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The two week NFL hiatus is finally over and Super Bowl XXXVIII is upon us.  Every media outlet from Sports Illustrated to Women’s Wear Daily has had its take on what will happen this Sunday evening.

Here in the Capper’s Corner, I want to take a moment to thank the readers for their support this season.  I hope I’ve been able to provide a few laughs, some useful insight and a little profit.  If you’ve followed my picks, you should be a little ahead for the season.  We got a bit of a late start, and hopefully next season we can get together again and put a few internet betting sites in dire financial straits.  I also want to thank for giving me a forum.  Let’s hope it’s the beginning of a long and successful partnership.  And with that, let’s take a look at the game.

Before we get too far into it, I want to give a word of warning about the Super Bowl.  Yes, it is the most hyped sporting event in the United States, if not the world (with apologies to the World Cup.)  Millions of dollars will be wagered this week, both legally and illegally.  That is what I wanted to mention.  It’s still JUST a football game.  Each week we have looked for an edge here or there to give us that little extra info we need to turn a quick buck.  There is nothing magic about the Super Bowl.  Nobody should bet their entire bankroll on the game just because the word “Super” is attached to it.  In fact, instead of placing so much emphasis on the side and total themselves, I thought this week we would first focus on a few of the more interesting proposition bets that always are available for this game.

Here we go….

The coin toss

Every game starts with a coin toss, and in the Super Bowl you can bet on it.  You can bet on which team will win it, or you can bet on which side will come up.  Of course there is no real value in this bet.  It’s a true 50-50 proposition.  I coached little league football for seven years, and I ALWAYS called TAILS, so that is my pick here.

Here are a few more intriguing choices:

Will there be a score in the First 6 mins 59 secs of the game?

NO   1.9091
YES 1.9091

This is one of my favorite wagers.  NFL teams are notorious for trying to establish the running game early and I have won a goodly amount of money betting on the “no” proposition this season.  With two strong defenses, and especially if Carolina gets the ball first, this is easy money.  Play NO.

Total field goal yardage:

135 Total Yards or More
0 - 89 Total Yards2.45
90 - 134 Total Yards2.65

Once again, defense will be at a premium in this game and unless turnovers cause a rout as it did last year, conservative strategy will abound.  We have two very talented and consistent kickers going here.  I see about five field goals at least being scored in this game, and figuring them to average around 30 yards each shows that the OVER 135 Total yards is the play here.

First team to punt

Carolina Panthers 1.743
New England Patriots 2.2

This wager will be predicated on who gets the ball first, because I don’t see anybody jumping out to quick lead in the game.  Since the value is on the Patriots at better than two to one, I’d go with that.

Player to complete more passes

Tom Brady (NE) -4 1.7693
Jake Delhomme +4  2.2307

Once again, this will depend on how the game plays out.  If you believe the Panthers will be able to move the ball on the ground against New England, then I would be all over Brady on this.  The Pats WILL throw the ball regardless of success on the ground.  I’d play BRADY.

Total Number of Coaches Challenges

TWO 2.75
THREE 3.75

There are some decent odds on this wager.  Of course, you have only a 20% chance of getting it right.  Only four challenges are allowed total.  Given the stakes, I’d probably go with TWO challenges.

Any Punt to be Returned for a Touchdown

Yes  17:1

Note that there isn’t a “NO” option on this bet.  That’s because it has never happened in the history of the Super Bowl.  Neither of these teams is necessarily that adept in the return game, so I’d PASS on this one.

Will either team have three consecutive scores?  (TDs, FGs, Safeties only)

Yes  Even (-200)
No   Even  (+160)

Always a tricky proposition.  Let’s say a team scores a TD in the second quarter, and then gets a late field goal at the end of the half and also gets the ball to start the third quarter.  That’s about the only way I see this happening.  My play will be on NO.

Total penalties both teams combined

OVER 11  (-110)
UNDER 11  (-120)

I like this one.  We have two fairly disciplined teams and a group of officials that would rather have to call the game naked than make a call that cost one team or other the title.  I’m playing the UNDER.

Super Bowl XXXVIII: TV Ratings

OVER 41.5% 1.8333
UNDER 41.5% 1.833

I don’t claim to know anything about TV ratings, but I do know that the Super Bowl is the highest rated show every year.  Only once in the last 30 some odd years has the rating dipped below 40, and that game was a 55-10 blowout.  I expect a hard fought game that may go down to who wants it more in the fourth quarter.  Give a slight edge to the OVER.

Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime TV Ratings: Which show will receive higher ratings?

CBS Halftime Show 1.2
Lingerie Bowl 4

See the Capper’s Corner Special edition on the Lingerie Bowl.

Will there be a score within the final 3 mins of the game?

YES 1.8333
NO 2

Doubtful.  There may not be a score in the previous 57 minutes either.  My guess is defense will rule this game.  That doesn’t mean there won’t be any scoring, but it does mean that every score will have to be earned.  If a team has the lead and the ball late, you can bet they will sit on it. I’d go with NO.

Let’s see…  Have I forgotten anything?  Oh yeah.

Carolina (+7)  vs  New England  o/u  38

This line opened at seven 11 days ago and hasn’t moved.  That means Vegas is satisfied that they have set it just about where it belongs and action is coming in on both sides at a decent clip.  This is a “feel” game.  I honestly believe that the Patriots are a much more talented team overall, but Carolina seems to possess some intangibles that lead me to believe that they can make a game of it.  One thing I am expecting, and I hope I am wrong about this, is a major defensive struggle.  As I sat through the yawner between Philly and Carolina two weeks ago, I was already figuring that anything over 34 on the total of the Super Bowl was going to be a gift.  A lot of would be prognosticators are calling for a New England blowout in this game.  I’m going the other way.   I am not going to predict that Carolina will pull the upset, although I believe that is infinitely possible, but I do believe they can stay within the number.  Take the PANTHERS plus the points and the edge goes to the UNDER 38.

For The Record:
Dana Harris' Best Bets ATS:
Last week:    (1 - 1 - 0)
YTD:           (33 - 30 - 4)

Questions/comments/tomato throwing may be directed to
Super Bowl XXXVIII
January 30, 2004
by Dana Harris