Why are the Patriots favored? The Giants struggled during the regular season, but the regular season is over. They dominated the Falcons, dominated the Packers, and won a tough game on the road against a 13-win 49er team. The Giants are tested, they've beat teams on the road, and they've beat the best teams. By any measure, the Patriots cannot claim that same thing. Including the playoffs, the Patriots only have 1 win against a team with a winning record and an argument can be made, they should have lost that one (Ravens) also. In their 3 toughest games (Steelers & Giants regular season, Ravens in the playoffs), Brady passed for 259 yards per game with 4 touchdowns/4 interceptions (1/1 ratio); he averaged 337 yards per game with 41 TD/11 TD (almost 4/1). The Patriots record is deceiving, they have a track record of their offense struggling against the better teams.
I'm not saying the Giants will shut down the Patriots, but if you had to pick one defense capable of making plays to win this game, you'd have to pick the Giants defense. During the Giants 5 game winning streak, including the playoffs, their defense is only allowing an average of 215 passing yards per game. I don't think that means that their secondary has improved a great deal, more likely its proof to the effect that their pass rush is having on their opponents. In nickel situations, which they'll likely face quite a bit against New England, they have the ability to put 7 guys in coverage and still get a pass rush with just 4 rushers. By moving Justin Tuck inside and moving Mathias Kiwanuka to the line, they have a front four that's nearly impossible to block. The Patriots could try to counter that by leaving in a tight end to chip, but that would take two of their best receivers out of their normal pattern, and it's not like their other opponents haven't tried that. Brady is one of the least mobile QB's in the league and if the Giants get the sort of pass rush on him that I expect them too, they'll completely disrupt the Patriots game-plan; much like they did in their last Super Bowl meeting.
On the Giants offense, Eli Manning threw for 316 yards with 2 TD/0 INT, on the road, in bad weather, while being hit over 30 times by the 49ers defense. Manning is playing the best football of his career right now, so this week in a dome, against a team with no pass rush and a WR playing defensive back, what do you think Manning will pass for? The Giants offense is balanced with their running backs finally healthy, and I don't see a way for the Patriots to stop their passing attack. Against the Giants, the Patriots 31st ranked pass defense faces two receivers (Nicks/Cruz) that combined for 2,728 receiving yards during the regular season; the Giants should be able to move the ball at will.
Is the Patriots offense better than the Giants offense? Maybe, but they don't face each other. The Giants get to face the Patriots 31st ranked pass defense with no pass rush, whereas the Patriots have to face a top 3 pass rush in the Giants defense; advantage Giants.
There are hundreds of prop bets each year for the Super Bowl. The books have to devote most of their time to setting the overall line and the over/under mark, so there are usually some questionable prop bets that you can take advantage of; here are my favorites.
What will be higher?
BenJarvus Green-Ellis Rushing yards
Mitt Romney Vote Share in Nevada Primary
Romney has topped out at around 40%. To beat the Giants pass rush, I see them focusing on the run early and getting BJGE 50 yards at least.
What will Kelly Clarkson wear to sing the National Anthem?
The choices are Super Bowl/Official NFL shirt, Patriots jersey, Giants jersey, Colts jersey, or anything else.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't see her wearing any NFL gear. I'd say 0% on Patriots/Giants; anything else is a huge favorite and I agree. It's a lock.
Who will have more receptions?
Cruz had 3 more catches in the regular season, so by that measure it's a close bet. However, I see Cruz as the top target for the Giants, whereas Hernandez is likely at best the Patriots 3rd target behind Welker and Gronkowski. In the conference title games, Cruz had 10 catches to 7 from Hernandez; I'm going with Cruz.
Will Kelly Clarkson's bare belly be showing while she sings the National Anthem?
I hope not, but really, she doesn't strike me as that type of performer. I'll bet on a covered belly.
LeBron James Points vs. Eli Manning completions
LeBron James assists vs. Wes Welker catches
The Heat are playing Toronto, I'll take LeBron on both.
More rushing yards
Laurence Maroney from Super Bowl 42 (36 yards)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis this year
I see BJGE getting at least 45-50 yards, take the law firm.