Systems for picking the Super Bowl winner have been around for decades. Here are a couple SDQL formulas we’ve come up with to help support your predictions for Super Bowl XLIX between the Seahawks and Patriots!
The road to the Super Bowl can be compared to horse racing in a lot of ways. A strong start (to the season) is nice but not imperative. The middle of the race (season) is when the pack starts to separate and then as horses (teams) make the turn, the excitement really starts to build. A strong finish down the homestretch is important and in football, some teams eventually cross the metaphorical finish line two or three times before finally hoisting the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. Week 17 matchups or any one of the single-elimination playoff tests through Rounds 1-3, potentially being those inaugural barriers.
Using Sports Database history since 2001, we’ve tested a few theories to see where the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks stand when compared to recent Super Bowl champions. First, let’s chart the path each of this year’s Conference champs has taken.
The Seahawks won a couple of key early-season matchups against Green Bay (Wk 1) and Denver (Wk 3) but they were also sloppy at times on the road and struggled with the mantle of ‘defending champ’. With elevated pointspreads, the Hawks were 1-5 ATS in their six other first-half games but then after losing a slugfest with Kansas City in Week 11, a light came on. Seattle has since won eight-straight games (7-1 ATS).
The knock all along has been on the caliber of competition the Hawks have faced, namely at the quarterback position and the new knock is that Seattle deserved to lose against the Packers. Maybe, but either way Seattle has outscored its past eight foes 24-10 on average including 5.9 to 1.6 in the third quarter and 9.6 to 1.6 in the fourth quarter.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
After a 1-3 ATS start the Patriots’ also took a step in the right direction following a loss at Arrowhead. New England lost only two games since then and one was at Green Bay; the other being a meaningless home loss to Buffalo. Scratch that Week 17 contest from the ledger and the Patriots have outscored opponents 35-19 since Week 5, going 12-1 SU and 9-4 ATS. Eight of the wins were by double-digits and three of four non-covers, New England were laying -7 points or more. In the five games played away from Foxboro, Tom Brady and the Pats scored 21-plus points four times, their highest coming in the lone indoor game at Indy in Week 11 (42-20).
SUPER BOWL HABITS
Of the past 12 Super Bowl winners only one was on a streak of exactly two-straight wins, the 2009 Saints. New Orleans won 13-straight to start that season, outscoring teams 36-21 and then closed the season on three consecutive lower scoring losses. The playoffs began, Sean Payton flipped a switch and the Saints scored 30-plus points per game, culminating in a 31-17 win over Indianapolis. New Orleans did its damage in the second-half, outscoring the Colts 25-7.
[quote_text color=”#000000″ text_color=”#ffffff”]New England was fifth in the NFL this year for second-half points allowed per game (8.7) and on the road, they allowed 10.1. Seattle ranked first in this department, allowing just 6.6 second-half points away from home all season.[/quote_text]
The majority of Super Bowl winners rolled in on streaks of three to seven wins (8-2 ATS) and the longest streak was the 2003 Pats, whose 32-29 win over Carolina was their 15th in a row. New England was a dominant force that season but would you believe they only ranked 11th in overall scoring (22 PPG)?
Of the past 12 Super Bowl losers, only three came into the big game on win streaks of six wins or more. It seems that the most profitable and successful group of Super Bowl candidates are teams who have managed to win six or seven games since Week 11 (9-0 SU/ATS). Streaks can add undue pressure, both to the team and to the line. The sport’s most successful longterm coaches all seem to have realized that they don’t need to win every game, just the ones that matter.
The average line in these games was +1.9 with a total of 47.8. The average score was 30.6 to 17.8 (48.4 points in total). The win streak for these teams: Five-straight. That’s right, every Super Bowl champ since 2009 rolled into the game with six or seven wins down the stretch (Saints, Packers, Giants, Ravens and last year’s Seahawks). Use this SDQL link for further sports database research: week >= 21 and season > 2001 and W and 6 <= tS(W and week>10) <= 7
THE ONE-TWO PUNCH
Super Bowl winners with a season win percentage (WP) below .750 were 4-0 ATS while the eight above .750 went 5-3 ATS. On the losing side, teams with sub-.750 WPs were 2-1 ATS while the more highly touted group went 1-8 ATS. Including playoffs, each of this year’s teams comes into the game sporting an identical 14-4 SU record (.778).
The four teams who won six or seven games down the stretch but still had a WP greater than .750 went 4-0 SU/ATS in the Super Bowl, outscoring their adversary 38-16 in the process and winning straight-up by margins of 27-12-14-35 points. The losing side was held completely scoreless in the second quarter of all four games and shutout in the fourth quarter three-straight times since 2006.