Super Bowl LIII: The major markets analysed

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SUPER BOWL LIII arrives from Atlanta on Sunday night as the New England Patriots face Los Angeles Rams. We've asked all four of expert NFL contributors to provide their analysis covering a range of key markets ahead of the big showdown. 

New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams | Sunday 3rd February 2019, 22:30

February has arrived, and biggest sports event of the year is on the horizon.

Super Bowl LIII sees New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams locks horns in Atlanta and we've asked our four expert NFL analysts to share their betting opinion on the markets that matter. Enjoy.

The Handicap by Jay Tremblay (@SportsM0ney)

The Patriots have been the standard for over a decade and are used to being “the hunted”. Meanwhile, the Rams spent a ridiculous amount of money to put together the talent they have on this roster and the goal for this team was Super Bowl or bust. Mission accomplished, with a bit of help from the officiating crew last week in New Orleans that is.

Let’s be realistic, the NFL benefits immensely from seeing their new LA franchise make it all the way, the fan base in LA is so broad, often LA home games aren’t home games at all when teams like the Packers or Cowboys come to visit. This will boost their profile in LA immensely and should they win, you can expect a whole flood of LA Rams fans to pop up for next season. This means increased revenue via ticket sales, merch and all that comes with a Super Bowl win in a major market city.

Thankfully, the betting public has been extremely one-sided in jumping on the “popular” play, as currently the Patriots are receiving a staggering 79% of total bets and 80% of total dollars ($) wagered.

I like the LA Rams to cover the handicap. However, I prefer to land on the key number of (+3.0), just in case we see a late field goal attempt. Stats don’t hold as much value at this point, as both teams are coming in well prepared and rested with two weeks in between their last game and a ton of time to study and game plan for their opponent. Expect some tricks and new, creative looks from both sides here.

The LA Rams (+3) is currently available at Unibet around 3/4, a bit shorter than I’d like but with Super Bowl approaching, it’s very possible for us to see some influential money comeback in on the Rams and this line could move to LA Rams +2.0 closer to kick off.

It’s worth nothing that the Rams opened at -1.0 when the lines were first released at CRIS, and even they were surprised to see the “avalanche of Patriots money” come in as their lead oddsmaker put it.

Most books will need the Rams to cover and win outright and that is the side I’d prefer to be in line with when we are talking about the highest betting volume game of the calendar year and a large discrepancy in terms of bets and dollars ratio.

Best Bets

Super Bowl LIII – LA Rams +3 (3/4 Unibet)

Touchdowns by Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn)

Right, let’s take a look at the Anytime Touchdown market for this match-up.

The usual suspects sitting at odds-on prices – RBs Todd Gurley and Sony Michel – are justifiably there given that they’re the focal points of their offense and produce week in and week out. Gurley has four TDs in his last three games and Michel has five in his last two, but I can’t bring myself to touch them at those prices.

From the Patriots side of things, there’s one player who has yet to find the end zone during this year’s post-season, but has been a clutch player for them before and is primed to do so again; James White.

White has scored four TDs in each of the last two play-off runs and clearly remains a very important part of New England’s game plan. After drawing a blank in their last two games, I think White scores in the biggest game of them all at 8/5 (Betfair).

My other considerations for New England were Phillip Dorsett and James Develin, both at much larger prices than White. Dorsett has scored in each of his last three games and has had a bigger role in the offense since Josh Gordon left, but he just doesn’t see enough targets for me.

Develin, on the other hand, seriously tempted me being as big as 14s in some places. His scoring opportunities will be limited to the goal line, but he has scored four times this season. I may well have a tiny stake on him, but he’s been so effective as a lead blocker lately he’ll probably be doing more of that unless the Rams stop it.

The Rams are the more troublesome team for scorers due to them morphing between rush heavy and pass heavy, and then spreading the ball around a lot when they are passing. It was surprising to see that they’ve had only one passing TD across their play-off games this season and that was to Tyler Higbee who’d scored just once all season before that.

You could take your pick of the three WRs in Cooks, Woods and Josh Reynolds as they are all likely to see the ball a good number of times either through the air or on jet sweeps.

For me, I’m going with the guy who came a half yard short of a TD last week in Reynolds (21/10 Betfair). I think you’ll see the Patriots #2 CB with safety help on Cooks – much like they did to Hill last week – and then Stephon Gilmore, who’s been phenomenal this year, will shadow Woods, leaving Reynolds on the players lower down the depth chart. He should have his opportunities and is a nice price to go for.

Best Bets

Super Bowl LIII – James White to score a touchdown at anytime (8/5 Betfair)

Super Bowl LIII – Josh Reynolds to score a touchdown at anytime (21/10 Betfair)

Request-A-Bets by Kyle Brown (@KyleIanBrown)

There is definite value to be found within the Request-a-Bet market, which thankfully means I can avoid having to pick this year’s champion – even with a gun to my head I don’t think I could confidently separate these sides.

Both teams to score points in every quarter (4/1 Sky Bet)

I like the look of both teams to score points in every quarter: priced at 4/1. In 16 regular season matches this year, plus two play-off games, the Patriots only failed to score in 10 of the 72 quarters of football (excluding overtime). The Rams, with the same number of games, only failed to score in eight of them.

It’s the #1 (Patriots) v #2 (Rams) in terms of post-season ranked offenses, with the Rams averaging 28 points per-game to the Patriots 39. Over the course of the regular season, that high-scoring trend continued, the Patriots #4 with 27.3 and the Rams #2 with 32.9.

Through the full 18 games played, they are both averaging more than a touchdown per quarter: sensational numbers. Both sides have playmaking weapons on offense; Brady, Goff, Gurley and Edelman, to name a few, and each have two of the brightest offensive coaching minds in the game currently – Sean McVay and Josh McDaniels.

All of this considered, I anticipate a high scoring, non-stop scoring affair, and all going to plan then the points will spread themselves evenly across the four quarters.

Brady and Goff 300+ yards & each team 4+ touchdowns (6/1 Sky Bet)

Secondly, but similarly, Brady and Goff 300+ yards each and each team 4+ touchdowns is priced at a tasty looking 6/1. Based off the previous analysis, a gung-ho, offense heavy Super Bowl would suit this R.A.B. to a tee.

Brady posted 300+ yards in each of his pla-yoff appearances this season, and while the same cant be said for Goff, he is up against a defence who is much stronger against the run (#11) than the pass (#22).

The limelight is well and truly on the two QB’s, but both are vastly different. Goff is 24 and Brady is 41. Goff was the number one overall pick whereas Brady was the 199th. Goff holds the record for the quickest length of time a QB take first overall has reached a Super Bowl, but Brady holds just about every other Super Bowl record available to a QB.

Brady is looking to prove age is just a number and he’s as good now as he has ever been, whereas Goff is looking to prove he is this generations ‘Tom Brady’ and that this will just be the first of many Super Bowl appearances.

I expect them both to exceed expectations and put on a show. I’ll go as far as saying they’ll both succeed under pressure and surpass 350 passing yards each.

And to repeat what I said in the previous analysis, both teams have averaged more than seven points per-quarter, so four touchdowns per team is by no mean unthinkable. Hopefully both factors of this R.A.B will go hand in hand and bring home a winner.

Best Bets

Super Bowl LIII – Both teams to score points in every quarter (4/1 Sky Bet)

Super Bowl LIII – Brady and Goff 300+ yards & each team 4+ touchdowns (6/1 Sky Bet)

Rushing & Receiving by Kyle Robins (@AhhYeahKyleYeah)

Looking at the past two Super Bowls the Patriots have been involved in from a statistical point of view – if they’re anything to go off – this game should certainly have two things: points and yards.

Tom Brady went absolutely nuts last year, throwing for 505 yards & three touchdowns, beating his own record for passing yards, set just a year earlier against the Falcons.
Who’s to say he doesn’t do something similar again this year?

With two such high powered offenses, and defences that do certainly give up a few points, this game is ‘hopefully’ set to be high-scoring one. The only hope is Jared Goff doesn’t freeze in his big moment.

Given the way the Patriots defence operates against the pass, and has improved week-on-week through this season, suggestions have been made Goff could struggle.New England likes to play press coverage an awful lot with their corners, whilst Goff statistically performs better against zone defence.

In Stephon Gilmore & Jason McCourty, the Patriots certainly have two of the better performing corners in the second part of this season, so Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Josh Reynolds could have a tough time getting separation from those guys. This leads me to looking towards two intriguing and slightly different markets.

With their corners playing a high percentage of press coverage, it will mean, they’ll turn and run with their coverage, potentially opening up more running lanes for Goff to scramble into. He’s carried the ball nine times so far this offseason, albeit for a total of just 12 yards, but with his line set at 10.5, and again, given the way the Patriots might approach this game, I’ll certainly be taking the over on that line, priced at 10/11 with RedZone.

With the thought-process that the Rams wide-outs may struggle in this game, I’m certainly looking more towards their running backs and tight end impacting the game. Now, Gerald Everett was the go-to man earlier on this season at the tight end position for Goff, but Tyler Higbee has emerged in recent weeks as well.

Totalling eight receptions so far this post-season, for 55 yards, despite the fact he is still being out snapped by Everett, he’s still having a big impact on the Rams passing attack. With his line set at 20.5. A line which he’s cleared the past three weeks, I’ll certainly be favouring the over in this one, best priced at 10/11 with Sport Nation.

Another area to potentially take advantage of, revolves around running back Todd Gurley. Yes, in recent games CJ Anderson has cut into his workload, but this is the biggest game of his young career, and McVay will undoubtedly want his best players on the field.

There are rumours circulating in the NFL-sphere that Gurley has been dealing with a niggling injury in recent weeks, but he’ll certainly be wanting to go full steam into this.

Switching back to what I previous spoke of with New England’s defensive game plan, it could possibly play into Gurley’s hands. Quite literally. As of yet however, I can’t seem to find anywhere offering this market, but the Over/Under on Gurley receptions will be interesting. I for one, will be leaning towards the overs if it’s not set too high.

Flipping the book over to New England, there’s a couple of areas I really like the look of.  So far this post season, the Patriots have absolutely dominated on the ground, and no one has benefited from that more than Sony Michele. The rookie running back has absolutely steamrolled through this post-season, putting up 129 and 113 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks, to go along with just the five touchdowns.

Whilst the Rams haven’t been the best team stopping the run, they’ve certainly upped their game during the post-season. Giving up just 49 yards on the ground per-game, compared to an average of 122 through the regular season.

It certainly says one thing about team’s approaches during the post-season, that they certainly favour the pass, but with New England, the script doesn’t apply to them. And this Patriots rush defence has been performing extremely well the past few weeks, giving up an average of just 30 rushing yards, but a major factor in that is down to how their games have played out, forcing their opponents into a pass heavy attack.

Given all of that, and now throw on top the Patriots abundance of experience on the big stage, coupled with the Rams inexperience. The 5/4 with Betway for Sony Michele most rushing yards is an absolute steal, when you consider it’s 4/7 with UniBet.

Statistically, especially in recent memory, the Super Bowl has been a pass heavy match-up. Now that’s mainly down to the occasion and desperation of some teams given it’s their last game of the season, but these type of game often start slow, only to explode in the second half. I for one, will be looking to take advantage of that.

Brady does love this occasion, as does his BFF Julian Edelman. The slot man is one of the most consistent and clutch wide outs in NFL History, and he too loves the big occasion. He’s amassed 247 receiving yards through two games this post-season, and whilst he isn’t exactly a touchdown machine, we can certainly rely on him to get us some yardage, simply down to how often Brady targets him.

Obviously the Rams game plan will revolve around limiting Brady, and especially Edelman, but many a team have tried and failed with that exact job. Brady won’t care who he’s throwing to, he’ll always hit the open man.

So whilst that makes this market for most receiving yards entirety up for grabs, I think it’s highly likely it will be a tag applied to a Patriots player come the end of the game.

Rob Gronkowski is a very intriguing option at 12/1 and could very well end up leading the Pats in this game, but I’m relying on the ever-consistent Edelman to come up big again statistically, and the 3/1 with William Hill is what I’m looking to take advantage of.

Best Bets

Super Bowl LIII – Jared Goff Over 10.5 Rushing Yards (10/11 RedZone)

Super Bowl LIII – Tyler Higbee Over 20.5 Receiving Yards  (10/11 SportNation)

Super Bowl LIII – Sony Michele Most Rushing Yards (5/4 Betway)

Super Bowl LIII – Julian Edelman Most Receiving Yards (3/1 William Hill)

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