01/17/2013 3:48PM

Dave Tuley: Patriots favored to win next two Super Bowls

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LAS VEGAS – Do you want 6-1 on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl? How about the 49ers at 8-1?

Now, you might be saying, “Didn’t I see that the Patriots are the even-money favorite to win the Super Bowl and the 49ers are around 2-1?” Yes, that’s true, but I’m talking about Super Bowl XLVIII (No. 48 for the non-Romans out there) that will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 2, 2014.

The LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly Hilton, though it’s been a full year since its use of that licensed name ran out) – SuperBook loves to post these early odds to get the betting starting on next year’s season. They made the Patriots the 6-1 favorite as it looks like Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, & Co. aren’t going anywhere, regardless if they hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy this year. The offense is expected to be as good and the defense is seen as improving.

The 49ers (whose odds are sure to plummet if they move onto the Super Bowl under coach Jim Harbaugh) and the Broncos (with Peyton Manning) are the co-second choices at 8-1, with the Packers and Seahawks next at 10-1.

No team is listed higher than the Raiders and Jaguars at 150-1, primarily because the LVH oddsmakers know that despite the public’s opinion that some teams are really great and others really suck, there is still parity in the NFL and the worst teams are just a few players away from going from worst to first in their divisions and making a run at the playoffs.

For those who are interested, when the odds for this season were first posted at the LVH last January, the Packers were installed as the 5-1 favorite with the Saints (with the storyline of trying to become the first team to play in a Super Bowl it was hosting, but that was before the whole Bounty Gate scandal) the second choice at 6-1, and the Patriots next at 8-1. The still-standing Ravens were in a group at 12-1 that included the Steelers and Eagles while the Texans and Chargers were 15-1 and ahead of the group at 20-1 that included the 49ers and Falcons (as well as the Giants, Cowboys, Lions, and Jets).

The Broncos were 50-1, but their odds were pounded down after acquiring Peyton Manning. They were one of the big future liabilities for Vegas sports books before being eliminated last week.

Back to the NFL betting board

I went 1-1 against the spread last week as the Ravens knocked off the Broncos, but then the Texans fell short in a 41-28 loss as 9.5-point underdogs (didn’t they know we bettors were cheering for them to get in the back door? They certainly didn’t act like it as they took their time on their final drive and didn’t even give us a Hail Mary attempt). Okay, enough venting as we look at the two conference title game matchups this Sunday:

Falcons +4 vs. 49ers

In Sunday’s first matchup, we have the Falcons as a home underdog. This line first went up last Sunday after the Falcons built a 20-0 halftime lead on the Seahawks, with the 49ers, who everyone saw run over the Packers on Saturday night, opening as a 1-point favorite offshore. That number climbed as the Falcons almost blew their game. By the time they prevailed 30-28, most books were posting the 49ers –3 and it got bet quickly up to 3.5 and climbed to 4.5 by midweek before settling back down. Obviously, most bettors see the 49ers as the strongest team in the NFC, but there is that matter of the Falcons’ home-field advantage. They are 33-6 straight up in Matt Ryan’s career at home and 8-1 this year, with the only loss coming in Week 17 when they already had clinched the No. 1 seed. Even though they are only 4-5 ATS at home this year, those were all as favorites, and they showed the ability to win outright even if not covering the number. Yet, we get bonus points here, and home underdogs the last 20 years in the playoffs are 22-11 ATS. Of course, none of this is to discredit the 49ers, who are looking Super Bowl worthy. But if the Falcons play like they did in the first half against the Seahawks, mixing the run with the pass while playing solid defense, they’ll be able to move the ball on the 49ers and contain Colin Kaepernick & Co. and show that on their best day (and sometimes when not playing they’re best) that they’re the class of the NFC.

PLAY: Falcons for 1 unit.

Ravens +9 vs. Patriots

This line looked like it might go to 10, but the public and wiseguys have both jumped in on the underdog. And with good reason. As strong as the Patriots can look at times – and they’re certainly capable of covering this number – the fact is the Ravens always play them very tough, so this line is being viewed as inflated. In the last six meetings between these two franchises, the Ravens have never lost by more than 6 points, and they also won this year’s regular-season meeting 31-30 (racking up more than 500 yards of offense) and nearly pulled the upset at New England in the AFC title game last year. I don’t want to make too much of it, but the Ravens also are riding the incentive of sending out Ray Lewis as a winner on his farewell tour (like Jerome Bettis with the Steelers in 2005-06). The Ravens’ defense isn’t as dominant as it once was, but they’ve been making the plays on this playoff run and are very familiar with Brady & Co. The Ravens’ offense also is getting the job done, and I expect a game similar to the first meeting and love getting more than a touchdown.

PLAY: Ravens for 1 unit.

Last week: 1-1 for a net loss of 0.1 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). NFL season record: 26-27 for a net loss of 3.7 units.