Super Bowl XLV – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers

Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) at Green Bay Packers (-3), Over/Under 45

Yesterday’s bet, Thunder at Jazz, was a loser. The Steelers opened up as a 3-point underdog. The line hasn’t moved much since opening. There are a handful of story lines coming into the game; Roethlisberger sings, Capers vs. LeBeau, Polamalu or Matthews, etc. Not worried too much over any of the angles but expecting a good game today.

Pittsburgh (14-4) has been in 3 of the last 6 Super Bowls. This is the first time they are the underdog. The Steelers know how to grind out close wins. Pittsburgh averages 5.7 yards per play (YPP) and 14.1 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense. On defense, they allow 4.7 YPP and 17.6 YPPT. Pittsburgh is a very efficient team. QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 8.23 yards per attempt (YPA) with 17 TDs and 5 INTs for a 97.0 QB rating. Roethlisberger is the public’s favorite QB but he has experience in the Super Bowl and is a unique challenge to defenses. The Steelers will likely be missing rookie center Maurkice Pouncey; that is a big hole to fill. Pittsburgh was criticized for being out on the town this week, but expect a prepared team for the big game.

Green Bay (13-6) fought off injuries most of the season. They seemed to get healthy at the right time. The Packers rolled through the playoffs and their late-season momentum is reflected in the betting line. Green Bay averages 5.9 YPP and 14.3 YPPT on offense. On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 19.9 YPPT.  Green Bay has an excellent defense and their offense improved in the 2nd half of the season. QB Aaron Rodgers averages 8.26 YPA with 28 TDs and 11 INTs for a 101.2 QB rating. Green Bay faces a talented and fast defense today, running the ball will be tough. The Packers are very focused for this game; they have to control Roethlisberger and limit turnovers to win.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 31.35 and Green Bay 31.18. With no home advantage, the fair line is Pittsburgh -0.17. According to, spread bets are 50/50 and 72% of total bets are on the Over.

My NFL Model predicts Pittsburgh 21.3 over Green Bay 20.15 for 41.45 total points. Green Bay moves the ball better than Pittsburgh on offense. Pittsburgh is more efficient on offense. The defenses are very similar; but Pittsburgh has the better rushing defense. The key variance contributor is Pittsburgh’s pass defense. They have to keep Green Bay below their average passing yardage per game to win and cover.

I don’t have a strong lean on either team today. I modeled the game at Steelers -1.15. Based on that and the Sagarin Ratings, I think the betting value is with Pittsburgh. Since I don’t have a strong lean (partly because I had preseason Super Bowl bets on the Packers, Steelers and Cowboys), I am taking the Under. Here’s why. A majority of the public is on the over and the line hasn’t fluctuated much.  There are two excellent defenses playing. The extended commercials and hoopla make it more difficult for an offense to get in rhythm. I modeled the game at 41.45 total points. Bet Steelers/Packers Under 45.

Follow me on Twitter for all my picks. Good Luck!


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