We’re back at where it all started for the New England Patriots dynasty as they’re set to take on the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53 — the team they upset in Super Bowl 36 for the first Super Bowl victory of the Brady/Belichick era. After they briefly opened as a 1-point underdog, the line jumped the fence and then some as the Patriots are now a 2.5-point favorite. The game also features a sky-high total of 56 points, which is among the highest in Super Bowl history.
This is the Patriots’ third consecutive Super Bowl appearance and ninth since 2001, while the Rams will be making their first Super Bowl appearance since losing Super Bowl 36 as a 14-point favorite. Each team’s Super Bowl berth came with some controversy, but we’ll keep things positive for all the Rams and Patriots bettors out there and hopefully find an edge or two to keep your Super Bowl 53 profits positive too.
Patriots vs Rams Game Center
Spread and Total Analysis
Between Sunday evening and Monday morning we had a 4-point swing with the spread that saw the Patriots move from +1 to -3. That number has since dropped to -2.5 at most books and more line movement should be expected. It makes sense that the Patriots are favorites but the 4 points seems a tad dramatic and is perhaps an overreaction to another dramatic New England win.
All that aside, the Patriots are generally pretty good as a small favorite, going 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight games as a favorite in the 1- to 3-point range. Perhaps a bit of added confidence for Patriots backers is that when they win, they tend to win big as their 13 wins this season have come by an average of 14.54 points.
As for the Rams, they’ve been a decent bet as an underdog under Sean McVay, going 4-3 SU and ATS with their most notable underdog win, of course, coming in the NFC title game as a 3-point underdog vs the Saints. It is worth noting that when the Rams lose under McVay, they don’t keep things especially close, as their nine losses over the last two seasons have come by an average of 10.9 points.
The total for this game will challenge Super Bowl 51’s total that closed at 57.5 points for the highest in Super Bowl history. New England’s two playoff games have an average combined score of 68.5 while the Rams’ two games are at 50.5.
Here’s a few numbers that make me lean toward the OVER:
- The Patriots’ red-zone defense has been quite poor over their last three games, allowing opponents to score a touchdown on 75 percent of red-zone visits.
- On the other side of the ball in that same three-game stretch, the Patriots are scoring touchdowns on 76.47 percent of red-zone visits.
- Both teams have been elite at extending drives over their last three games, posting third-down conversion rates of 56.82 percent for the Patriots and 48.84 percent for the Rams.
- The Rams allowed 30 or more points on seven occasions this season.
- The combined scores of the Patriots’ last two Super Bowls have been 74 and 62. It’s fair to expect another Super Bowl shootout vs a team that’s averaging 32.4 points per game.
Patriots are Peaking
There were plenty of red flags around the Patriots entering the playoffs after a handful of ugly performances during the regular season, but make no mistake about it, this team is absolutely humming and playing its best ball of the season. The offense has been at its sharpest, averaging 38.7 points over the last three games, compiling an average of 465.7 yards per game.
Perhaps most important for New England is the re-emergence of Rob Gronkowski, who made some big plays down the stretch in the AFC title game. His 11 targets were a season high and this game-changing version of Gronk could be an absolute disaster for a Rams defense that allowed the second-most yards to opposing tight ends this season. Speaking of Gronk, he opened at +5000 to win the Super Bowl MVP. This is the best value on the Super Bowl MVP oddsboard.
Are the Rams Being Undervalued?
The Rams looked like they were toast just a few series in vs the Saints as they were visibly rattled by the New Orleans crowd. However, Los Angeles bounced back and showed some serious grit by outscoring the Saints 26-10 from the second quarter on. Perhaps most impressive has been the steady play of Jared Goff, whose play in the playoffs has been virtually mistake-free (that interception was Todd Gurley’s fault).
Gurley received some criticism after a lackluster performance vs the Saints, but you can’t knock a Rams running game that’s been going off since the emergence of C.J. Anderson, averaging 193.5 rushing yards with eight total touchdowns over the last four games. Their defense should also be commended for holding the high-powered Saints to just 23 points in their own house. They clearly made the right adjustments after allowing 45 points in New Orleans earlier in the season.
So, back to the question — are they being undervalued? If the spread moves outside of 3 points, they would be getting disrespected a bit, but inside of 3 feels right as a case can be made for either team to win the game.
The Super Bowl has been an Underdog’s Game
Blindly betting on underdogs over the last 17 Super Bowls could have earned you a handsome profit as they’ve gone an impressive 13-4 ATS while also winning six of the last seven outright.
The Patriots have been on both sides of the underdog trend, defeating Seattle as a 1-point dog in Super Bowl 49 and in their aforementioned win over the Rams in Super Bowl 36. As a Super Bowl favorite, however, New England has been a money pit, going 3-3 SU but 1-5 ATS.
Patriots Start slow in Super Bowls
New England has struggled to find its rhythm offensively early in its Super Bowl appearances, scoring a grand total of just three first-quarter points in the eight Super Bowls of the Brady/Belichick era. The Pats defense has been relatively solid in the first quarter as they’ve held opponents to a combined 24 first-quarter points in the eight games.
The first quarter spread is at -0.5 favoring the Patriots and the total is at 10.5.
My Best Bet for Super Bowl 53
I’m confidently going with Patriots -2.5.
I expect an uncharacteristic low-drama win and even if it isn’t, there’s no athlete in the history of professional sports that should be trusted in a high-pressure situation more than Tom Brady. For the record, I’d be comfortable taking the Patriots anywhere inside of 4 points.
My reasons are simple. This is the best they’ve looked all season with back-to-back wins in difficult situations, plus coach Bill has two weeks to prepare for a young quarterback. I believe a rejuvenated Gronk really opens up the Patriots offense. This will lead to a few extra third-down conversions, a few big plays and a few extra high-success rate scoring opportunities.
The Rams will have their moments and should be able to keep things close in the first half, but ultimately, Belichick isn’t ready to pass the torch to McVay just yet. This will probably be a motivating factor for himself and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who also fancies himself as a “young” offensive play-calling guru.
I picked against the Patriots in the AFC title game because I thought the numbers were working against them, but they have a ridiculous, never-before-seen ability to make big plays in big games that you can’t always quantify.
Don’t fight it — the real estate on Brady’s other hand is getting a ring.