pittsburgh combine with the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII for 50 points, which leaped above the ‘total’ of 46 ½.  ‘Under’ backers will recall James Harrison’s 100-yard interception run to end the first half contributing to their losing wagers, as well as each squad notching a touchdown with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Last year’s contest between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts saw both squads unite for 48 points, ducking below the ‘total’ of 56 ½.  Oddsmakers listed a lofty number with two high-octane offenses taking the field, but the dome-team duo’s shift to Sun Life Stadium’s grass surface proved to be a factor causing differences from the rest of the season’s statistics.

Sunday’s game will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, with its retractable roof slated to be closed.  The ‘over’ collected at 8-0 in all eight of the Dallas Cowboys’ home dates during the regular season.

The Super Bowl was last held in an enclosed venue three years ago, when University of Phoenix Stadium hosted the New York Giants pulling off a 17-14 upset as 12-point underdogs against the New England Patriots.  The combined 31 points scored on the unique facility’s grass surface plunged ‘under’ the ‘total’ of 55.

Green Bay's four previous trips to the Super Bowl have seen an average of 51.7 points scored in the games, with the Packers averaging 31.7 points.  Pittsburgh seven previous Super Bowls have produced an average of 43.0 points per contest.  The Steelers' per game mark is 28.0.

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