It’s that time of year again, where sports fans around the world gather around to watch the iconic Super Bowl. Whether you’re watching the Super Bowl to see if Beyonce lip syncs during the half time show or to actually watch the Baltimore Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers, you’re in the right place.
This year we head to good ol’ New Orleans, the home of great food, booze and jazz. Super Bowl XLVII brings us a bunch of great story lines, but the one that intrigues me the most is the whole “Harbaugh Bowl” angle. These two NFL head coaches, who happen to be brothers, are right up there with the Winklevoss twins from the Social Network in terms of success. (Yes, getting a few hundred million dollars in that settlement from Zuckerberg is still success!) I can’t even imagine being the father of these two kids, and trying to stay neutral throughout the game. I mean he must have a favourite son right? The over/under for the amount of times that CBS will show the coaches’ father, Jack Harbaugh, is currently at 1.5. I would strongly take the over!
P.S Hopefully by the time I finish writing this article I will be able to spell Harbaugh correctly without looking on Google every other minute.
Moving on, another terrific headline from this year’s Super Bowl has to do with future hall of famer Ray Lewis. Now I know he’s retiring this year and this his final go at it, but that’s not what interests me the most. The part that everyone overlooks is that at age 37, not only did he recover in 10 weeks from an injury that usually takes 6 months minimum for recovery, but, upon returning, he played at a higher level than before he was injured. Are you serious? On media day he shrugged off the even SLIGHT suspicion that he took PED’s to recover early from injury. He may fool the average “Joe Shmoe” media guy, but not me.
Alright enough with the TMZ soap opera drama, let’s dive into some of those juicy prop bets! Down below are some of my favourite plays.
President Obama will pick the Ravens to win in his pregame interview (-170)
This is the easiest bet of all time. The guy works 40 miles from Baltimore and has named The Wire as his favorite TV show. Done deal.
5/1: Odds Alicia Keys will be booed at any time during the singing of the National Anthem
Yes you can actually bet on this. I think a few people will gang up together to try and get this one to cover, in hopes that they can get the money they spent on their Super Bowl ticket back. This one is a long shot but I think it has a slight chance!
Randy Moss under 2.5 receptions
Moss took the chance at Media Day to say that he is the greatest wide receiver of all time. Really?! Here’s one way you can tell for sure that he’s not the greatest wide receiver ever. If at any point in your career, Vegas has predicted you will catch fewer than three balls in one of the biggest games you’ve ever played in, you are not, in fact, the greatest ever. I got the under 2.5, bang bang.
Alicia Keys over 2 minutes and 10 seconds to sing the National Anthem (-110)
Apparently she’s putting her own “spin” on the song and we all know what that means. Notes that aren’t supposed to be that long, will last an eternity. It’s Alicia Keys people, just look at how many times she keeps saying “Fire, fireeeee, fireeeeeee” in that one song. Enough is enough, over!
Now let’s talk about the actual game! We have the San Francisco 49ers against the underdog, Baltimore Ravens.
Here are some things I’m thinking before making my Super Bowl pick.
1. Who has had the advantage at the QB position so far in the playoffs? I would lean the Ravens. Joe Flacco is playing out of this world right now and in elite company. Only other QBS to throw for 8+ TDS with no INTS in playoffs were Montana, Young, Aikman, Simms, & Brees. Although Kaepernick is getting all the hype, Flacco is on another level right now. Also to be noted that Flacco is also playing for a new contract, could be seen as extra motivation. I believe the extra week to prepare will only help Ravens vs his dual threat ability.
2. The pass rush for the 49’ers has been AWFUL since Justin Smith injured his triceps. I understand that he is still playing, but Aldon Smith has ZERO sacks in the last 5 games since this injury. Overall, the 49’ers only had a combined 2 sacks in their two playoff wins against predictable pass heavy teams. They should struggle even more against a balanced attack in Baltimore which further strengthens my Flacco belief.
3. Teams that have kept the Niners running game in check have used 4/3 base defense; even the woeful Falcon’s run defense did a good job of bottling up Kap and the edge (though Gore did his job and then some). Ravens run a hybrid 3/4; you have to have fast OLB to contain in the same fashion as the 4/3, and that may be a problem for the Ravens. This might be a little technical for some of you, but it is worth noting.
4. Special teams – Akers is a liability, Justin Tucker is not. Jacoby Jones is a pro bowl kick returner and Ted Ginn doesn’t scare me in the least. Knock on wood.
5. Often times, in games like this, intel can be of great importance. Note that both the O and D coordinators for Niners were on the Ravens staff as recent as 2009. They know the personnel and base packages and tendencies on both sides of the ball. This is probably a stretch but still a valid point to be made.
6. Ravens team has many more veterans and realize this is a last HOORAH for them. 49’ers are young and ignorant enough to think they will be there every year. I believe this is another mental edge/ intangible that can be overlooked. In the contrary people think that the momentum the Ravens had over the last few weeks has died down due to the two week break. So there’s that.
In the end, if this was a boxing score card, I would have to give an edge to the Baltimore Ravens. Although I feel like this could be the sucker bet of the century, I’m going to roll with the underdog baby!
Baltimore Ravens, 27-21.
Above, is the some of the Nilsen Report’s staff/friends predictions for this year’s Super Bowl! Enjoy!