ESPN The Magazine’s Editor in Chief, Chad Millman, examined the early line for the Super Bowl on Insider.
The Giants opened as 3.5-point underdogs.
The particular problem facing bookmakers with the Giants' opponent is that New England, and Tom Brady, is one of three teams, along with New Orleans and Green Bay, with as much public support as Eli's Giants the past few weeks. That forces their hand. "Books have to open the Patriots a little higher because of the sex appeal factor," Vegas vet Dave Malinsky emailed me last night before the NFC title game was over. "Anything more than a full plus-3 with the Giants will likely have us reaching into our pockets."
Here's what is so interesting, and telling, about the Giants' run: In early November these two teams played in Foxboro. The Pats closed as nine-point favorites, and lost 24-20 thanks to a game-winning drive by Eli (this is where the third act in the Eli movie of the week would start, right after the inspirational speech from his wife while they stand in their Hoboken pad and look out at the Hudson River.) Based on that closing spread, true linemaker math would put the line on a neutral field at New England minus-6; in New Jersey, the line would have been Pats minus-3. Instead, that's the number we've got on a neutral field.
More than record-setting numbers, that is all you need to know about Eli's place in the NFL right now. If you need me to spell it out, it goes like this: E-L-I-T-E. Which is what he's been telling us all along.
Who are you putting your money on? Let us know in the comments section.