(Old man voice) Back when I was a kid, the Super Bowl lines used to be huge
I was looking at some recent Super Bowl lines — this year’s line is 5 and the last seven previously were 3, 4.5, 1, 2, 4.5, 2.5, 3, 5 — and thought to myself that they seemed very small. I remember Super Bowl’s from when I was in middle/junior/high school being much larger. The largest of these was when the 49ers played the Chargers — led by legendary quarterback Stan Humphries — in Super Bowl XXIX and the 49ers were favored by 18.5 (which they covered!) So I found historical Super Bowl lines at www.oddsshark.com and checked to see is the lines have in fact been smaller than when I was a youth. The plot below shows historical lines with the color indicating whether the underdog or favorite won (or if there was a push). It’s very clear in the 1990s that the lines were actually much larger than the recent Super Bowls. Anyone got any ideas why this might be? Is it just totally random or is there something different about the NFL that make the lines smaller?
Also, I’ve marked the Patriots Super Bowls with the black dots. What you’ll notice is that in the Brady era,in the first 6 Patriot Super Bowls, the underdog covered in all of them. The first time the favorite won in a Brady Patriots Super Bowl was last year when they beat the Falcons.
As an added bonus, I also looked at Super Bowl totals with results. The general trend of the total was increasing through the 1970s through the beginning of 1990s when it leveled off in the high 40s. It sort of looks like it the totals may be trending up, but it’s hard to say if it’s actually a trend. Though it is interesting to not that the highest Super Bowl total ever was last year — 57.5 — and the second highest was 8 years ago in Super Bowl XLIV — 57. (Note: This year’s total is 48.)
Obviously, I have to end this post with my pick.
Based on absolutely no analysis, I’m taking the Eagles +5 and under 48 with the final score Patriots 24-21.