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Added February 2nd, 2010 by David Glisan

Superbowl Betting:  Buyback on the Saints?

Ever since sportsbooks posted the opening line for Superbowl betting  shortly after the Conference championship games ended, money has been coming in on the Colts.  Indy opened a -3′ point favorite and have been taking action ever since with the line moving to -5′ and even -6 at some books.  In the past 24 hours, however, there’s been some buyback on the Saints.

So far its not what I’d characterize as a huge move in the other direction, but most offshore books have moved their number 1/2 point the other way.  It’s not an across the board move at this point–for example, Bookmaker has moved their line from -5′ to -5 but Bodog is still at -6.  At the very least it appears that the line movement based on Indy money has crested for the time being.  In other words, if you’re interested in playing the Colts you might want to wait and see what happens at this point as you might get a more favorable price on your play.  On the other hand, if you’re wanting to back the Saints you might want to lock in the best price you can find while you’re getting maximum line value.  I’ll have my analysis and wagering positions ready later in the week, but were I thinking about betting on New Orleans I’d be heading over to Bodog right now and locking in that +6 while its still available.

Why is the line moving now?  It’s not unusual for the Superbowl favorite to take the early action with the underdog getting buyback closer to game time.  In this case, its also likely a result of the media reports on Dwight Freeney’s ankle injury.  He’s been listed as ‘questionable’ with a high ankle sprain on the official injury report, but more recent information has cast his injury in a more dire light.  Reportedly, Freeney has a torn ligament in his ankle which makes it highly unlikely that he’ll play at all and certainly not anywhere close to 100%.

On Monday, Colts’ coach Jim Caldwell all but conceded that Freeney wouldn’t play saying:

“He hasn’t been practicing, so if he’s not practicing, we are preparing to not have him,” Caldwell told reporters after arriving in South Florida. “If he can’t go, we’ll do some rotations, and Raheem [Brock] will be a big part of that.”

So how significant is the potential absence of Freeney?  Pretty significant, at least in terms of the Colts’ pass rush.  Freeney is arguably the team’s best defensive player and was third in the NFL this season with 13.5 sacks.

Even if the news alone didn’t result in money coming in on the Saints it could have pushed players that had planned to back New Orleans all along off the sidelines.  Most likely they’re of the opinion that the line had moved as far in their favor as it was going to, and it was time to put their chips into the pot.  Keep in mind that the potential that the Colts could have to play without Freeney has been known all along and was, to some extent, factored into the line.  Freeney’s absence would be significant, but were I already looking to play the Colts I’m not sure it would have be changing my position on the game.  If you’re looking to play the Saints, however, I’d strongly suggest you finding the best price available now and making your bet.  I don’t expect to see any +6 prices such as the one currently available at Bodog after the next 24 hours if not sooner.

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