Why the Ravens Will Win Super Bowl XLVII
The pre-game talk surrounding Super Bowl XLVII will probably center around the amazing feat pulled off by the coaching Harbaugh brothers, but once the ball is kicked off, none of that will matter.
It will come down to which team performs on the field.
In the early Super Bowl XLVII betting the Ravens were lined as four-point underdogs. But Baltimore backers might not even need the points; the Ravens could just as well win this game outright.
Here are five reasons why that premise is entirely possible. (Check the latest Super Bowl line and hundreds of fun prop bets at Bovada).
Underdogs Rule Super Bowl
Baltimore just got done beating the Denver Broncos as 9-point underdogs and the New England Patriots as 8-point underdogs. What's to stop them from beating San Francisco as a 4-point underdog? [ Matchup Report | Game Preview | Why the 49ers can win the Super Bowl ]
The answer is nothing. The fact that underdogs have won three of the past five big games outright is impressive. The fact they are 8-3 ATS in the past 11 Super Bowls means backing the favorite on Super Sunday has not been a super way to make money.
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The Ray Lewis Effect
Many teams over the years have been led by an inspirational/pied-piper character, but few have played a tune like LB Lewis, the monster in the middle of the Ravens defense for the last 17 seasons.
Lewis tore a triceps muscle back in Week 6, and looked like he might be out for the season. Instead, he returned just in time for Baltimore's playoff run, and leads the team with 25 tackles this postseason.
A month ago Lewis announced he would retire when this season ended. With the end in sight, the Ravens have won three playoff games in a row. And you know, his teammates would love nothing more than to send Brother Ray off into retirement with a second Super Bowl championship and they seem like a team of destiny.
The Older Brother Effect
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is a little more than a year older than brother Jim, San Francisco's head coach. And most older brothers own a career winning record over their younger brothers, whether it be in fist-fights, or in claiming “shotgun” for rides in the family car, in battles for the remote control or for the affection of the girl next door.
Older brother John certainly can't let kid brother Jim beat him in their biggest battle ever.
On the Field
OK, kidding aside, the Ravens have an excellent chance to win the Super Bowl because they've got good balance on offense, they'll hit you in the mouth on defense and their special teams are solid (outside of a couple burps vs. the Broncos).
QB Joe Flacco, the former Delaware Blue Hen, looked great against New England, throwing three TD passes in the tight quarters of the red zone, shutting up most of his critics.
The RB combo of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce has helped Baltimore run for 170, 155 and 121 yards in its three playoff victories.
And the defense just held the powerful Patriots to 13 points, zero in the second half.
The Ravens might be dogs on the Super Bowl betting line, but it won't be much of a surprise when it's they who are kissing the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night.
Unemployment Rates in Baltimore and San Francisco
OK, this is a bit of a stretch, but it's been a solid handicapping angle the past 25 years. It turns out that the team whose city boasts the lowest jobless rate has won 20 of the last 25 Super Bowls.
If that trend holds up, Baltimore would win, according to RiseSmart.com's analysis. "The 2012 unemployment rate for the Baltimore metropolitan area was 7.2 percent, compared to 8.2 percent for the San Francisco metropolitan area."