PlayBook: Where Eagles Dare

By Fraser Lockerbie

With the Super Bowl upon us,'s PlayBook lays down some predictions on just how this thing will go.

Source: Flickr: Matt Birk

Something like 95 million dollars will change hands this weekend, which is peanuts when put in perspective with something like the national debt, a rather large and ominous sum sitting somewhere in the neighborhood of 16.4 trillion American dollars as of January 10, 2013.

Yeah, bubba, that’s greenbacks, baby. Cash, scratch or dough, whatever you want to call it, and it’s a lot. Sixteen with twelve zeroes after it, and no one really knows what it means. What is this enormous, all-intrusive sum we keep hearing about and squabbling over? How did we get here and what are we doing to get it down? What’s the fix? It’s a big fucking number, that’s for sure, and including all the elderly, infirm and infantile Americans that call this land, the land where eagles dare, home, it works out to something like 50,969 dollars a head…

That’s about 1,000 bucks a star or 3,900 a stripe but what the fuck right? What an abstract rube trying to figure out what we all owe on the eve’s eve of Super Bowl Sunday. Don’t bring me down, man. I’m just trying to have a good time here, duuuude. We’re well beyond the reaches of Robin Dunbar now, the British anthropologist who figured the human mind could only comprehend values of 150 or less. Trying to put $16.4 trillion into tangible terms would be too stressful for our simple minds, crippling the cerebral cortex and leaving all sorts of anemic brain tissue to ooze out through the ears, crushed under the imaginary weight of our own imaginary wealth…

But whoa…we seem to be rolling over the double line here and getting weird again. Let’s reel it in and try to figure out how to reduce some of that debt, some of the 50 or so thousand we supposedly owe to Uncle Sam. No better time like the present and no better present than the Super Bowl. We’re getting braced for the last football game of the season; it’s high tide for the hoopleheads.  Time to reap what you sew, pay for what you get, and try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s make some bad decisions:

Largest point spread: Over 14.0: -120, Under 14.0: Even

Since Colin Kaepernick took over, the ’Niners have won exactly zero games by more than 14.5 points (the magic number you’d need to make this bet work). In the last meeting of the Brothers Harbaugh, a singular touchdown was scored between the two teams. Take the straight money. UNDER.

Game will be decided by exactly three points: Yes: +350, No: -420

More football games end with a three-point margin of victory than any other result. Betting the farm on an exact score is a little like betting against the field in March Madness, but here’s an insurance policy if you think it’s gonna be a close game…

One team wins by 1-4 points: Ravens: +450, ’Niners: +350

Take both bets AND the former (game decided exactly by three); the payout after the other bets are factored (assuming an initial $100 bet on each) is $600 (if the ’Niners win by exactly three), $700 (if the Ravens win by exactly three), $150 (if the ’Niners win by four or less, but not three) and $250 (if the Ravens win by four or less, but not three). If you really want to get ballsy, parlay either of the 1-4 point bets with the exactly three one for a $2375 payout for the Ravens or $1925 for the ’Niners. YES and BOTH.

How many players will attempt a pass: Over 2.5: +300, Under 2.5: -360

It’s a foregone conclusion that at least two players in this game will attempt a pass: Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco (the odds only one or neither does would be infintesimal). But Alex Smith adds a level of intrigue to this game; a capable quarterback usurped midseason for no real reason other than a minor injury who’s kept this team afloat long enough to get it to the Super Bowl. Would it be so strange to see him come in for a series? With the way Kaepernick runs, is it not foreseeable that he could have to hit the sidelines for a few sets of downs? OVER.

There will be a scoreless quarter: Yes: +240, No: -300

Now here’s an interesting proposition. Over the 16-game season, Baltimore had 20 scoreless quarters; San Francisco had 16. In fact, the Ravens only had five games in which they didn’t have a scoreless quarter. San Francisco, on the other hand, held opponents off the board 27 times and only had two games in which opponents scored in all four segments. Baltimore had seven games like that.

That would seem to suggest leaving this one alone; while it seems likely Baltimore could go scoreless for a quarter, their defense is such that it won’t allow a lot of points, but it will allow them consistently.

THAT SAID: An interesting wrinkle here is the recently shoddy work of David Akers. I don’t think anybody would trust him to hit the broad side of a barn from ten feet out at this point (-125 on a missed field goal, +900 on a missed PAT). If he’s rattled and this game shapes up anything like the defensive matchup they’re saying it will be, this is a YES. 

And Finally: Ravens (+3.5) over San Francisco

This will be a close game, and you can probably pick up some extra coin with YES +105 on Will the game be tied after 0-0, Yes +250 on Will the Ravens score a Special Teams/Defensive touchdown, taking the OVER on the 47.5-point total and the OVER 2.5 at -110 on How many times willthe game be referred to as the Harbaugh Bowl, the HarBowl or the SuperBaugh during the game.

The game itself? 27-24 for the ’Niners.

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