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NFL Betting – Super Bowl XLIV Preview

Written by Matt Stevens   
Monday, 01 February 2010 21:40

Super Bowl XLIV OddsNew Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts

Bodog Odds: Colts -6 

Last week’s initial Super Bowl odds are not likely to remain intact in the days before the NFL’s championship game kicks off. For one simple but substantial reason, the calculus of this crowning contest has shifted.  

Interested observers –  those who closely follow NFL betting picks – noticed that the Indianapolis Colts were initially established as a five-point favorite over the New Orleans Saints once the Super Bowl matchup became official. Football fans also noticed that the number increased by a point as bettors compared the quality of the two conference championship games on Jan. 24. While the Colts maturely broke down the New York Jets’ impressive defense, the Saints needed a great deal of luck to edge the Minnesota Vikings in overtime.


However, if the point spread for this game has been trending in the direction of the Colts, that progression should change in the week to come. 

It was revealed over the weekend that Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney – one of the very best outside pass rushers in the NFL – has an injury much more serious than many were led to believe. A ruptured ligament in his right ankle will render Freeney impotent for this game. A best-case scenario for the Colts is that Freeney can play 10 snaps – likely third-down passing situations – and make an impact. The superstar certainly won’t be an every-down presence on Sunday, Feb. 7. Watch the point spread for this game go down in the weeks ahead. 

What the Saints need to do to win

With Freeney being unable to play on every down, the Saints now have a path to victory, but it still won’t be easy for the NFC champions on Sunday. New Orleans can’t worry about time of possession; the Saints have to score, score often, and score seven points whenever they have the ball. In the absence of Freeney, Saints coach Sean Payton should junk the running game and load up on traditional seven-step dropback passes with Brees slinging the ball to every spot on the field. The Colts’ secondary is shaky, so Brees should involve his receiving corps on vertically-oriented routes in an attempt to pile up points. 

What the Colts need to do to win

They might lack a healthy Dwight Freeney, but the Colts have to like their chances on offense. New Orleans gave up 475 yards to Minnesota in the NFC title game, so Peyton Manning should have a field day in this contest. The point of concern for Indianapolis’s offense comes in the red zone; field goals won’t beat the Saints’  potent offense, so when things get tight, running back Joseph Addai needs to get touches near the goal line.

Outlook & Pick

Indianapolis should still win this game with Peyton Manning, but the loss of Dwight Freeney certainly helps New Orleans to attack the Colts’ defense. The Saints should now have enough offense to play under the number. 

Bodog Picks : Saints +6

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 21:46
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