The 2017 NFL Season started with 32 teams just over 5 months ago, and after an exciting 266 games, only two teams remain. The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles have both entered Super Bowl LII in the easiest way possible by both clinching the number one seeds in their respective conferences and winning throughout the playoffs with home field advantage. The path is an all too familiar one for the Patriots as they attempt to prolong their dynasty lead by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, while the Eagles try to once again prove their doubters wrong by striving to win their third straight playoff game as underdogs. From a betting perspective, even though the Patriots opened as a 6-point favourite, a lack of public support will mean that they will most likely start as a 4.5-point favourite.
Including the playoffs, both teams own the best win-loss record in the league with 15-3, and also have the best ATS record with 12-6.
Undeniably, we can make a compelling case for either team to win the Super Bowl, but there are some objective stats and trends that bettors should keep in mind before they get started.
Why the Patriots will win/cover:
The Patriots are 13-0 SU & ATS in their last 13 matches as favourites of 7 points or less
The Patriots are 9-1 SU & ATS after failing to cover the spread the week before. The Patriots have failed to cover the spread in back to back matches only on one occasion in the last two seasons
The Patriots are 5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff games as favourites
Why the Eagles will win/cover
Underdogs are 9-7 SU, 12-4 ATS in the last 16 Super Bowls
Underdogs are 5-5 SU, 9-1 ATS in the playoffs this season
The Eagles are 4-1 SU & ATS in their last 5 games as underdogs
The Trend Bettor’s game pick:
5 units x Patriots win @ $1.52 (Ladbrokes)
It’s hard to believe that the best team in the league is led by a 40-year-old Quarterback, but that’s exactly what the Patriots are – the best team in the league. If you break it down, it doesn’t make sense as to why the Patriots are only a 4.5-point favourite against the Eagles on a neutral field when it was only a couple of games ago when the Falcons were a 3-point favourite on the road against the same opponent. With home field advantage generally considered to be 3 points in regular season games (some say it is worth 4 for such teams in the playoffs), this would make the Falcons a 6 to 7-point favourite on neutral field. From this notion alone, only two possible conclusions can be drawn; either the bookmakers rate the Falcons as a 2.5-point better team than the Patriots, which is not plausible in the slightest. Or Nick Foles has massively exceeded expectations. Assuming it is the latter, how much have we learned about Nick Foles in his last two games that we didn’t know from his previous 40 career NFL starts? In my opinion, not much. Prior to the season, if you were to rank all of the back-up quarterbacks in the league, Nick Foles would be in just about everybody’s top 5. There has been a huge public reaction to Nick Foles’ last two performances, and although they have been very impressive (especially in the NFC Championship game), this has bumped up the value of the Patriots in this matchup, particularly in the money line market. Super Bowl experience cannot be underestimated in this situation as it is just business as usual for New England, whereas going to the Super Bowl is all new to this current crop of Eagles players. To put it into perspective, Tom Brady has played in seven Super Bowls, which is as many as the entire Eagles roster combined.
So why aren’t I betting on the Patriots line I hear you ask? Well, there are a couple of reasons. One reason is that under the Belichick-Brady Era, Super Bowls involving the Patriots have been tightly contested. The biggest margin (win or loss) in any of the prior seven Super Bowls was 6 points against the Falcons last year. That’s right, the only Super Bowl to ever go to overtime is the biggest margin seen in Super Bowl involving the Patriots in this current dynasty. I don’t expect this to be easy for New England, as no Super Bowl or any championship game in any sport ever is, but experience and the greatest ever quarterback-coach duo will both prevail.
The Bet: 3 units x Highest Scoring Half – 2nd Half @ $1.95 (Bet365)
The Reason: In the last 20 Super Bowls, the 2nd halves have outscored the 1st half in 14 (and 1 tie) of them. When you combine this stat with the mind blowing fact that the Patriots have failed to score a singular first quarter point in any of their last 7 Super Bowls, this play makes too much sense. There is a tendency for teams to “feel each other out” and play a more conservative game plan early on, and play more aggressively in the second half when the nerves have settled down a little. I don’t see why this Super Bowl would be any different.
The Bet: 0.5 units x Tom Brady 300+ pass yards, Brady MVP, Amendola Anytime TD, Patriots 1-13 @ $11 (Sportsbet)
The Reason: In the Divisional round, the Patriots obviously came out with plan to throw the football against the Titans, throwing the football 53 times. The Titans conceded the 4th least rushing yards in the league in 2017, the Eagles play a similar style of defence and are ranked number 1. Bill Belichick is notorious for forcing their opponents to play “left handed”, meaning that he will do anything to not play to the opponent’s strengths, and I expect the Patriots to come out and throw the football right from the start.
As stated earlier in the game pick, I expect the Patriots will win in a close game, and while it is not impossible, it is hard to see Tom Brady not winning the MVP if the Patriots win, making it his 5th Super Bowl MVP from 6 victories.
Although Danny Amendola has only scored 4 receiving touchdowns this season, the winning touchdown in the AFC Championship game exemplifies just how much Tom Brady trusts his slot wide receiver in clutch moments. Amendola and Brady privately train together in the off-season, so there is little wonder as to why they have such great chemistry.
Throw these all together and there is definitely value @ $11.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the people who follow and interact with me, @TheTrendBettor, on twitter and to those who also take the time to read my weekly NFL previews. Hopefully I have provided you all with some insight into the NFL gambling world. Even in the weeks where some of the bets didn’t pay off, I hope that it was beneficial. I would also like to thank @OddyOddyOddy for allowing me to write for them during this NFL season and allowing me to expand my readership. Researching, writing, and sharing trends and gambling insights is a passion of mine, and everyone involved has made this entire experience that much more enjoyable. So, thank you, and enjoy the Super Bowl!