Colts favored in Super Bowl

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The NFL is down to the final game of the 2009-2010 season; Super Bowl XLIV (that’s 44, as Papa Joe would say, for all you non-Romans out there). On one side, we’ve got the Indianapolis Colts, champions of the AFC, led by a man-machine at quarterback, winners of this game three years ago. On the other side we’ve got the New Orleans Saints, offensive-minded, champions of the NFC, playing on the big stage for the first time.

Those two teams will decide the championship of the professional football world Sunday night (6:25 Eastern, CBS)

Ten days ago, Oddsmaker.com was listing the Colts at -5.5 over the Saints, with the total set at 56.5. Indy was also being offered at -210 on the Oddsmaker.com moneyline, with New Orleans getting +175. And all those numbers held steady until Wednesday, when the Colts were dropped to -5 on the betting line and -200 on the moneyline, with the Saints getting +170. And that’s where things sat as of Thursday morning.

Those who took either Indianapolis or the Saints to win Super Bowl 44 back in September at Oddsmaker.com got ’em both at +1,500. And those who backed Indy before the season started to win the AFC cashed in at +800, while those who took New Orleans to win the NFC got +1,200 on their money.

Indianapolis is 16-2 straight up and 12-5-1 against the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads this season. They started 14-0, won the AFC South, clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, then famously (or rather, “infamously”) benched a bunch of starters, and lost twice, thus forfeiting a chance at NFL immortality.

But in the playoffs the Colts kicked both the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets to win their second AFC championship in the last four years.

New Orleans is 15-3 SU and 9–9 ATS this season. The Saints started 13-0, won the NFC South, clinched HFA in the NFC playoffs, then lost their last three regular-season games. But in the playoffs, helped along by an opportunistic defense, New Orleans grounded the Arizona Cardinals and outlasted the Minnesota Vikings in overtime to win its first-ever conference championship.

The big injury news of the week surrounds Indy DE Dwight Freeney, who tore ligaments in his ankle late in the AFC title game. His status for Sunday is still up in the air, and is probably the main reason for the line movement of this week.

These two teams last met in Week 1 of the 2007 season, when Indy pounded the Saints 41-10. The Colts picked off New Orleans QB Drew Brees twice that Thursday night, and the Saints’ only touchdown came on a fumble return.

New Orleans is 9-9 on the totals this season, even though Saints games have averaged a healthy 54 points. Indy is 10-8 on the totals, as Colts games have averaged 44 points.

Since the NFC won 13 straight Super Bowls from 1985-1997, the AFC has won nine of the last 12, and five of the last six.

Oddsmaker.com is also offering lines and totals on the Super Bowl by quarters and halves, and is challenging bettors with many dozens of Super Bowl proposition bets, some of the crazy variety.

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