To Vegas, game evenly matched

- By Gary Graves USA TODAY

The New York Giants’ major upset in Super Bowl XLII four years ago might explain why Sunday’s rematch vs. the New England Patriots could feature the tightest point spread in 30 years.

The Giants, who toppled the unbeaten Patriots 17-14 after entering as 12½-point underdogs, are three-point underdogs in Indianapol­is. That’s a half-point drop from the opening line after the conference title games, reflecting wagering for New York as well as Las Vegas oddsmakers’ belief the game is evenly matched.

While the spread won’t be as low as that of Super Bowl XVI, in which the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals as one-point favorites, the possibilit­y remains for the lowest line since. With most of the wagering yet to come, oddsmakers think it could threaten the record $94 million bet on Super Bowl XL between the Pittsburgh Steelers (four-point favor- ites) and Seattle Seahawks.

“We’ve lowered the total (over/under) line to 54½ (from 55), but we’re keeping the line at three,” Caesars Palace senior sports book analyst Todd Fuhrman said Sunday. “Trends are coming in on the Giants, but I don’t think it’ll get that far (toward pick ’ em). But if the number comes down, you might see more money coming for the Patriots.”

This year’s line, the fourth field goal spread in a Super Bowl, is the result of several factors. Besides the Giants’ upset in 2008, they have won six in a row and were the last team to beat the Patriots, winning 24-20 in Foxborough, Mass., as ninepoint underdogs in Week 9.

“After both teams played, the Patriots didn’t look as good as we thought and the Giants looked a lot better than we thought,” said Bob Scucci, director of race and sports books for Boyd Gaming, which operates nine properties in Las Vegas. “So we adjusted the line a little bit. We may not have adjusted it quite enough.”

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