Most evenly matched Super Bowls ever

  • Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, left and Eli Manning of the New York Giants. Getty Images
    Tom Brady and Eli Manning

    Will Super Bowl XLVI be a close game?

    The New England Patriots and New York Giants will clash in Super Bowl XLVI this Sunday and if you believe Las Vegas, it's one of the most evenly matched title games ever. Depending on the casino, the Patriots are listed as a 2.5 or 3-point favorite.

    Complete coverage: Super Bowl XLVI

    That's about as low a spread as you'll find in Super Bowl history. In fact, only 11 Super Bowls ever have had a point spread of 3 points or less at kickoff and only two big games since 1988 have had such a small margin.

    However, a small point spread doesn't usually portend a close game. Only one such game (Super Bowl V in 1971) actually had a final score with a margin of 3 points or less. And only four of the 11 "evenly matched" Super Bowls ended with a final score point differential of less than 10 points. In fact, five of the 11 "evenly matched" games have been blowouts, with the victor winning by at least 17 points.

    So if history is any indication, the Patriots-Giants game may be deemed close on paper but the actual game may not be close at all. That said, last year's Super Bowl (in which the Packers were a 2.5 favorite over the Steelers) was an exception. Green Bay won a nail biter, 31-25.

    Click the scroll bar above to see the other 11 Super Bowls that had a point spread of 3 points or less - and how the game actually unfolded.