This is part 4 in our week-long Super Bowl deep dive on the betting aspects of Super Bowl 53. In PA and can’t bet online yet? That’s cool, find out when you can here, or just read the piece for an insightful, numbers-based preview of the game. On Monday, we covered Super Bowl prop bets. Tuesday, the over-under Yesterday, why the Rams can win and cover. That brings us to why the Patriots–the team EVERYBODY (yawn) has counted out–can win and cover.
I’m well aware that the Rams have scored 32.4 points per game this season, that Aaron Donald may be football’s most disruptive force, and that the Rams overcame a 13-0 deficit on the road in a hostile environment to knock off the Super Bowl favorite Saints, but this the Patriots we’re talking about here. New England has scored 78 points in two playoff games and there is a reason the Patriots are playing in their ninth Super Bowl in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era–because they’re the greatest quarterback and coach duo of all-time. Ever. Period.
Blown away by this stat…
Brady will have more Superbowl appearances (9) than road playoff games (8) after Sunday
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) January 31, 2019
Certainly, there are several different layers to this game, but I’m finding it difficult to get beyond this question:
Is Tom Brady, a year after losing to Nick Foles and the Eagles, seriously going to get back to this game only to lose to Jared Goff?
Truthfully, this game will come down to more than just quarterback play, but even beyond it, there are still tons of trends and angles to like about the Patriots in this game, including that they are red-hot on the offensive side. They have averaged 30 first downs (!), converted 56.8% on third-down (!) and 76.5% in the red zone, and averaged 38.7 points per game (!) over their previous three games. Now they’re going up against a Los Angeles defense that has allowed 30 or more points on seven different occasions this season. That’s outrageous. No doubt the Rams have a ton of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which they keep this New England offense in check.
Rising to the Occasion
The underdog Rams enter the Super Bowl with a 15-3 record, superior to the Patriots’ 13-5 mark, but that might actually work in New England’s favor. The team with the better record has won only 4 of the previous 13 Super Bowls (the Patriots and Eagles each entered at 15-3 last season). Unsurprisingly, the Patriots have had success against quality opponents. In his career, Brady is 80-53-6 ATS (60.2%) against teams over .500. Over the previous three seasons, Brady is 19-7 SU against teams with winning records. Because the Rams are an elite team, let’s take the numbers a step further. Brady quarterbacked teams are also 44-32-4 ATS (58%) against opponents with at least a .750 winning-percentage, including 6-4 ATS over the last three seasons.
High Totals Mean High Cover Rates
Those backing the Patriots should be feeling good with the current total set at 56.5 and within striking distance of becoming the highest in Super Bowl history. Why? Because New England has been outstanding over the last three seasons when the total closes greater than or equal to 49.5. The Patriots are 14-5 ATS in such games during that time frame, meaning they typically perform well in expected shootouts (just ask the Chiefs).
Reading the Line
This game essentially opened as a pick ‘em at most sportsbooks, but with money aggressively pouring in on the Patriots in the early going, oddsmakers quickly adapted and made New England at most shops either a 2 or 2.5-point favorite. While I don’t like being with the overwhelming and perhaps historic public favorite in such a heavily bet game (I actually hate it), Super Bowl teams that have had the line move in their favor are 8-5 ATS the previous 13 times this has occurred. For a larger sample, playoff teams that have seen the line move in its favor are 70-52-4 ATS over the previous 15 seasons.
Here’s another thing to like about the Patriots with this line. In their previous eight games when favored by three points or less, New England is both 6-2 SU and ATS. In fact, Brady has performed well ATS in games with short lines throughout his career. He’s 23-15-2 ATS in games he’s favored by three points or less, including 4-2 ATS in the playoffs. He’s also 6-3 in the playoffs in games when he’s favored by four points or less.
This probably doesn’t come as a revelation, but it’s so difficult to find unflattering situational or historic trends with this team. Playing good teams or bad teams, short spreads or big spreads, favorite or dog–doesn’t matter. They’re teflon.
At Home in the Dome?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week that he doesn’t know if the roof will be closed during the game, but this is something to keep a close eye on as we move closer to kickoff. Tom Brady has excelled since the 2003 season in dome games (surprise!), going 14-7 SU and 12-8-1 ATS. He was also decent in a dome game before 2003:
16 years ago today, the Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Without any timeouts, Brady led the team down the field to set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal as time expired.
It was New England's first Super Bowl championship.
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) February 3, 2018
The Market and Where to Bet the Patriots
I strongly advise that prospective bettors take advantage of the different promotions and free bet offers at the various legal New Jersey sportsbooks. Always compare the different offerings before locking in your plays. Lines and prices often vary across the board, and just like with any purchase, it’s important to get the best deal possible. If you’re looking to take the Patriots, I suggest heading to FanDuel where you can grab them at -2 (-115). If you’re taking the Patriots on the moneyline, grab them with FanDuel at -132. If you’re new to FanDuel, you can get either team at 53-1 odds. A moneyline play on the Patriots might not be a bad idea given the close nature of the Patriots’ Super Bowl appearances in the Brady/Belichick era, but it’s worth noting that the winner of the game has also covered on 44 occasions. Just something to think about.
Full disclosure: We are an affiliate of legal New Jersey sports betting sites, so we may receive a commission if you use our links.