The Bettor's Edge

In final analysis, the pick is the Pack

By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / February 4, 2011

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I was riding high two weeks ago. My balance was pushing $1,000 prior to the conference championships and I was checking out flights to Las Vegas to spend this weekend at The Mirage.

Things changed quickly. My annual Super Bowl trip to Vegas fell apart, and then I whiffed on championship weekend by taking the points in both games. What’s worse, I went against the Packers, who have been delivering for me during the past two seasons.

So instead of Vegas, Super Bowl Sunday will consist of brunch at Roggie’s in Cleveland Circle followed by a long stretch on my couch.

Life in The Circle doesn’t quite replicate life on Las Vegas Boulevard, but then again, you count your money the same in both spots.

This week’s pick: Green Bay (-2 1/2) over Pittsburgh: We’re hearing a lot of talk about Super Bowl experience this week; in recent years, Pittsburgh has it and Green Bay does not. If a useless story line like this mattered, then why did the Saints win last year’s game over a more experienced Colts squad? And why did the Giants beat the Patriots three years ago? The experience that matters for Pittsburgh, and has to be worrisome for Green Bay, is the Steelers’ emergence from the more powerful AFC. If “defense wins championships,’’ then they should hand the Lombardi Trophy to Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin right now. The Steelers’ defense is top-ranked and they have a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who is adept at making plays outside the pocket, which is where Green Bay’s sturdy front seven will surely send him. But the Packers, despite some devastating early-season injuries, have been consistent this year (they never trailed by more than 7 points) and have a quarterback who belongs on the biggest stage that football offers. Risking $330 to win $300.

It’s the Super Bowl — you have to make some prop bets. Here are five:

■Total passing yards by Roethlisberger, over 240 1/2. Risking $55 to win $50.

■Player to score the first TD in the game: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay. Risking $50 to win $700.

■Which will be higher, Rajon Rondo’s total points and assists vs. the Orlando Magic, or Green Bay’s total points: Rondo. Risking $57.50 to win $50.

■Interceptions by Roethlisberger, under 1/2: Risking $50 to win $72.50.

■Green Bay wins in overtime: Risking $50 to win $950.

Conference championships: 0-2, minus $440.

Season: 42-31-1, plus $522.

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