In my January Athlete of the Month post, I began rolling out some of my pre-blog archives (archives being the word I'm using to describe a literal lifetime of inveterate list-making; I was not so much for the playing with the other children, but I sure liked composing a list of the Ten Best Happy Days Episodes during recess; were I a couple of decades younger, I would have lived entirely a virtual life, unencumbered by human interaction; this either would make me perfectly suited to earn a living writing the blogs that instead I do entirely for free - or would mean I would have flunked out of undergrad and be working part time at a baseball card shop) to list my 1990 Athletes of the Week/Month/Year.
Another list I keep is my prediction on the point spread outcome of every Super Bowl since 1990. I became aware of the point spread over ten years earlier; I got into a pretty good shouting match when I was nine over a disputed call in a Steeler/Oiler Monday Night game that cost me five dollars; how did a nine year old go about understanding the betting line on a football game? Have you met my mother?
But I've only kept the records for the past 20 Super Bowls.
Here are the salient details.
A. I've lost 4 straight. I had the outright winner last year and in 2007, but not with the number.
B. I've taken some pretty solid beatings on Super Sunday this century. I had the Rams giving -14 to the Pats, the Raiders giving 4 to the Bucs, and the Pats giving a dozen to New York.
C. I am, sort of remarkably given the context of this season, dead at .500. 9-9-2 picking the last 20 super Bowls. I say that because, picking every game this year and the first two rounds of the playoffs - I was exactly .500. I won both conference championship games, including getting the NFC both right straight up (Saints) and against the number (taking 3 1/2 and the Vikes).
That victory means I'm over level for the season regardless of the outcome of the game - but wouldn't that be a helluva thing - if not only were I playing to nudge over .500 for the year - but for my lifetime of making Super Bowl picks as well (this is really far fetched, as the first Super Bowl I ever picked was 32 years ago, but, for the sake of the story, and because I don't have a piece of paper to attest otherwise, we're going to start with 1990.)
I picked this year's game back in Sunday's Tendown. I'm going to copy it below, but first, some additional thoughts:
I see more running in this game than the public thinks - the Saints were 5th in the NFL in carries and defensively they don't put up much fight against the run, so it makes sense for both sides to put a little less air in the ball than the public believes it will see.
The total 56.5, will be the highest over/under at kickoff in SB history. I see three currents that you might be able to swim against (1) the Manning narrative; the overarching story during the run to the game is Manning's place in QB history; there's a lot of public belief that he's going to have one of those Montana 4 TD games (2) the Saints gave up 500 yards to the Vikes and (3) everyone watches the SB, people like to see points - so they're betting on the game they want to see.
So - I like the under.
And then I like some of the inflated numbers that go with that under.
Total completions for Brees - under 24.5
Total attempts for Brees - under 35.5
Additional props I like:
-Shots on TV of Archie Manning over 2.5
-Shots on TV of Eli Manning over 2.5
-Will there be 3 consecutive scores by one team - yes
-Will there be a touchdown of over 51.5 yards - No
-Robert Meachem over 3 receptions
-Jeremy Shockey under 3.5 receptions
-Will Darren Sharper intercept a pass - No
Finally, Pierre Garcon is 15-1 to win MVP; given the Haiti situation, if he scores a couple of TDs I think a tie between he and Manning is in the cards. That's worth a flyer.
That's 10 bets beyond the side and total. If you also play Colts on the moneyline, that's 13. 13 plays!
You win, consider the tip jar. What's a better deal than that?
Here's the pick from Sunday:
Last Week, I gave you both conference championship winners - both straight up and against the number, and that required a little needle threading, as I had to pick the Saints outright - but the Vikes plus the 3 1/2. And as you can read, I did.
So, while I was dead at .500 for the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, I was a little better than that this week.
Which is why it's here as one of the best elements of the week. Because I like to be right (I also picked Colts/Saints at the top of the playoffs to make the SB) more than I like to be anything (I'd trade right for wealthy; you can pick any belief I've ever offered, if you want to trade it for real money, I'm open to discussion. Yup, that's where we are in 2010).
And I have a Super Bowl pick.
And here it is.
Colts to win. Saints to cover. I'm threading the needle again.
Colts are the better team, but just by a little bit, one point, two points - after the conference title games I thought 4 would be the number, that anything under 4 and I take the Colts, anything over four and I take the Saints.
Right now, Sunday afternoon, one week before kick, the number is 5 1/2.
Take it. (I mean, if you have to play; if you don't, don't play, it's just one game. Play season long win totals instead; if you pay attention when I do my preseason picks - in baseball, NBA, NFL, you'll see that I give suggestions about which win totals I most like - go back if you're inclined to those picks, from MLB in 2009 to NFL and NBA right now - and NCAAF too, you'll see real success, real demonstrable success, in the totals where I say I have the most confidence - really, this past year I have had a nearly perfect, in fact, maybe a completely perfect, mark. So, don't play the SB.)
But if you have to play, play the dog. Let the public bet Manning. Play the dog. And if it climbs to 7, then, even if you don't play, that becomes a really attractive number.
Or - ignore the game altogether and watch the Super Bowl as directed by Tarantino.