Super Bowl 53 Point Spread Prediction
The New England Patriots will head into Super Bowl Sunday as a small favorite versus the L.A. Rams and they continue to get the backing of public bettors. Is it smart to fade the public in Super Bowl 53 or will Tom Brady and Bill Belichick prevail once again on the biggest, brightest stage?
101 New England Patriots at 102 Los Angeles Rams
6:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, February 3, 2019
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Patriots are 2.5-point favorites to beat the Rams. The total, meanwhile, sits at 56 points. As of this writing, 73% of the public betting tickets are on the Patriots to cover the point spread.
New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski candidly spoke about the "grind" and "up and down" nature of the NFL season on Wednesday. "Just try and imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It's tough, it's difficult. ... Abusing your body isn't what your brain wants," Gronkowski said. "I just took 50 collisions, and then like the next day everyone wants you to be up. They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed, but they don't understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds." Gronk's honest comments about the difficulties of playing in the league are interesting both as an attempt to understand what NFL players go through week to week as well as a glimpse into the mind of a player who is reportedly mulling retirement.
Los Angeles Rams
Associated Press named Rams DT Aaron Donald its 2018 Defensive Player of the Year. It’s the second straight DPOY for Donald. Holdouts the last two years pushed the Rams to make Donald the highest paid defensive player this preseason. He responded with a career high in sacks (20.5) and led the NFL in quarterback pressures. An unanimous first-team All-Pro, Donald has made Pro Bowls in five consecutive seasons. Donald’s dominance on the interior is a major reason why the Rams are playing in the Super Bowl.
NFL Betting Trends
The Patriots are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games versus the Rams, although the underdog is 5-2 against the number in the last seven meetings between these two teams.
The Rams are a perfect 4-0 at the betting window in their last four games and have covered the spread in four of their last six games coming off a win (with one push).
I faded the Patriots in each of their previous two playoff games against the Chargers and Chiefs, believing that taking the better team in both matchups also made for the better bet. But when has it ever mattered that New England doesn’t have the best roster on paper? As long as Brady is under center and Belichick is laying out the game plans on both sides, the Patriots have continued to win. Bet against them at your own risk.
I don’t like siding with the public when the action is so lopsided. Do you know what I dislike even more than siding with the public? Having the opponent when Belichick is making halftime adjustments and Brady has the ball in the fourth quarter. Granted, the Pats didn’t get it done last year against the Eagles but the spread is so low in this game that it’s essentially a pick’em. And in a pick’em I’m siding with Brady and Belichick.
I expect New England to go with a ball-control game plan offensively, similar to the one it used versus the Chargers in the Divisional round. That means plenty of short passes to James White as an extension of their running game, as well as a power rushing look with Sony Michel. The key is to keep pressure out of Brady’s face and even though Donald and Suh are on the other side, the Patriots have one of, if not the best interior offensive line in all of football. They will be prepared tonight.
On the other side, I expect the Patriots to use a page out of their former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s play book tonight. Patricia, now the head coach in Detroit, faced the Rams in early December. While the Lions lost 30-16 and failed to cover as a 10.5-point underdog, the final score was misleading. The Rams scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter off short fields but were otherwise held in check by Patricia, who took the edge away for the Rams offense. Under Sean McVay, Los Angeles loves to run outside zone and build in play-action off those runs. The Lions took away the outside zone and neutralized the effectiveness of the Rams’ play-action, which is their bread and butter. Again, I expect Belichick to copy that game plan and build in new looks to confuse Jared Goff.
Speaking of Goff, if Todd Gurley isn’t 100% (and it certainly doesn’t look like he is), then the Rams offense won’t be as potent as it was earlier in the year when both Gurley and slot weapon Cooper Kupp were healthy. Without Kupp, Goff hasn’t been nearly as efficient. Good luck against Belichick, kid.
Super Bowl 53 Prediction: New England Patriots -2.5