Who'll Win the Super Bowl? The Channel Knows

Super BowlWith more than $100 million expected to be officially wagered on the outcome of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLVII and countless more bet in office pools, bar grids and private party games, any edge at all in gauging the outcome is bound to be helpful.

The latest Las Vegas line has the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers as four-point favorites over the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens. Of course, this savvy advice comes from the same great odds-making minds that last year brought you the New York Giants as 3.5-point underdogs to the New England Patriots. We all know how that turned out. The Giants won, by four points, 21-17. Not to mention, Vegas had the Baltimore Colts as 18 point favorites over the ultimately victorious New York Jets back in 1969.

In fact, the Vegas sports books have been flat-out wrong with their straight-up picks 13 times since the first Super Bowl in 1967. So if you’re looking for an edge this Sunday, you might just look to the IT channel for your prediction, which has a pretty decent track record for indicating Super Bowl winners since 2000.

The method works something like this: In a year when the past 12 months in IT services spending trends up, the NFC team tends to win. When IT services spending trends down, it’s a good year to side with the AFC. Specifically, the IT services number has ticked up in seven of the last 13 years with the NFC winning five of those Super Bowls. The sector’s growth has trended down in six years since 2000 and the AFC has won all but one of those games.

Super Bowl ChartThe notable exceptions were in 2007, when IT services spending ticked up 4 percent while the AFC’s Indianapolis Colts fulfilled Peyton Manning’s destiny by trouncing Chicago 29-17. The predictor also came up short in 2004 when the Patriots beat a 7 percent services upswing and edged the Carolina Panthers, 32-29, and again in 2008 when the Giants defied a modest services downturn to beat the Partiots, 17-14. For the record, the Vegas guys went 2 for 3 on those games.

That puts the accuracy of the IT Services/Super Bowl predictor at just shy of 77 percent; better than the Vegas professionals’ success rate of 72 percent. That means the channel number should only have been wrong about 10 times in the history of the big game versus the 13 actual failed guesses by the odds makers.

All of this would indicate that, with IT services spending estimated to show a 4 percent increase over the past 12 months (exact figures are still being compiled), the San Francisco 49ers seem like a comfortable favorite to take the title, according to the sage wisdom and innate intelligence of the channel.

Of course, there are other offbeat indicators that could come into play, even some that don’t account for the chances of the retiring Raven’s defensive superstar Ray Lewis having an unprecedented game to cap his Hall of Fame career.

The outplacement firm RiseSmart Inc. tracks jobless numbers nationally and has discovered that the team from the city with the lower employment rate has won 20 of the last 25 Super Bowls. Currently, Baltimore has a jobless rate of 7.2 percent compared to 8.2 percent in San Francisco. Good news for well-employed Ravens fans.

Still, the RiseSmart prediction only has a slightly better track record at 80 percent than the channel indicator. So from an IT service provider’s perspective, 2012 was another good year for business, and the 49ers are a lock on Super Sunday.

Unless the Ravens win. Then it’s just football.


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