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Super Bowl XLV Betting Prediction: February 6th 2011

February 2nd, 2011

Sunday, February 6 2011 - 6:30 PM (ET)
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (FOX-TV)
Pointspread: Packers -2 ½ Over/Under: 44 ½

The Green Bay Packers’ march through the NFC playoffs has this team going to its fifth Super Bowl in the history of this storied franchise, while the Pittsburgh Steelers took care of business in the AFC to earn an unprecedented eighth trip to the title game. Kickoff from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. this upcoming Sunday is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on the FOX Network.

This game opened with one of the closest spreads in Super Bowl history at 2 ½-points in favor of Green Bay. The last time the point spread was less than three points in a Super Bowl was back in 1983 when Miami was a two-point favorite over Washington. Since both teams are so closely matched the key for handicapping this game is to search for the subtle edges that exist on both sides of the ball.

The Packers’ passing game behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers would get the slight edge with an average of 258 passing yards a game in the regular season and 251 yards a game in the playoffs as compared to QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, who finished the regular season averaging 225 passing yards per game, but fell off to an average of just 156 yards in their two playoff games.

Pittsburgh has the edge rushing the ball behind running back Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers’ rushing attack averaged 120 yards a game right through the playoffs, showing tremendous consistency from one week to the next. Green Bay’s running game finally showed some life in the postseason behind rookie RB James Starks. The Packers averaged 118 rushing yards a game in the playoffs, but still finished the regular season ranked 24th overall with an average of just over 100 yards per game.

Defensively these two teams are about as even as it gets. Green Bay ended the regular season ranked fifth overall and second in points allowed, while the Pittsburgh finished second overall and first in points allowed. There has been little difference with either team in the postseason with the Packers giving up an average of 282 total yards in three games and the Steelers giving up an average of just 208 total yards in two games. Give the slight edge here to Pittsburgh for its all around play.

Most big games come down to turnovers and both these teams are closely matched in this category as well. The Packers finished the regular season with a +10 turnover ratio and were +3 in the playoffs. The Steelers had the second-best turnover ratio in the regular season at +17, but ended-up even in the playoffs. Pittsburgh gets the slight edge here for its overall body of work.

The final factor in this matchup is Super Bowl experience. It remains to be seen how much of a factor it actually ends up being, but there is little doubt denying that a huge edge in this category goes to Pittsburgh.

The Packers have not been to the Super Bowl since back-to-back trips in 1997-1998, while Pittsburgh is appearing in the third World Championship Game since 2006. Their current roster has a significant number of players who earned rings for their 2008 Super Bowl victory over Arizona and Roethlisberger is going for his third Super Ring in his seven year career.

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