Super Bowl 42 NFL Spread Pick

The Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the perfect New England Patriots will be on Feb. 3, 2008 at Arizona. The spread stands at 11 on some websites and up to 12 on others favoring the Patriots. It is a hard bet to place because New England is unbeatable, but in the past 8 games they have only covered the spread once averaging 7 points under the spread. The Giants are 10-0 on the road and they are 7-1 ATS in the past 8 games averaging 6.6 points above the spread. So clearly, the spread has been underrating the Giants offense and overestimating the Patriots' strength. What does that tell us?

Not much, yet. One could argue that, for this game, the spread has adjusted for these biases (leading to a Patriots pick) or that this trend will continue (leading to a Giants pick). Below is a graph of these spread trends for both teams:

To avoid my emotions and trend biases from hurting my Super Bowl pick, I consulted my statistical model as I always do. This model is built in the following way: 1) considers offensive and defensive strength patterns, 2) builds team rankings according to historical scores, 3) adds a home field advantage, 4) creates an unbiased prediction of the spread, and 5) creates a prediction confidence or probability if you will (compares this prediction and the current spread to its performance in the past). A bet or wager (and the amount) is placed depending on the confidence of the prediction. Below is a graph of the offensive strength of these two teams in the past 8 games. It shows the Giants very effective running game and the Patriots #1 passing game:

Super Bowl Pick
For the Super Bowl, the home field advantage was removed, i.e. I subtracted the 2.7 points the model was giving to the home team. The model results are not as opportunistic as I have seen in other situations. Still, there is a slight advantage for the Giants to keep the Patriots close enough from the 11.5 spread we currently have (that would lead me to wager a lesser amount in order to keep my winning returns over 100% for the year, money management mumbo jumbo). The model predicts the game will end with the Patriots winning by 9 points. That is 2.5 points below the spread. For the previous 10 years, this situation (where the spread is more than 9 for a team, but the prediction is 2.5 points less) 57% of the time it has predicted this correctly. The majority is favoring the Giants and the line has dropped significantly. I do not like bets where I side with the majority, but my trading plan does not allow me to go against my predictions.

Below is the table I usually display with picks and past performance:

Giants +11.5
Good luck and go Giants!