NFL Super Bowl XLV Analysis 2011 Article — Super Bowl XLV Pittsburgh Steelers vs Green Bay Packers (February 2011)

We have looked at a variety of tools and analysis that can be used to capture value in the Super Bowl — and in this article, we will use these different tools — as’s own “panel of experts” for the Super Bowl. Included in our panel of experts are our regular sports analytical tools, including betting percentages, Smart Money triggers, and Steam Moves.  We’ll also take a look at what our Power Ratings say, along with factors researched in the book: “Who Will Win the Big Game?”The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.

Sports Investing, Value and the Super Bowl

What do SportsInsights’ regular indicators say?  As leaders in the sports information industry, provides its Members with a wealth of information and research.  Below is a list of some of our more popular and successful analytical tools:

  • Betting Percentage:  SportsInsights collects data from several online sportsbooks.  This data is available to its clients in the form of a historical database — as well as live odds for current games.  Our Members can review the betting percentages and see who the Public likes and hates. Research has shown that “Betting Against the Public” can yield an edge for contrarian sports bettors.
  • Smart Money:  Studying how the point spreads and lines move in relation to the betting percentages can sometimes help us to identify which way the “sharps” or “smart money” are betting.

These tools are particularly useful during the NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl, when more casual — and “Square” bettors are watching the “big game.”

NFL Playoff Power Rankings

Earlier in the NFL Playoff Season, we published our annual Power Rankings article.  Our rankings are based on factors and parameters that have proven to be useful in helping to predict NFL playoff winners in the past.  In particular, our power rankings are based on:

  • Strength of schedule
  • Overall performance (Points For / Points Against)
  • Defense
  • Performance against “quality” opponents

Our Power Rankings can be used to see which team has the higher likelihood of winning a game, even ATS (against the spread).  For the upcoming Super Bowl, our Power Ratings favor the Green Bay Packers.  

Super Bowl Factors – Psychological and Mathematical

Based on research from the book Who Will Win the Big Game? (A Psychological & Mathematical Method) — some of the strongest factors related to success and “peak performance” in the Super Bowl (and all major sports) include:

  • Recent experience in the Super Bowl
  • Better defense (Points Against)
  • Consistency factors (such as defense or running game)
  • Team with fewer interceptions during the regular season
  • Confidence (More double-digit wins)

This research is based on every Super Bowl to date — and the analysis was published in the New York TimesIn combination, the authors state that the key “psychological measures” they studied would yield about a 75% winning percentage.  Note that this is a “straight-up” victory, with no point spread.  However, these factors do have “positive value” ATS (against the spread) as well as “straight-up.”  Conservatively, this would translate to just under 60%, against the spread.

Super Bowl Scorecard

So what do all of these tidbits of information say about this year’s Super Bowl?

Factor Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers
NFL Marketwatch Steelers
Betting Percentage n/a n/a
Line Value Steelers
Smart Money Packers (early sharp money)
Steam Move n/a n/a
Power Ranking Packers
Experience Steelers
Consistency – Running Game Steelers
Confidence Steelers
Defense Steelers
Fewer Interceptions Steelers
TOTAL 7 factors 2 factors


We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist. It is impossible to predict the future. Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time. Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself. We do not guarantee our data is error-free. However, we’ve tried our best to make sure every score and percentage is correct.