Thursday, February 3, 2011
I picked the game early, in my Sunday post, which you can read here. My thoughts are unchanged.
I'm 8-2 ATS in the playoffs, 7-3 straight up. My predictions prior to the start of the playoffs were Patriots/Packers; my pre-season prediction was Colts/Packers. Last year, I took the Saints plus the number, but the Colts to win the game.
I've been doing some Super Bowl lists this week, to which you can get here. One more list, where I re-award each SB MVP Award is tomorrow, assuming I actually write it.
Here's the pick.
Steelers +3. Packers straight up.
I'm for the Packers, they're a non-profit, publicly owned team - let's say you're one of my lefty/pop-culture/let's talk about Toddlers & Tiaras readers - you have no interest in football, but it's the Super Bowl and, like a Papal selection, you have to pick a side. Your favorite team is the Packers; they're the least evil empirish team in the NFL. You can root for them with less chance of finding out they donated your merchandise money to some candidate trying to take away Medicare than any other team in the league.
Now, I'm for the Packers because I'm in the Niner legacy protection business, so my postseason choices for the past decade have largely been limited to which team I need to lose the least. Here, I need the Steelers to lose- their aggregate total is now past our 5 SB Titles, and this would be a third for Roethlisberger, putting him uncomfortably close to St. Joe.
And they might win - this is a really tight Super Bowl, by all of the advanced metrics. Here's an example - pythagorean win/loss, which I'm using for a boatload of list, is the record you'd expect a team to have based on its points scored/points allowed, compared to the rest of the league. It's crude, but useful, and I've spent lots of time with it in recent months.
Green Bay and Pittsburgh, by pythagorean record, both went 12.1-3.9 this season.
In SB history - here's the list of opponents who had the same pythag going into their matchup:
SB17 -That was the first Skins win, when they beat Miami. That was the short season, barely more than half a regular season played, so much easier to have a dead heat.
SB22 - This was the second Skins win, when they beat Denver. This was the replacement player season, so the regular season records of these teams was the least reflective of any in SB history.
That's it. That's the list.
I'm willing to say, flatly, this is the tightest matchup in SB history.
That doesn't mean it's a close game. The Redskins won both SB17 and 22 going away.
But it means you shouldn't be surprised by a win from either team.
You have to take the points; the only reason the Packers are favored is they're an even more public team than the Steelers, why you're getting those 3 points is that's what gets equal action by the public. It's a gift. The only good way to read this game, other than absolute guesswork, is that it's even; a combination of Steeler injuries and my desire to root against Pittsburgh leads me to the gun to my head Packer win, but there's just no way you should be giving points (and 3 is a decent amount; it allows you to buy a half point, which, if you're playing the Steelers, I would strongly encourage as the number I generally like to take is 3 1/2) in a game this tightly matched.
So, that's the pick. Steelers plus the number. Packers to win.
(If you've got to play the total, go under the 45, again, you're playing the public - and there's no game the public wants to see points in more than the SB. It isn't a great play, but if you were playing, it's under. Play under 44.5 for game's longest TD for the same reason. There's never been an ovetime game in the SB, so even though it's a really expensive play, it's probably free money. Consider under 75.5 rushing yards for Mendenhall, under 39.5 receiving yards for Ward, over 38.5 receiving yards for Miller, under 49.5 rushing yards for Starks)