If your non-profit NFL pool extends through the playoffs, take Pittsburgh Steelers -7 on Super Sunday.
Through 42 Super Bowls to date, favourites have overcome the points half the time in 21 games. 2 matches have ended tied on points. 5 times the overdog has won the score line, but lost the bet on points. And, the underdog has won 14 previous Super Bowls outright.
To sum up, overdogs have won 2 out of every 3 Super Bowls even up. So far, only 7 of 42 Super Bowls have turned on points, which is a touch below the 1 in 5 average for regular season games.
So, I'm going with the Steelers –7 based on evidence (albeit not significant in the statistical sense) that fewer Super Bowls and playoff games in general turn on points than is the case for regular season games. Oddsmakers and their foolish customers may not fully account for the fact that winning teams go all out to put away opponents in elimination games.
But, check out Freakonomics author Professor Steven Levitt's case for picking the Super Bowl underdog every year because Super Sunday bettors are less sophisticated than regular season punters and overvalue overdogs even more than regular season bettors.
Playoff results so far:
I don't take game analysis seriously, but will pass on former Godiva toy boy Reginald's argument that Steelers -7 against the Cardinals looks to be a bargain. By kickoff, the Eagles were favoured by 4 in Arizona. Before the conference championship games, would we have valued the Eagles and Steelers as roughly even? Reginald thinks not and is backing the Steelers with as much of his exotic dancer girlfriend's assets as he can lay his hands on. Also, since the NFL moved to a 16-game season, no team has won the Super Bowl with less than 10 wins in the regular season -- another sign pointing against 9-7 Arizona.
Archibald's NBA Projections
Having given space to Reginald, I must allow equal time to reigning Godiva toy boy Archibald. (Don't be jealous of Reginald, Archibald. You know you've got my heart, soul and, of most importance to you, my body, you handsome devil.) Archibald claims to have a statistical package for making NBA projections. Based on data to the halfway point of the season, expect the following:
Cleveland will defeat Lakers in the NBA Final.
Boston and Denver will lose at the Final Four stage.
Surprise teams making the playoffs: Indy and Toronto.
Biggest steal of 2008: Denver getting Chauncey Billups from Detroit in return for Allan Iverson. (Honourable mention: Bernard Madoff hedge fund.)