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NFL Picks Against the Spread: 2011 Super Bowl and Prop Bets

Updated from Feb. 1 with additional Super Bowl prop bets.

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- With Super Bowl XLV five days away, experts at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas suggest there will be a drain in worker productivity leading up to the big game. I couldn't be more thrilled if this article will contribute to that slacking off.

I had my second perfect week of the playoffs with correct picks against the spread for the AFC and NFC championship games on Jan. 23. My playoff record against the spread is 8-2, which puts my overall record for this season at 50-44, with one tie. My success rate is 52.6%, shy of the magical 53% threshold. A bettor typically needs to win 53% of his or her bets in order to profit, based on the idea that you have to wager 110 units in order to win 100 units.

A winning pick against the spread for Super Bowl XLV, which has the Green Bay Packers favored by 2.5 points over the Pittsburgh Steelers, would push me over the 53% threshold and allow me to end the season in the money. Sadly, I've lost my shot at a perfect 11-0 run.

The same cannot be said about Paul Bessire, the general manager and creator of the Web site PredictionMachine.com, who is a perfect 10-0 in the playoffs so far. The Prediction Machine is a quantitative way to break down NFL games as it simulates each contest 50,000 times to come up with a pick against the spread. So far, the model has gone 8-0 in the playoffs.

How profitable would a 10-0 run in the playoffs be if you were in Vegas during the NFL playoffs? If you placed $50 on the first playoff game this season and just kept letting your winnings ride, that $50 would have turned into $38,400. So what is Bessire's matchup analysis between the Packers and Steelers?

"While luck usually comes from turnovers, especially when the two teams are otherwise evenly matched, balance is critical to success," Bessire says. "In this case, balance does not necessarily mean that a team must pass as often as it runs, but that it must find the right mix of decisions to exploit the other team's weaknesses while hiding its own."

With that, let's tackle (no pun intended) Super Bowl XLV and figure out why the Packers, the NFC's sixth seed with a regular season record of 10-6, are favored by nearly a field goal against the Steelers, the AFC's second seed with a 12-4 regular season record. Once again, my pick against the spread is for entertainment purposes only. And as always, I've enlisted the help of PredictionMachine.com's Paul Bessire.

I've also collected commentary on the big game from Bookmaker.com CEO Mickey Richardson. His analysis focuses on the spread movement by his oddsmakers and a look at where the public and professional money is moving before the game. These are necessary tools for bettors on the hunt for inefficiencies and value based on betting trends.

Also, please join TheStreet as we live-blog the Super Bowl on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. ET. I'll be joined by several colleagues as we break down the biggest gambling moments of the game and critique some of the blockbuster commercials set to air during breaks in the action.

Now, before we get to my pick against the spread for Super Bowl XLV, let's first take a look at some of the funniest and most intriguing prop bets for the big game.
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