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Super Bowl Point Spread Trends Revolve Around Joe Montana

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The Super Bowl continues to grow, even as NFL ratings decline, with the big game attracting big handles from the world of sports wagering. Point spreads and over/unders offered by sportsbooks like Sports Interaction for the Super Bowl can be divided into three eras based on Joe Montana’s career.

Before Joe lead the 49ers to four Super Bowls, favorites crushed underdogs in low scoring affairs. During Montana’s reign, favorites still performed well against the spread, even as overall scoring exploded. After Joe hung up his cleats and Elway finally won a ring, underdogs started to cover the spread at an accelerated rate while scoring dipped.

 

Pre-Montana Super Bowl Era

The first 15 Super Bowls were mostly predictable affairs. Sportsbooks appeared to be cautious when determining point spreads for favorites, with underdogs rarely making a splash against the spread. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the most dominant team of the era, earning four Super Bowl rings, beating the spread three times in the process.

Overall, the favorite beat the spread 11 out of 15 times, a whopping 73% winning ratio. Coincidentally, two of the biggest point spread upsets may have triggered caution for bookies determining spreads.

Joe Namath’s guarantee beat an 18-point spread in Super Bowl III, while Super Bowl IV witnessed Kansas City obliterate Minnesota, despite a 12-point spread favoring the Vikings. After these two massive upsets, favorites beat the spread in nine of the proceeding 10 Super Bowls, creating the dominant trend before Montana.

Nine of the first 14 Super Bowl totals were conservative estimates during this era, including seven consecutive under results between Super Bowl III and XI. Only two of those 14 games featured an over/under above 40, evidence of the low-scoring trend over the first decade and a half of the biggest single annual event in sports.

The Joe Montana Super Bowl Era

Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers were slim, one-point favorites to beat Cincinnati during Super Bowl XVI in 1982. They held on for a five-point win against the Bengals to collect their first of four rings during the 80’s.

San Francisco’s “west coast” offensive style would have a major impact on the NFL, inflating the final score through a stronger emphasis on passing. Favorites continued to rule between Super Bowl XVI and XXXI, beating the spread in 10 out of 16 games, resulting in a 62.5 ATS winning percentage.

The majority of the 1980s and the 1990s were dominated by quarterbacks like Montana, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre and John Elway. As such, only two over/under totals were below 40 points, including three consecutive projected totals over 50 between 1994 and 1996.

Montana’s example created an increase in scoring for Super Bowl games, with the over winning in 10 of 16 championship games.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Montana Super Bowl Era

Ironic that the end of the “Montana” Super Bowl era would result in John Elway’s first Super Bowl – a milestone which was powered by Terrell Davis and one of the greatest rushing performances in football history. During Super Bowl XXXII, Terrell Davis carried Elway and the Broncos to a stunning upset of Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, who were 11-point favorites.

Since then, underdogs have performed well against the spread. Including Elway’s miraculous win, 12 of the past 20 Super Bowl spreads were covered by underdogs, with two championship games a push or pick’em. Between 2002 and 2017, 11 out of 16 underdogs beat the spread, resulting in an incredible 68.8% record for ATS dogs.

The post-Montana era still features plenty of scoring, with 11 of 20 Super Bowls finishing above the expected total. However, the NFL no longer features the ridiculous run’n’gun scoring of the 80s and 90s, when defenses were still struggling to catch up to offensive innovation.

Perhaps the most telling trend would be recent MVPs for the big game. Tom Brady’s won two of the past four Super Bowl MVPs, with linebackers Malcolm Smith and Von Miller snagging the award in 2014 and 2016. Defense appears to be the greatest predictor of the modern Super Bowl, which might eventually be known as the “Brady Era”.

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

NEWS

Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul Automobile Accident Blamed on Bad Weather

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Jason Pierre-Paul

A recent automobile accident the occurred in Broward County in South Florida involving Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rushed Jason Pierre-Paul is being attributed to bad weather, according to TMZ Sports.

According to the report which cites a crash report that they had obtained regarding the accident, Pierre-Paul was driving a $350,000 Ferrari 88 Pista when he crashed into a concrete barrier back on May 2nd.

Officials believe that Pierre-Paul lost control of the car around 2:38 AM and collided with a concrete barrier on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, adding that there were no skid marks or debris found in the roadway. Officers did not believe that Pierre-Paul was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and did not test him for it.

In conclusion, officers believe “weather conditions”, more specifically wet roads, caused Pierre-Paul to lose control of the car and crash into the concrete barrier. Pierre-Paul and a passenger in his car were transported to a nearby hospital.

Pierre-Paul is considered likely to miss the entire 2019 NFL season after suffering a fractured neck due to the accident.

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Carolina Panthers

Panthers’ Greg Olsen Donates $2.5 Million to Pediatric Cardiac Center

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Greg Olsen

Carolina Panthers veteran tight end Greg Olsen, and his wide, recently made a $2.5 million donation to help establish the HEARTest Yard Pediatric Cardiac Center in Charlotte, North Carolina o expand access to vital therapies that improve survival rates and quality of life for children with congenital disease, according to an official announcement from the Atrium Health Foundation.

“While most know Greg Olsen as a Pro Bowl Tight End for the Carolina Panthers, we at Levine Children’s know him and his wife, Kara, as visionary leaders and champions for pediatric congenital heart disease,” said Stacy Nicholson, MD, president of Levine Children’s, as he announced the transformational gift, according to an official release.

Greg and Kara Olsen started the HEARTest Yard initiative in 2012, initially focusing on home health care for children with congenital heart disease. The Olsens have a son with a congenital heart defect. Back in 2017, the couple helped launch a cardiac neurodevelopmental clinic at Levine Children’s, which is currently one the few such clinics in existence in the United States.

“This new center will be a game changer for the children of the Carolinas,” said Nancy Dobrolet, MD, director of the cardiac neurodevelopmental clinic.  “Thanks to the Olsens, and their many supporters, we provide the best comprehensive cardiac care in the country for young heart patients.”

The HEARTest Yard Pediatric Cardiac Center, scheduled to open in 2021.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Paying for Funeral Expenses for 8th Grade Football Player

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Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Ellitt is paying for the funeral expenses of promising eight-grade football player Jaylon McKenzie, who was killed by a stray bullet as he left a party near St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday night, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.

Elliott grew up in St. Louis, and wanted to keep the matter between him and the McKenzie family.

“Zeke is really a special guy,” coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday. “He’s a great football player obviously, but he’s a really good person and that doesn’t surprise me one bit.

McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, said that her son was trying to leave a party in Venice, Illinois, when a fight broke out. Illinois State Police say that McKenzie was struck by a stray bullet and passed away at a local hospital.

“He’s just very generous. He’s got a great spirit about him. We see that every day as players and coaches. Anybody that’s been around him knows that, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that he would get involved there. He’s someone that a lot of people look up to, a lot of people certainly in St. Louis and Missouri, Ohio State, all across the country. If you’re a fan of football, you know Zeke Elliott, and anybody who’s been around him on a daily basis knows what kind of person he is.”

McKenzie was a stand out running back and had already received college scholarship offers in 8th grade. He was selected to compete in the All-America All-Star Game in Canton, Ohio during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend.

A 15-year old girl, who was also hit, remains in critical condition.

 

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