One Analysis: Season Statistics Show 49ers Are Big Favorites

No team with such a statistical advantage has lost a Super Bowl matchup in 43 years, says ACTA Sports

By Doug Williams
|  Thursday, Jan 31, 2013  |  Updated 11:18 AM PDT
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The 49ers have a heavy statistical advantage over the Ravens going into Sunday's Super Bowl. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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This Super Bowl is expected to be one of the most heavily-bet games in years.

Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have made the 49ers 4½-point favorites for the game featuring West Coast vs. East Coast, Brother vs. Brother and two physical defenses.

The original line favored San Francisco by five points, but interest in the Ravens – who’ve knocked off the Colts, Broncos and Patriots in consecutive weeks – has pushed the line down a half-point.

“The Ravens are the hot team now,” one Las Vegas bookmaker told the Associated Press this week. “They’re getting a lot of support from the public.”

Yet the Vegas oddsmakers aren’t the only numbers-crunchers to make the 49ers a favorite in Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII.

ACTA Sports, which specializes in stat-centric analysis of games and teams, has looked at the 49ers and Ravens and come up with a prediction that San Francisco is an “overwhelming” favorite.

ACTA has been wrong with its past two Super Bowl predictions, but overall its success rate is quite good. It has correctly predicted 16 of the past 22 games, a 73 percent success rate.

Essentially, it compares the teams’ statistical ranking in 12 categories, such as points scored, points allowed, point differential, turnover differential, etc. In each of these categories, the team that has the better stats has a better than 50 percent chance of winning, and in some cases (such as points allowed and opponent total yards per game), it’s a 63 and 65 percent chance.

All told, the 49ers rank higher than the Ravens in 10 of the 12 categories. The Ravens outrank the Niners only in points scored – they scored one more point this season – and they are tied in turnover differential.

Writes ACTA:

“Here’s the most significant aspect of this year’s prediction: Prior to this matchup, 10 Super Bowl teams had 10 or more of the 12 indicators in their favor. Nine of those 10 teams went on to win the game, most recently in the 2008-09 season when the Steelers beat the Cardinals. Interestingly, the one team that failed to win a game with a 10-category advantage was the first team with that advantage, the Vikings in the 1969-70 season.

“The Ravens will attempt to be the first team to beat those odds in 43 years.”

 

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