Expect Steelers Win, But Traders Say ‘Take the Points’

A Traders Magazine poll on Super Bowl XLIII reports that 58 percent think the Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) will defeat the Arizona Cardinals (12-7) in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday. The poll conducted yesterday allowed participants to not only pick the winner, but also to select the number of points that will separate the two teams–the spread.

Last year’s poll, Traders Magazine’s first annual, surprised many when 19 percent boldly predicted that the New York Giants–a 12-point underdog–would defeat the New England Patriots by 3 points or less. The Giants won 17-14 in a thriller that was decided in the last minute.

What gems can be gleaned from the institutional trading community in this year’s poll?


For starters, 57 percent say the game will be decided by 7 points or less, so they expect a close contest. (The spread offered by Las Vegas odds makers has fluctuated between 6.5 and 7 points, favoring the Steelers.)

There was also little difference of opinion between the sellside and buyside on the outcome. The two groups collectively represented 83 percent of the poll.

Roughly, 57 percent of the sellside predicts a Steelers victory, while the buyside’s tally comes in slightly lower at 55 percent for Pittsburgh. The poll’s makeup was sellside (45 percent), buyside (38 percent), vendors (5 percent), exchanges (3 percent) and other (9 percent).

Exactly 42 percent say the Cardinals will win the game outright–without the benefit of getting any points. In all, 30 percent of the entire poll said the Cards will win by 7 points or less.

The majority of those polled who favor the Cards expect a tight game. About 70 percent who favor Arizona think the final score will be within a touchdown and an extra point.

Despite the Cards high-powered offense, which averaged 27 points and nearly 300 yards passing per game this season, only 12 percent predict the Cardinals will win by more than 8 points.

This is an intriguing stat because it is clearly the outlier, compared to the following groupings, which are bunched and close: 30 percent think the Cards will win by 7 points or fewer; 27 percent think the Steelers will win by 7 points or fewer; and 31 percent think the Steelers will win by more than 8 points (roughly half of this group believes the defensive-minded Steelers will win by 14 points or more.).

Those favoring the Steelers are undoubtedly factoring in the team’s stingy defense, which has allowed just under 14 points per game, along with 80 yards rushing and 157 yards passing.

Early indications show that gamblers like what they see in the Arizona Cardinals. About 58 percent of the bets placed are on the Arizona Cardinals, taking the 7 points, according to thespread.com, an Internet site that tracks betting. The betting line opened with the Steelers as a 6.5 point favorite, before inching up to 7 points, the site reported. Some spreads have narrowed back to the original 6.5 points, some online sites report this morning.

If a pro football handicapper were to use the Traders Magazine poll as a guide and a 7-point spread, he’d know that 69 percent polled expect the Arizona Cardinals to win Super Bowl XLIII–that’s either outright or with the points. Consequently, the Traders Magazine poll leans more to the Cardinals than the actual number of bets in the greater U.S., which show 58 percent favoring Arizona.