bet365 - Get Into the Game with Nigel Ridgway

The biggest sporting event in America - Sunday night is Super Bowl XXXVIII as 32 NFL teams have been whittled down to the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.

But who is going to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy?

The Patriots go into the game as 5/12 (+210) favourites on the back of an incredible run of fourteen straight victories. Who would have thought that this was possible after they crashed out 31-0 to Buffalo in the season's opener? It might be worth pointing out that last year's Champs, Tampa Bay, also lost their opening game before going on to win the title!

Their success is based on a superb defensive strategy by Coach Bill Belichick that has left even the most potent offence bamboozled. Richard Seymour, in particular, has been outstanding on the defensive line since taking over the role of team captain. Their offence is superbly marshalled by the ultra reliable Tom Brady, whose poise and calm means he rarely throws a game away. This is his chance to show just how far he has come since his caretaker role in Super Bowl XXXVIII. If New England's offensive can give Brady enough time, they should be able to exploit the flaws in Carolina's coverage schemes.

Carolina, not for the first time this season, are the underdogs at 21/10 (+210) - a situation they have revelled in all season. Pre-season they were not given a chance in the NFC South, which included the likes of Tampa and Atlanta, yet they took the division comfortably before disposing of Dallas, St Louis and Philadelphia in the play-offs. Again, hard to believe from a team that was 1-15 two seasons ago!

Coach John Fox certainly knows how to get every last ounce of his players, in return they would probably follow him off a cliff! The signing of Running Back Stephen Davis has paid off handsomely, resulting in a regular season total of 1,444 yards and eight touchdowns. Played sparingly since picking up a nagging injury in the win over St.Louis, he is reported to be 100% again and ready to make his mark on Sunday, backed up by DeShaun Foster they provide a considerable 1-2 punch!

The game will almost certainly be won or lost in defence. The Patriots will try to spread the defence, while the Panthers will do everything possible to take the tight end out of the game. Historically the team that allowed fewer points during the season has the better chance of winning, of course New England led the NFL in fewest points allowed. I'll take the Patriots to continue their winning streak and get their hands on the biggest prize in sport, but expect Carolina to take them all the way and cover the Handicap - New England 17, Carolina 14.

Sunday Feb 1 6:26 pm EST (CBS)

Bet365 Super Bowl XXXVIII Game Lines:
Point Spread/Game Totals/Money Line
CAR Panthers +7.0 20/21 (-105) O 37.5 20/21 (-105) 21/10 (+210)
NE Patriots -7.0 20/21 (-105) U 37.5 20/21 (-105) 5/12 (-240)

To mark the game, bet365 have 're-juiced' their lines from 20 cent down to a Dime Line! This is available on all Game, 1st and 2nd Half Lines, giving you a greater return for you money. To win $100 now you need only risk $105, compared to $110 on the old line.

bet365 will also be betting IN-RUNNING, as the action unfolds, on the big game. Markets will include: Spread or Money Line/Game Total; Team to Score Next; Next Scoring Play; and Next Quarter betting.

Enjoy the Game!

Nigel.

Please be aware that prices are subject to change

Nigel Ridgway, an experienced punter and betting shop owner of many years, believes that "The key to successful gambling is getting value for money." Nigel was once forced by local bookmakers, to stop writing a tipping column in a UK newspaper, because he was costing them a fortune.

Find out what offers and lines are hot at bet365.com.