Against the Spread: 2012 NFL Super Bowl XLVI Pick
From one perspective, I'm in a pretty good position. Even if I pick wrong this week, I will finish the playoffs with a winning record. My playoff record is a decent 6-4, a nice turnaround after going 1-3 in the Divisional round. But that's in the past. It's time for Super Bowl XLVI, a rematch between my hometown New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
I'm actually in New York this week for work typing this, being constantly reminded of the Giants victory parade up Broadway four years ago, when they defeated the Patriots despite being double-digit underdogs in Super Bowl XLII. As a Patriots fan living in a different city, it was tough to stomach.
I am much more worried this year than I was four years ago. Even though the Patriots are favored in this game by only a field goal, nearly everyone I've heard from or read or talked to is picking the Giants to not only cover but to win outright. As it turns out, so much is different from just four short years ago.
"When these two teams met in Super Bowl XLII, New England's vaunted offense 'featured' Kyle Brady and Ben Watson as its tight ends," says Paul Bessire, the general manager and creator of the Web site PredictionMachine.com. His model is a quantitative way to break down NFL games as it simulates each contest 50,000 times to come up with a pick against the spread.
"New York's offense included Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith and David Tyree at the wide receiver position," Bessire adds. "These are two very different teams." This is the ninth year Bessire has used his model to pick the Super Bowl result against the spread. He's undefeated thus far.
Bessire points out that this is the seventh Super Bowl all-time with exactly a 3-point line, the first since the Giants and Baltimore Ravens played more than a decade ago. In those previous six matchups with a line of 3 points, none resulted in a push.