After four months of a regular season narrowed the field to 12, and three weeks of playoff action reduced it to the final two, the NFL championship game, better known as the Super Bowl, is just over a week away.
The Indianapolis Colts, champions of the American Football Conference, will play the New Orleans Saints, champions of the National Football Conference, at Sun Life (formerly Land Shark, Dolphins, Pro Player, and Joe Robbie) Stadium in suburban Miami next Sunday for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
But first, for the first time ever, the NFL will lead into Super Bowl week with the playing of the Pro Bowl, this Sunday also at Sun Life Stadium (7:20 pm Eastern, ESPN).
As of Wednesday night Oddsmaker.com is listing the NFC as a 1.5-point favorite over the AFC for Sunday’s Pro Bowl, with the OVER/UNDER pegged at 57.
But the lone remaining football game of this season that matters will be played next Sunday, Feb. 7. As of Wednesday evening Oddsmaker.com is chalking Indianapolis at -5.5 over New Orleans for next Sunday, with a total of 56.5.
Oddsmaker is also offering the Saints at +180 to win the game outright, with Indy giving -220 on the moneyline.
Three years ago the Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI in Miami for the franchise’s first league championship since the Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in an error-filled Super Bowl V, also in Miami at the Orange Bowl.
On the other side of this matchup, New Orleans has never played in a Super Bowl in its 43 seasons of existence.
Just before this season started the Colts were getting +800 at Oddsmaker.com to win the AFC championship and +1,500 to win the Super Bowl. And Indy cashed in on the first of those propositions last Sunday when they beat the New York Jets 30-17 to claim their conference title.
The Saints went off as a +1,200 choice this season at Oddsmaker.com to win the NFC championship, and at +1,500 to win the Super Bowl. And they provided their backers with winning wagers on the first count when they outlasted the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday in overtime 31-28 to win their first-ever conference crown.
Trendwise, the AFC has won five of the last six Super Bowls. But the favorites are just 5-3 straight-up and 2-6 against the pointspreads over the last eight Super Bowls.
Bettors will also want to check out the Super Bowl 44 propositions board at Oddsmaker.com, which will offer a variety of wagering opportunities on both the game itself and some of the happenings surrounding it.