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Published: Sunday, 2/5/2012

And the Super Bowl winner will be ...


INDIANAPOLIS — A lot of people, experts and non-experts alike, are convinced the New York Giants will win Super Bowl XLVI and it makes some sense.

The Giants knocked off three playoff opponents with better records, including pressure-cooker road wins at Green Bay and San Francisco. Their defense, especially the front seven, seems awesome. Their quarterback, Eli Manning, has been spectacular, particularly in late-game situations. They beat New England during the regular season and also the last time the two teams, with the same coaches and quarterbacks, met on this stage.

Yeah, it makes sense.

So why is Las Vegas favoring the Patriots?

It may have something to do with the duo of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, in the Super Bowl together for the fifth time and seeking a fourth win. It may have something to do with the Pats having strung together 10 wins since that loss to New York. It may be their 13-3 regular season record vs. the Giants’ 9-7 mark.

Of course, until New England beat Baltimore in the AFC title game, the Pats did not beat a single team that finished with a winning record. Look it up.

So, who knows?

For gamblers, anything starting with the number 3 is the magic formula. It’s the power of a field goal, which this game could well come down to. The line has wavered between 3 and 3 ½ points for most of the last 10 days, but serious gamblers don’t reach for their wallets until the final 12-to-24 hours before a big wager. By this morning, they’ll be lucky to get 2 ½, and that is going to make things interesting with a lot of late money on the Giants.

Were I a betting man, I’d go that route.

But it would not be without some trepidation.

The Patriots seem driven, intense, motivated unlike at any other time during their decade of excellence. The Giants are almost a little too loose and, in some cases, a lot too cocky. Jason Pierre-Paul, for one, has a lot of jabber to back up.

Still, I think the Giants are the more complete team.

New York 27, New England 23.

— Dave Hackenberg

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