Super Bowl XLIII Preview

January 21st, 2009

Cardinals, Steelers...a great game awaits!Super Bowl XLIII Preview from the team at Bodog Sports.

Sunday, Feb. 1 is the singular red-letter day on the betting calendar, the mother of all sporting events: Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. This year’s gala coincides with the inauguration of President Obama, so it’s only natural that the matchup between the Arizona Cardinals (12-7 SU and ATS) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4 SU, 11-7 ATS) is being treated as a watershed moment for the sports gambling industry.

Nobody’s predicting a possible take of $100 million on the Las Vegas Strip this year. But action is already coming in fast on both sides with the Steelers opening as 7-point favorites (-105). The total is 47, and according to market reports, roughly 70 percent of bettors at press time were taking the over at +100.

Business will pick up over the course of the next two weeks, especially once the market opens for Super Bowl props. This has been a major area of growth for the online industry; bettors love the entertainment value and the potential giant payouts from laying cash on individual athletes. Our live betting feature takes this to another level, allowing you to bet on every single play of the big game as it happens.

We’ll have more coverage of the different betting markets as they open. The most popular prop bets will deal with the most popular players in the game itself. In this case, that would be Arizona QB Kurt Warner. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV leading the St. Louis Rams and their “Greatest Show on Turf” offense to victory over the Tennessee Titans. A series of concussions seemed to derail Warner’s career, but he’s persisted and played his way back into the Super Bowl with a 96.9 QB rating, just a shade below his peak years in St. Louis. The tastiest Warner props will deal with how many TD passes (or interceptions) he’ll throw.

Ben Roethlisberger (80.1 passer rating) is the Pittsburgh quarterback and thus the team’s star player by default. His QB props will also be popular, but it’s the Steelers defense that really runs the show. Safety Troy Polamalu’s name will be heard a lot in the marketplace; he was one of the stars of Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl XL win over Seattle, and he returned an interception for a TD last week against the Baltimore Ravens.

Bet on Super Bowl XLIII in the Bodog online sports book.

There was some concern about Polamalu’s health after he strained his calf during the Divisional Round, but his play last week against the Ravens was more than reassuring. WR Hines Ward is likewise expected to be fine for the Super Bowl after twisting his right knee against Baltimore. And Roethlisberger now has some sore ribs courtesy of the Ravens. Otherwise, the Steelers are as healthy as an NFL team could hope to be in January.

The Cardinals have a few nagging issues; WR Anquan Boldin (groin) was at visibly less than full capacity in the NFC title win over the Eagles, and LB Travis LaBoy suffered a biceps injury that could knock him out of the big game. LaBoy is a role player whose absence shouldn’t hinder Arizona. Boldin is a top-shelf receiver, but the Cardinals have other options downfield in Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, and Boldin has another two weeks to heal before the Super Bowl.

These two teams have only faced one another twice during the regular season over the past decade. The Cardinals (+5.5) beat Pittsburgh 21-14 at home last year; Warner and Matt Leinart split the QB duties in that game, and both Boldin and Ward were out of commission, but the two rosters are otherwise much the same for the Super Bowl. The Steelers (-7) downed visiting Arizona 28-15 back in 2003 when the starting quarterbacks were Tommy Maddox and Jeff Blake.

There are strong positive trends for both teams going into the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh has covered seven playoff appearances in a row, while the Cardinals are on a 4-0 ATS run and 12-5 ATS in their past 17 against winning teams. The strongest betting trends are on the over: 12-2 in the last 14 Steelers playoff games and 35-16 in Arizona’s last 51 overall. The over is a combined 23-14 for these two clubs this season. If there’s any line movement during the next two weeks, it’s probably going to be against the total.


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Entry Filed under: General Banter,NFL Football,Sports Betting,US Football

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