Recommended Bets – RAVENS FIRST TO 10PTS @ 6/5, 3rd QUARTER OVER 10PTS @ 11/10, TOTAL POINTS UNDER 48.5PTS @10/11
A team that changed its quarterback midway through the season up against a side with an old aged, crocked defence that wouldn’t be able to last the whole campaign, let alone a post season roll into the play-offs!
Yet surprisingly the 49ers and the Ravens have overcome both of those potential negatives to take up their rightful places in the big match up on for Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday February 3rd. Some would say that both the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons blew away their chance of a Super Bowl appearance after leading their respective Championship matches, but that only serves to suggest the mental strength of their victors, especially the 49ers, is huge and therefore neither team should be written off in the big match up should they fall some way behind. Remember SF rank third in the league for second half performances with a staggering +77 points aggregate in this time period.
The opening salvos on the handicap ‘line’ are that San Francisco have been made 4.5 point favourites and that would appear to be just about right if you are of the opinion, like me, that the boys from the west have the better balanced and stronger all round set-up. It’s too easy to say where the major match-ups are in this intriguing Super Bowl because there are at least 10 that I can identify, but some are more important than others and for me the number one factor has to be the rush. It’s in this area that SF are the most difficult side to defend against out of all 32 franchises in the NFL.
Frank Gore has been their mainstay on the ground and so far in the play-offs he has run for 209 yards with the bonus being three touchdowns. During the regular season that made the 49ers the fourth ranked rushing attack averaging 94.2 yards per game on the rush. The problem for the Ravens is that this is no one man team in that arena, because even if they deal with the clever Gore they then have to stop the alternative which no other team has in the NFL to the same degree as San Fran do, namely the ultra-flexible quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The young QB has now rushed for over 400 yards this season culminating in five touchdowns. He runs great lines, is quick off the mark when he realises all his receivers are covered and doesn’t mind getting the odd knock or two when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of making the enzone. He is basically the most exciting QB to emerge in his rookie season probably in the last 20 years of NFL and remember this season has seen plenty of new players in that category so he has to be something very special.
The other factor that points to this being an area that SF can exploit even further is that Baltimore have been ineffective in stopping the run this year having given up an average of 122 plus yards per game. Even if Ray Lewis were at the height of his powers it may change those figures somewhat, but he is truly in the dusk of his career and speed and power have quite obviously waned this season.
With the 49ers traditional slow start to most games it seems obvious to expect them to be odds-against to hit the 10 point marker first, but they are odds-ont so 6/5 on the Ravens seems an option worthy of consideration. I am also interested at this early stage in the third quarter total points which is traditionally when both these teams let their hair down and also when seven of the last 10 Super Bowls have really sparked into action. That makes the 11/10 for more than 10 points look very interesting.
It’s easy to see this turning into a brutal and physical battle and the total points markets could look a bit wayward. Of course history tells us that points are put on the board in the big match with seven of the last 10 Super Bowls going over 45 points, but unless we get a tearaway early lead the odds much surely be in favour of going lower this time around. So under 48.5pts at 10/11 looks a fair assessment of the set ups of both sides.
There is still over a week to go before the big event so I will update this column as more markets become available, so as they say watch this space.
BET NOW – RAVENS FIRST TO 10PTS
BET NOW – 3RD QUARTER OVER 10PTS
BET NOW – UNDER 48.5 TOTAL POINTS