Another football season comes to an end this Sunday, one which has been quite successful for me in terms of picks. I think the biggest reason for that has been my focus on specific themes backed by simple data. However, I don't think I can do that here. This game is just so much different than any other game. I would suggest just having fun playing some squares or some of the 400+ props out there.
NE vs. NYG
Line: NE-2.5/3EV, o/u 54
The line opened at 3, and has been bought down so much, the line is now either NE-3 with no vig or NE-2.5, depending on the sportsbook. Gronkowski is still a big if, but he's such a freak that I expect him to play and play well. I expect the returns of Vollmer and Arrington will greatly help New England.
I think the deciding factor will be Eli Manning, and I think he will have a bad game this time. He hasn't exactly been great to begin with, having thrown a pass so bad last week that the opposing defensive backs hurt each other going after the interception. Even so, I feel that he's been outperforming of late (11TDs to 1INT in last 4 games, vs. 29TDs to 16INTs during the regular season), and will regress to the mean. I predict at least two turnovers that will allow the Patriots to take a commanding lead.
Some might question the "commanding lead" part of that because of the vaunted Giants front line. However, I think New England's tight end heavy passing offense and use of slot receivers is the perfect counterattack. The use of a no-huddle should also tire out the Giants' defense, and allow New England to string together a few scores.
Although everyone wants this to be a close, exciting game, I think New England will win by at least two touchdowns. Many sportsbooks offer adjusted lines, but I wouldn't make that bet, because you're probably not going to get enough value for such a bet. The last time the winning Superbowl team won by more than 14 points was back in 2003.
NE-3, Over 54