Super Bowl Spread: Why Points Will Be at a Premium for Giants and Patriots

Eric Ball@@BigLeagueEballFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Jason Pierre-Paul #90 and Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants react afetr they sacked Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers in the second half during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Sometimes a spread jumps out off the page as a must-play. It happens all the time in the regular season…but in the Super Bowl?

The over/under total of 55 is far too high for a Super Bowl game. The score could be 28-26 and the under would still win. Six of the last seven Super Bowls have featured less than 55 points and the lone exception was the 56-point combined effort of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers last year.

Then there is the history between these two teams.

First of all there is a very recent history between these two teams. In Week 9 of the regular season the Giants beat the Pats 24-20 for a point total of 44, a full 11 points under the total. The score was 0-0 at the half as the Giants pass rush forced Tom Brady into throwing two interceptions.

The last time they met before that was in the ’08 Super Bowl, which was a 17-14 Giants win dominated by the defenses. Going back to 1987, only one Giants-Patriots game was over 55 total points.

So what’s changed?

The Patriots rely on their tight ends more often and don’t have Randy Moss.  The Giants rely less on their running game and more on their stud receivers.

Certainly both offenses are strong, but so are the defenses. Neither unit has allowed over 20 points in the postseason. 

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots pressures Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

The Pats pass defense has suddenly turned into a unit that surrenders 227 per game in the playoffs after giving up almost 300 yards a game in the regular season. The return of Patrick Chung and the resurgence of Vince Wilfork have made all the difference in the world.

As for the Giants, they possess the best pass rush in the league and all of them are healthy. They made Matt Ryan and Alex Smith look like college QBs, and they were the first team to limit the production of Aaron Rodgers in two years.

While Pats -2.5 is a spread that will bring in money on both sides, it’s clear through statistics and history that 55 total points is far too much for a game where nerves are going to be a huge factor.

The regular season may have been the year of the QB, but the playoffs have reminded us all that defense wins championships.

Trends to Consider:

Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

Under is 5-1 in Giants last 6 games overall.

Under is 4-1 in Giants last 5 games following a S.U. win.

Under is 8-2 in Giants last 10 playoff games.

Under is 4-1 in Giants last 5 games following a ATS win.

Under is 4-1 in Giants last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.


 Prediction: Giants 26 Patriots 24