Super Bowl XLIV betting action commences on Sunday February 7th, and this matchup is one of the most anticipated in years. The New Orleans Saints (15-3, 9-9 ATS) and Indianapolis Colts (16-2, 12-5-1 ATS) will engage in NFL gambling warfare in what has the potential to be one of the most electrifying Super Bowls of all-time. The oddsmakers in Las Vegas originally opened the Colts as 3.5-point favorites, but that line has since shot up as high as six at some offshore sportsbooks. The Super Bowl wagering odds feature a 'total' of 56.5, and you can find those lines right now at BetUS Sportsbook.
New Orleans is the decided underdog of this game largely due to the fact that its quarterback's name isn't Peyton Manning. QB Drew Brees put up very comparable numbers to those of the future Hall of Famer in the regular season though, as he threw for 4,388 yards and 34 TDs against 11 INTs in 15 starts. Manning ended the regular season with 4,500 passing yards and 33 touchdowns versus 16 picks.
Manning does seem to have more quality weapons at his disposal than does Brees, but again, the discrepancy is probably a lot closer than one would think. Brees' top targets are WRs Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, and Robert Meachem. That trio of receivers combined to catch a whopping 166 passes for 2,600 yards, and 20 TDs in the regular season. Manning has utilized WRs Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon more in the postseason than he is accustomed to, but those two both put up comparable numbers to the best of what New Orleans has to offer. Even though the Saints will utilize both RBs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas more than the Colts will use RB Joseph Addai in the passing game, what Indy has that New Orleans doesn't is that one big-time receiver that will always be there as a security blanket for Manning. WR Reggie Wayne caught 100 passes in the regular season for 1,264 yards and ten TDs. There may not be a better tight end in the league in the passing game than Dallas Clark, who also had 100 receptions and ten visits to the end zone in the regular season.
Neither team focuses in on the rush as much as it does the pass. The Colts threw passes on nearly 63% of their downs in 2009. Addai did score ten rushing touchdowns behind an offensive line than only conceded ten sacks of Manning all season, but his rushing total (828 yards) was pedestrian for a starting running back. New Orleans was a bit more rush-conscious, as it only threw the ball a shade under 55% of the time on the year. Thomas, Bush, and RB Mike Bell all had fantastic regular seasons, as they combined to rush for 1,837 yards and 16 TDs. Much like Indianapolis, the Saints feature an offensive line that does a fantastic job of keeping Brees off of the turf, as he was only sacked 20 times in his 15 starts.
Defensively, the numbers don't lie. Neither squad's strength rests on that side of the football. New Orleans came into the postseason ranked 25th in total 'D', allowing 357.8 yards per game. Indianapolis wasn't much better, conceding 339.2 yards per game, 18th in the NFL. However, both of these teams can put pressure on the quarterback and force turnovers. The Saints forced the second most turnovers in the NFL in the regular season (39), while Indy cashed in on 26 blunders by the opposition. The Colts recorded 34 QB sacks in '09, while the Saints only had one fewer.
All time, the Colts are 2-1 SU and ATS in their franchise's three Super Bowl appearance. New Orleans will be in its first Super Bowl in team history next Sunday. The underdog has covered the football betting lines in back-to-back championship games and is 6-2 ATS and is 3-5 SU over the L/8 Super Bowl gambling matches.