Super Bowl Line: Narrow Spread Makes the New England Patriots the Smarter Pick

Thad NovakCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to throw against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After spending much of the season enjoying double-digit advantages on the betting line, the New England Patriots look to be in for a dogfight in Super Bowl XLVI. As noted on, the Pats are favored by a mere three points over the upstart Giants in Sunday’s championship game.

As hot as New York has been in the postseason, it’s little wonder that the Giants are expected to give Tom Brady and company all they can handle. That said, the fact that the spread is such a tight one makes the Patriots a better pick than usual for bettors.

With a more exaggerated spread, picking the underdog provides two options for success: the less-heralded team can actually win, or they can make it a closer game than the line suggests. Football’s scoring being what it is, though, expecting a closer game than three points is asking to be disappointed.

That situation turns a Super Bowl bet into a pick ‘em situation, and there’s much less benefit to going with the underdog under those conditions. It’s one thing to posit that the Giants are better than their 9-7 record (which they almost certainly are), but it’s quite another to posit that they’re good enough to beat the Patriots when Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for them.

There’s also the consideration that a close game is much more likely to favor New York. If the game is decided by a TD or two, it’ll probably be the Patriots’ superior firepower that comes out on top.

There are no sure things when it comes to picking the Super Bowl (against the spread or otherwise), but with such a slim margin the Patriots look like the way to go for this game.