The greatest challenge in sports handicapping is trying to decipher the Super Bowl. Every year, the best team in the AFC and the best team in the NFC come together for one 60-minute game to decide who gets the glory. What makes the game so difficult to handicap is each team has two weeks to prepare, which gives them the opportunity to develop a game plan that is unlike any other game plan they used during the regular season or earlier playoff games.
Aside from 500+ proposition bets (discussed later), the handicapper has two options, try to select the winner or bet on the total. To pick a winner, the handicapper is going to have to consider two things.
- Does one team have any categorical advantages they could exploit that could lead to victory.
- Try to anticipate what kind of game plan changes the two coaches might implement.
The line on this game opened with the Rams favored by a single point. The early betting action drove the Patriots to favoritism by 2.5 points. To this handicapper, the game is that close. The linemakers have it right. Statistically, neither team has an advantage on offense or defense. The only possible caveat is the questionable health of Rams RB Todd Gurley III. For most of the season, he put up All-Pro numbers. In the playoffs, he has been sharing time with power runner C.J. Anderson. It doesn’t make sense unless Rams management is protecting Gurley while he plays through some type of injury. Normally, something like this would give the Patriots an advantage. However, Anderson has played well enough to mitigate any possible plus on the Pats side.
The line’s two small, the teams are too close. Pass the game and look at the total.
To play the total, a handicapper has to figure out what the pace of the game will be. In the AFC semis and conference championship games, the Patriots scored 41 and 37 points respectively. In both games, they score early and put the pressure on the opposing teams. Again, in both games, the opposing team rallied to help take the games over the totals. While the Rams defense is much better that the KC Chiefs, it’s actually a little worst that the LA Chargers (there are the Pats last two opponents). Aside from playing against a little better pass rush, there is no reason to believe QB Tom Brady can’t strike early and often against the Rams defense.
Over its last five games, the Rams have averaged 33 PPG. At times the defense played well this year, but there’s a caveat. They only played a top 10 offense on three occasions (New Orleans twice, Kansas City). In those three games, they gave up 40 PPG.
This handicapper put these lines at PK and 61.5. The total is exposed and too low. The play for this year’s Super Bowl is the Over 57 (Final Score: New England 38 – Los Angeles 31)
For bettors who enjoy betting on Super Bowl Prop bets, here’s 10 bets worth considering.
Total TDs for game – both teams (play over 7.5 TDs at around +163 odds)
Will there be overtime? (play yes at around +650 odds)
Will there be an on sides kick attempt? (play yes at around +160 odds)
Total Combined TD yardage (play over 87.5 yards at around -180 odds)
New England Patriots Total 3rd down conversions (play over 5.5 at around -190 odds)
New England Patriots Total TDs in Game (play 4 at 3-1 odds)
New England Patriots Total TDs in Game (play 5 at 5-1 odds)
Total Points Scored for Game (play 64-70 at 5.4-1 odds)
Total Points Scored for Game (play 71-77 at 8-1 odds)
Who Will Have More Passing Yards? (play Tom Brady -7.5 at +107 odds)