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Wed, 09 Mar 2011 03:26 AM EST

The 2006 Super Bowl run by Pittsburgh was the game that dramatically changed the route to becoming a champion in the NFL. That was the first time a No. 6 seed emerged to win the Lombardi Trophy. Since then we have seen Wild Card teams Indianapolis & the Giants win titles. Two years ago, we saw a team that won just nine games in the regular season come within seconds of winning the Super Bowl. While the Cardinals lost in heartbreaking fashion, they still managed to cover the point spread, again defying all that we had come to learn about Super Bowl handicapping prior to ’06. This has naturally made it difficult on handicappers who rely on such things as strength ratings, and past templates that have demonstrated the best teams excelling when it mattered most, the playoffs. Order was restored briefly to the NFL playoff system last year, as two No. 1 seeds—New Orleans and Indianapolis—met for the first time in 16 years. But we now once again face a Super Bowl that includes a No. 6 seed, this time representing the NFC. And like the last time a No. 6 seed reached the Super Bowl—the aforementioned Steelers in 2006—the No. 6 seed is the favorite. Las Vegas odds.

With that cautionary note out of the way, here are some historical Super Bowl trends, stats and other tidbits that you can either use to handicap Sunday’s game—or, at the very least, offer up at your parties to show off in front of game-watching friends. While on that subject, you can start off by “wow-ing” your company with this bit of interesting Super Bowl history: In the last 10 Super Bowl games, there have been 10 different NFC representatives, but just four from the AFC. Enjoy the trends, where appropriate we will give the most recent game trend.

  • Favorites in the Super Bowl are 30-14 SU and own an ATS mark of 21-20-3 (51.2%). However, over the past nine years, the underdog owns a 7-2 ATS (77.8%) edge. The only two favorites to win and cover in that span were Indy in ’07 and Pittsburgh in ’06.
  • Favorites of a touchdown or more are 3-2 SU but 0-4-1 ATS (0%) since the millennium. This year’s line didn’t come anywhere near that high, but it’s still noteworthy. NFL scores.
  • The straight-up winner is 35-6-3 ATS (85%) in the 44 previous Super Bowls, but just 4-3 ATS the past seven years.
  • The NFC holds a 23-21 SU and 23-18-3 (56%) ATS edge all time, and is on a 3-5 SU but 6-2 ATS run since Tampa Bay’s win over Oakland in ’03.
  • The team that is the higher, or better, playoff seed was just 1-11-2 ATS (8.3%) in the 14 Super Bowl games heading into last season! Last year’s Super Bowl didn’t factor into this because both Indianapolis and New Orleans were No. 1 seeds out of their respective conferences. So this could be our golden nugget with Green Bay entering as a No. 6 seed and Pittsburgh a No. 2.
  • The team with the better record going in to the game is 28-13 SU. (Note: three times the teams had identical won-loss marks.)
  • In terms of scoring, the average winning score is 30.1 PPG, with the average losing score being 15.4 PPG, an average winning margin 14.7 PPG. The Giants of 2008 became the first team in 33 years to win the Super Bowl without hitting the 20-point mark. Vegas odds.
  • There have been 17 previous Super Bowl teams that have failed to reach the 14-point mark. Their record: 0-17 SU & ATS (0%).
  • There have been 2,002 total points scored in Super Bowls for an average of 45.5 PPG. Over the last six years, however, that figure is just 41.8 despite the fact that the game has featured such high-powered offenses as Peyton Manning’s Colts (twice), Kurt Warner’s Cardinals, Drew Brees’ Saints and Tom Brady’s record-breaking Patriots team that entered Super Bowl XLII with an 18-0 record. Last year’s game had the highest ever total at 56.5 but ended up being the fifth time in six years that the game went UNDER.

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