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Giants Are Only Underdogs in Their Own Minds

Yet another sign that it isn't 2008 anymore

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    It's hard to see this guy as an underdog on Super Bowl Sunday.

    The Giants like playing the underdog.

    You saw that in the locker room after the Giants won the NFC Championship Game when Ann Mara, matriarch of the family that's owned at least part of the Giants since the day they came into existence, admonished Terry Bradshaw for picking against the team in all three of their playoff games.

    Giants players share Mrs. Mara's glee at being picked to lose games.

    "A lot of people haven't given us a shot, and I think we kind of like it that way," Justin Tuck said earlier this week. "So for all you oddsmakers out there, just keep rooting against us."

    Vegas installed the Patriots as favorites in the moments after the end of the Giants' win over the 49ers and they remain the favorites on Thursday, although the line has moved in the Giants' favor over the course of the week.

    So there's all the reason in the world for Tuck to keep playing the no one believes in us card, right?

    Not really. Vegas sets lines to encourage betting as much as they do it based on their true belief in who will win or lose a game, which means that a good part of their equation was picking a number that would get plenty of action on both sides of the line from the legions of Patriots and Giants fans looking to support their team while, hopefully, putting a little cash in their pocket.

    As it happens, oddsmakers have favored the Giants twice in their five-game winning streak and, of less interest to Tuck, favored the Giants in four of their regular season losses. At this point, Tuck has to cling to the betting lines to make any claims of bias against the Giants.

    Once you get outside of Vegas, it is hard to find anyone who actually thinks the Giants are underdogs in Super Bowl 46. The New York media is treating a Giants win like it is a fait accompli and many of the national pundits who have shared their picks are opting for the Giants.

    There's good reason for that. Any clear-headed analysis of the game finds that the Giants are equal to or better than the Patriots in just about every phase of the game, up to and including the matchups of quarterbacks and coaches that almost always goes in favor of New England.

    On a neutral field with no weather concerns, it is hard to come up with too many ways to wrap your head around the Giants being the plucky underdogs against a team that they've already beaten on the road this season.

    Athletes like to grab motivation wherever they can find it, but it comes off pretty ridiculous to hear Tuck and others try to play the underdog card while guys like Antrel Rolle are yelling into every microphone they see that the Giants can't possibly be beaten. 

    We get that everyone is turning this into a rematch of Super Bowl 42 when people legitimately thought there wasn't a chance that the Giants could beat the Patriots.

    It's not 2008, though, and the Giants are underdogs only in their own minds.

    That might be the only place that matters, although that doesn't make it ring any less hollow when those that believe it share it with the masses.

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