One would think home-field advantage would be vital for a team vying to win a Super Bowl. Teams put their bodies and careers on the line in a 16-game regular season in an effort to secure home playoff games. Teams almost never win road Game 7s in the NBA, for example – just ask the 2012-13 Spurs. However, here is one Super Bowl online betting tip to keep in mind: the conference’s top seeds rarely win it all these days.
Curse of the No. 1
The Super Bowl is played at a neutral site, so that would have no bearing on which team is officially home or away or which is the favorite on the SuperBowl lines. No club has played in a Super Bowl in which it hosted the big game in its stadium. The Jets or Giants won’t change that trend this February at MetLife Stadium.
Home-field advantage should be extremely important in playoff games. The home team is always going to be a Super Bowl betting odds favorite. The game is a sellout and the fans are into it from the opening kickoff. Referees can be intimidated by the crowd and there’s statistical proof in every sport that a home team receives more beneficial calls than a road team.
So why then have only two teams that were their conference’s No. 1 seed, the 2009 Saints and 2003 Patriots, won the Super Bowl since 2000? In the first 12 years of the home-field era (since 1975 season when NFL began awarding it and not rotating sites), 10
No. 1 seeds won the title.
Maybe it’s the added media pressure these days of playing at home and being expected to win. Perhaps it’s losing momentum with a week off after the regular season. The road team plays with a “nothing to lose” attitude.
We’re No. 2!
Last season the Broncos had won 11 straight games and were overwhelming Super Bowl odds-on favorites. They hosted a Ravens team that had lost four of its final five regular-season games and played the week before while Denver rested. The Ravens also lost at home to Denver 34-17 in Week 15. Final score in the playoff game: Baltimore 38, Denver 35.
The 2012 NFC top-seeded Falcons made the conference championship game, needing a near-miracle rally in the divisional round over Seattle to do it. That near-loss was a big reason why the 49ers were favored on the Super Bowl betting odds over Atlanta, and indeed the 49ers won 28-24.
There has even been wild-card teams that won the Super Bowl since the last No. 1 seed: the 2011 Packers had to win three straight road games on the way to a Super Bowl title. So did the 2007 Giants and 2005 Steelers.
So what is the best way to bet on the Super Bowl futures entering the playoffs? Take a No. 2 seed. Since 2000, a No. 2 has won the Super Bowl four times, more than any other seed. The Niners were a No. 2 last season, were favored on the Super Bowl point spread and nearly pulled off a big comeback against No. 4 Baltimore.