Pretty much everything that can be said about the Super Bowl has already been said, so I won’t belabor the point. The Packers are probably a little better than the Steelers and so deserve to be about a field goal favorite. Apparently everyone in Vegas thinks so (Insider required), Bodog thinks so, I think so, but Brian Burke disagrees. If you like Brian’s work, he made a widget with the game win probability. My predictions are below.
First I should note that my model has home field as an inherent part of the predictions. So for the Super Bowl, which is on a neutral field, I run it twice with each team as the home team, then I average the results. Here’s how it turns out.
Over/under: The number right now is 45.5. Both Mario and Luigi would take the under.
Moneyline: The Packers are at -135, although I saw them at -140 earlier; the Steelers are at +115 (+120 earlier). If you’ve forgotten, a negative number means you would have to bet that much to win $100; in this case, you could bet $135 and if Green Bay wins you would get $100. A positive number means if you bet $100 you would win that amount; if you bet $100 on Pittsburgh and they won you would get $115. I have the Packers as about a 53/47 favorite, so it’s a close call. Given that it’s the Super Bowl and you have to pick, I would go with the Steelers. Mario thinks the Steelers are a bit of a better pick than Luigi does.
Spread: The Packers are at -3 and even right now; I saw them at +105 earlier. If you forgot how the spread works, you add or subtract the points to the final score and if the team you picked would still win, you win. In this case if you took the Packers they would need to win by more than 3 points; if they won by 3 exactly you would ‘push’ and your bet would be returned. If the Steelers lose by 1 or 2 or win, they would cover the spread and be the winning bet. Luigi thinks the -3 is just about right if the Packers were at home; given that it’s a neutral field I would go with the Steelers to cover. Mario feels similarly.
Simmons: Bill hid his pick in one of his mail bags (head all the way to the bottom). He’s taking Green Bay to win by 10 in a high-scoring game. So that’s roughly the opposite of what I’m predicting (well, not what the models predict per se but what I’m hoping based on the bet predictions). If I mix two of my predictions (the spread and the total) to get a final score prediction, it would be something like Green Bay 23 Steelers 21. Note that I would never actually predict that score to happen; 23 is kind of unusual. Instead since I’m leaning towards the Steelers as the better bet, I will make an optimistic prediction of Steelers 24 Packers 21.