Is New England Still Too Expensive?

Tony Salinas: Is New England Still Too Expensive?

On the day of the AFC Championship game, I talked about how expensive it is to back the New England Patriots. They would go on to barely win their game with Baltimore straight up as favorites of seven points. Are the Pats STILL overpriced in the Super Bowl as small favorites over the New York Giants? Or, has the market finally caught up.

Let's take a quick look at what the Patriots have done as favorites since their bye week.

New England (-3) lost at Pittsburgh 25-17
This was a bad number, as the Steelers were in control of the whole game. Many still believe that Pittsburgh at full strength this year is better than New England at full strength. Pittsburgh just had too many injuries heading into the playoffs to repeat as AFC champs.

New England (-9) lost to the New York Giants 24-20
Nobody was thinking this would be a Super Bowl preview at the time. The Giants were longshots to win their own division back then...and the Pats had just been outclassed by the Steelers. What's important is that New England was a whopping -9 at home in that meeting. That would suggest a -6 on a neutral field. Sunday's Super Bowl is only -2.5 or -3. You can see there's been a market adjustment!

New England (-17) beat Kansas City 34-3
Easy win. But, Kansas City didn't have a real quarterback so it probably doesn't have much predictive value about whether or not the Pats are overpriced vs. playoff caliber teams.

New England (-3) beat Philadelphia 38-20
Mixed bag here. Philadelphia was playing backup quarterback Vince Young. But, the Eagles as a whole were still pretty good. This was an impressive win for the Pats even if Michael Vick was out. And, you'd have to say the market wasn't giving them enough respect.

New England (-20.5) beat Indianapolis 31-24
A pretty embarrassing result given the caliber of the opponent. A reminder here that it's tough to cover big numbers with a soft defense if the opposing quarterback has a clue what he's doing. The Super Bowl number isn't very big though.

New England (-7.5) beat Washington 34-27
This was a see-saw affair, and the Pats ultimately failed to cover because they were a bit overpriced on the road.

New England (-7) beat Denver 41-23
Tim Tebow has no chance to play catch-up in this league because he can't throw the ball well. Once New England got a lead, it was over. We'd see an instant replay of this in the first round of the playoffs.

New England (-9) beat Miami 27-24
The Pats were fortunate to win this game straight up, and at least made it clear that their typically priced so high that they have to play great to cover the spread. Anything less than peak and they don't cover.

New England (-10) beat Buffalo 49-21
Nice finish to the season, against a team that collapsed down the stretch.

New England (-14) beat Denver 45-10
Here's the instant replay I was telling you about.

New England (-7) beat Baltimore 27-24
Another field goal decision that the Pats were lucky to win. It was a missed field goal by the Ravens that ended the game.

We see some pretty clear tendencies in those results. New England probably isn't too expensive if they're playing bad teams or bad quarterbacks. Bill Belichick likes running up the score. Bad teams and bad quarterbacks can't keep up!

But, if New England is facing a playoff team, or an opponent that's been playing well...then they have been overpriced. They couldn't beat Pittsburgh or the Giants. They only beat hard closing Miami by three, then the Ravens by three last week.

Where does that leave us for the Super Bowl? Well, three is a magic number. The Patriots can win field goal games, and many stores have dropped the line to New England -2.5 through the course of the past week. I believe that much of the air has been taken out of the market pricing. New England wouldn't be -7 again if they played Baltimore this week in Foxboro. New England wouldn't be -9 at home against the Giants like they were a couple of months ago.

When trying to pick this game...you have to decide if we're dealing with a true pick-em, and the line is still 2.5 or 3 points too high. Or, if oddsmakers have overadjusted and the value now lies with New England in a revenge spot (both off the regular season and a past Super Bowl).

I can't post my official Super Bowl plays here in my web article. But, I will tell you this. I think the winner is going to cover the spread by a touchdown or more. Either the Giants continue their great postseason run with another strong effort. Or, New England gets its revenge thanks to a big game from Tom Brady and too many miscues from Eli Manning.

My selections will be available Sunday morning for credit card purchase here at the website. You can also call my office at 1-888-536-8880 to buy the picks and get information about my basketball program.

The Super Bowl is the biggest betting game of the year here in Las Vegas. Be sure you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!

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