Hartley Proves His Worth

Before the Super Bowl I was saying that the Colts had the kicking advantage, but that Hartley looked like he could become a great kicker with another great playoff performance.

He already had a 40 yard field goal in overtime versus the Minnesota Vikings.

We have seen so many times in these playoffs that there are plenty of good kickers who can play well all season but fail utterly under pressure. But there are only an elite few who can maintain that consistency through the playoffs.

The Colts have two kickers like that, Matt Stover and Adam Vinatieri.

And now the Saints have one in Garrett Hartley.

Hartley was a perfect 3/3 on field goals hitting from 44, 46 and 47 yards.

He won’t get the credit and attention that Drew Brees and Tracy Porter get. But put Hartley on another team, say the San Diego Chargers, and it’s a completely different post-season.

There aren’t many kickers who can deal with the NFL playoffs pressure, but the Saints have one who can in Hartley.

Despite winning the Super Bowl, the Saints are just +900 in 2011 Super Bowl odds while the Colts are favored at +700.

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Super Bowl Field Goal

Super Bowl Field Goal

Matt Stover at age 42 and Garrett Hartley at age 23 sit at opposite ends of their careers.

Stover is the oldest player to ever play in a Super Bowl and has made 471 field goals in the regular season and already has two Super Bowl rings to his credit.

Hartley has made just 22 field goals, but he already has one high pressure score to his credit. He made a 40-yarder in over-time against the Minnesota Vikings to send New Orleans to the Super Bowl in Miami.

Right now the edge has to go to Indianapolis with Stover. The over/under for the number of points each kicker gets clearly reflects this.

Stover’s total is 8. Hartley’s is 6.5.

Hartley could establish himself as a clutch championship-caliber kicker with another big game.

Hartley has averaged 8.0-points in two post-season games and 7.4-points a game over the regular season while Stover has averaged 10.0 points in the playoffs and 5.6 points in the regular season.

Judging by those stats, the over on Hartley looks like a good bet unless you think he’s going to choke.

In both cases you should bet over if you think they’re going to get two field goals, because they both can expect 3-4 points from touchdown conversions.

The only problem is that these two offense tend to score touchdowns when they get close to the end-zone and their defenses aren’t spectacular.

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