Super Bowl XLVI: New England Patriots (15-3) vs. New York Giants (12-7)
Sunday, 2/5/12, 6:30 PM EST, TV: NBC
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Opening Point Spread: New England -3
Current Betting Line: New England -3
Opening Total: 55.5
Current Total: 54
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
A high ankle sprain might be keeping New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski off the practice field this week, but the injury is not keeping Las Vegas sportsbooks from making him the favorite to score the first and last touchdowns of Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday. Gronkowski opened at 5/1 to score the first and last TD of the NFL’s biggest game of the year, and Cantor Gaming has already lowered his odds to score the first to 4/1.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound receiver is the top red-zone target of New England quarterback Tom Brady but has yet to practice in preparation for the Super Bowl and remains in a walking boot. There is even a chance that Gronkowski may not suit up all week in hopes of getting extra rest and treatment prior to facing the New York Giants. He had an NFL-record 1,327 yards for a TE during the regular season and scored a team-high 17 TDs before adding 15 catches for 232 yards and three scores in the team’s first two playoff games.
All-Pro wide receiver Wes Welker made 32 more catches than Gronkowski with 122 to lead the Patriots while he also scored a career-high nine TDs. Welker is anywhere between 7/1 and 10/1 to score the first TD, which is slightly better than teammate Deion Branch at 12/1 to 15/1. Branch is actually the last New England player to win Super Bowl MVP honors in 2005 and holds the record for most receptions (21) in consecutive Super Bowls.
Brady won the team’s other two Super Bowl MVP awards in 2002 and 2004, and he is featured in 42 different props at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton). Only New York QB Eli Manning comes close to that number with 36.
In fact, the two signal callers are pitted against each other in eight head-to-head props at the LVH, including who will have more rushing yards (Brady -2.5 -120) and who will score a TD first (Brady -300/Manning +250). Two props Manning seems to have a better chance of cashing include throwing a TD in the fourth quarter (-130) – he set a league record with 15 fourth-quarter TD passes during the regular season – and throwing an interception (-190).
The Giants do not really have a top scoring threat, making it hard to bet on who will hit paydirt first for them. Receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and running back Ahmad Bradshaw all have about the same odds, ranging from 6/1 to 8/1 depending on the sportsbook. Cruz set a franchise record with 1,536 receiving yards during the regular season and had nine TDs, tied for the team lead with Bradshaw while Nicks scored seven times. Brandon Jacobs split time with Bradshaw in New York’s backfield and also had seven TDs, so he might be worth a wager at odds ranging between 9/1 and 15/1.