The New England Patriots and the New York Giants are set to square off in NFL playoff betting action in Super Bowl 46 at Lucas Oil Field. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Saturday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel! See also our Superbowl 46 – Giants vs Patriots Pick here.
New England Patriots Notes: The Patriots really had to survive just to make this point in the playoffs. They were virtually always the favorites to win the AFC this year, and they made it stand up. It wasn’t always easy though, as they only finally beat their first team that finished the season above .500 this year last week against the Baltimore Ravens. New England really hasn’t proven that it can beat the fantastic teams though, as it still only has one cover in the playoffs dating back through the 2007 season in which the team was 18-0 before losing right here in the Super Bowl on the precipice of the second perfect season in NFL history. The Pats are now just 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS against teams that finished the year above .500, and though they aren’t necessarily going to have to cover the spread to win the Super Bowl, it isn’t all that often that a team wins the Super Bowl that it doesn’t cover. This could be a tremendous trend to watch as the days count down to the biggest game of the year.
QB Tom Brady really hasn’t played that well against teams that have finished above .500 over the course of the last few seasons. Last week, his only touchdown came as a rusher, and he was picked off twice by the Ravens, which really put a damper on the fact that he tossed an NFL record-tying six TDs the week before against the Denver Broncos. Brady struggled throughout the whole postseason of the not-so-perfect 18-1 season, and really since that point, he just hasn’t been able to get the job done. Now, he is going to be facing a secondary that has been ripe for the taking, but his big problem has been his offensive line, which hasn’t always been able to protect him.
Part of the problem with the O-Line is that Nate Solder has been in the lineup in place of Sebastian Vollmer. Vollmer is still dealing with injuries to his back and his foot, and he is still very much so up in the air for the Super Bowl. The big injury is to TE Rob Gronkowski, who is clearly the biggest threat that the team has near the end zone. He is currently in a walking boot with an ankle injury and isn’t practicing, making him questionable for Super Bowl Sunday. WR Chad Ochocinco missed the AFC Championship Game due to the death of his father, but there is no reason to believe that he won’t be back in the fold for the title game.
New York Giants Notes: It’s hard to believe that the Giants really might have been the best team in the NFC this year. Their inconsistencies were always mind-boggling, and there were some games that were lost that just made you shake your head. However, we also know that New York played a brutal schedule chock full of tremendous teams, and to think that now, after beating the top two teams in the NFC on the road in consecutive weeks, that it is in the Super Bowl is astounding. It looks exactly like what the team did a few years ago when it won the Super Bowl over none other than these Patriots. The G-Men had their backs against the wall, and then figured out ways to not only get in the playoffs, but get on a roll when they got there. New York has covered five games in a row and seven straight against teams with a winning record. It is also 8-1 ATS in its last nine road games, including going a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS in the playoffs in 2008. The G-Men are also 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 games as underdogs of a field goal or fewer.
If there is a real issue here for New York, it is this offensive line. This unit caused QB Eli Manning to get sacked six times in the NFC Championship Game, and he was knocked down 16 times on the day. Manning has no choice but to throw the ball because the O-Line isn’t opening up holes for RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs as it normally does. In all likelihood, Manning is going to have to throw the ball at least 40-45 times to win this game, and if that isn’t the case, that probably means that the O-Line has done its job in the ground game as well. Manning has to stay clean and there has to at least be a threat of a rushing game, or the New England defense is just going to zone in on the pass and probably destroy the Giants.
Of course, Stacy Andrews and William Beatty are both on IR, which has killed the offensive line down the stretch this season. LBs Chase Blackburn and Mark Herzlich are both listed as questionable with injuries to a shoulder and ankle respectively, while RB Da’Rel Scott has a knee injury that is worth noting. Aside from that, there aren’t any major issues for Head Coach Tom Coughlin and company, and we expect to see basically a full side on the field on Super Bowl Sunday, save for the few that are on IR, most of which haven’t been with the team for at least a month and a half.
Head To Head: These two teams met this year in the regular season, and New York became the first team to beat Brady at Gillette Stadium in a half decade. The 24-20 win was the biggest of the season for the G-Men, and it was arguably their biggest win since winning the Super Bowl as 12.5 point underdogs four years ago against these Pats. New England does own a 4-2 SU edge in the series since 1997, but the Giants are 5-1 ATS in those six games as well.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.