Point Spread odds (As of Jan. 31)
New England Patriots -2.0 (1.90)
Los Angeles Rams +2.0 (1.95)
The New England Patriots didn’t immediately start out as the favourites to win Super Bowl LIII, but they now firmly hold that status heading into Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The betting lines changed three different times in seven minutes immediately following New England’s thrilling overtime win in the AFC Championship game nearly two weeks ago. The line started with the Rams as a slim favourite, before quick movement that eventually settled with the Patriots as two-point favourites, and Money Line odds to win the game at 1.75 at PlayNow.com as of Thursday.
The #BetAgainstUs movement the Patriots were touting following the divisional round seems to have changed course, with the bettors backing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick throughout this week. Of course, that can change as we get closer to game time, but as of middle of the week, the vast majority of money was on New England.
About 76 per cent of the money wagered on the Super Bowl Money Line is on the Patriots to win. About 70 per cent is on New England to win and score more than 6.5 points – the Money Line Special, which counts as a ‘Single’ at PlayNow.com – and a whopping 84 per cent is on New England to cover the spread as two-point favourites.
That is, as we stated earlier, a massive amount of money on the Patriots, with bettors anticipating New England to win its second Super Bowl in three years. Remember, they were the favourites last year and the Philadelphia Eagles – led by Nick Foles – upset them to win the Lombardi Trophy.
Sunday’s game features two of the top-five offences in the league during the regular season. The Rams finished second in the league in yards per game with 421.1, while New England finished fifth in that category. Both teams not only racked up the yardage but they capitalized on their opportunities with the ball, with L.A. scoring a second-best 32.9 points per game, while the Patriots scored 27.2 – good enough for fourth in the NFL.
Given their abilities to score points in both the regular season and playoffs – New England is averaging 39 points per game while the Rams have 28, with both teams playing twice so far in this postseason – it’s no surprise that about 69 per cent of the money is on the Over at 56.5 points.
That percentage of money on the Over has changed during the week. On Monday, 76.6 per cent of the money was on the Over, but that has since dropped. The Under currently has odds of 1.87 at PlayNow.com.
The Over is 7-1 in New England’s last eight playoff games, while the Under is 8-2 in New England’s last 10 games as the favourite.
Super Bowl MVP odds
Tom Brady: 1.85
Jared Goff: 2.60
Todd Gurley: 12.00
Aaron Donald: 13.00
One of the fascinating storylines in these playoffs has been the matchup of the young, highly talented quarterback against the aging-but-still-elite future Hall-of-Famers. It was Jared Goff vs. Drew Brees in the NFC Championship and Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady in the AFC Championship.
It’s now Jared Goff vs. Tom Brady for the Super Bowl.
Goff is 24 years old and the first overall pick from the 2016 Draft. He has flourished over the last two years as the pivot in Sean McVay’s offensive system. His odds to win Super Bowl MVP were 2.60 at PlayNow.com on Thursday. Meanwhile, Brady remains the favourite to win what would be his fifth Super Bowl MVP. He is 41 years old. He goes by the nickname of GOAT, which just about sums up his career – to the dismay of many football fans.
Brady is coming off an up-and-down showing against the Chiefs to get to the Super Bowl. He threw for 348 yards but also tossed two interceptions and just the one touchdown. It’s been the run game that has finished drives for New England in the playoffs. Brady has only two touchdown passes in two playoff games this year.
Goff had 32 touchdown passes this year, and on three occasions he had more than three touchdown passes in a single game. He has only one TD toss in the playoffs – against New Orleans – with the Rams being able to rush the ball into the end zone with far more regularity in the postseason.
Is there an outside contender for Super Bowl MVP entering this game? Only three times since 2009 has a player outside of the quarterback position won the MVP. The last time that happened was in 2016 when linebacker Von Miller of the Denver Broncos won it with a dominant defensive effort against the Carolina Panthers.
When it comes to the MVP odds, there has been notable movement for two different Rams players: running back Todd Gurley and defensive lineman Aaron Donald. At one point this week, both players had odds of 18.00 at PlayNow.com to win the award.
As of Thursday, Gurley’s odds had shifted all the way to 12.00, although the last time a running back won Super Bowl MVP was Terrell Davis back in 1998.
Donald led the league with 20.5 quarterback sacks during the regular season, and defensive players have recently had success winning the Super Bowl MVP over the last five years. He can be a dominant player on the line of scrimmage, and would need just that type of performance on Sunday. His MVP odds have moved to 13.00 as of Thursday.
Props: First RB to reach 50+ rush yards
Sony Michel: 1.48
Todd Gurley: 2.40
Which of these two running backs – Sony Michel of the Patriots or Todd Gurley of the Rams – will be the first to reach 50 yards rushing? It’s an interesting prop to consider for Sunday.
The current favourite, Michel has enjoyed a breakout postseason with back-to-back 100-plus yard rushing games and 242 yards along the ground in total. He has also scored five touchdowns and New England – even with James White and Rex Burkhead in the backfield – have had no problem establishing the run. Michel has rushed an average of 26.5 times in the last two games – including a season-high 29 carries versus Kansas City – and averaged 4.6 yards along the ground.
Those are impressive numbers for the 2018 first-round pick, who overcame a slow start to his pro career due to injury concerns both in preseason and regular season, before taking the reigns as the power back in New England.
Gurley, on the other hand, enters this game with a number of question marks surrounding him. He has been over the last two years one of the most dynamic running backs in the league.
But the number of carries dropped off late in the season, as did his overall production. He missed the final two weeks of the regular season, and saw only five total touches and 13 total yards in the NFC Championship game two weeks ago against New Orleans. It has been the C.J. Anderson show in the L.A. backfield over the last several weeks, and you can’t help but wonder exactly where Gurley will fit with the Rams offensive scheme on Sunday.
That said, Gurley has had an extra week off. And it’s the final game of the year. If he’s able to play – and all indications certainly point to that being the case – one would think the Rams would go with their biggest playmaker and give the Patriots a steady dose of Todd Gurley out of the backfield.
Sean McVay has said that Gurley is “going to be a big part of this game” on Sunday. We’ll see.
Novelty: No. of plays Tony Romo correctly predicts
Over (8.0): 2.00
Under (8.0): 1.65
In years past, we’ve seen Super Bowl novelty bets about which colour sweater a particular T.V. analyst -- will wear during the broadcast.
This year, PlayNow.com is offering a novelty bet on the number of times CBS football analyst Tony Romo will correctly predict a play before it happens.
Because that’s his thing now.
The former quarterback-turned-analyst was the talk of social media during key moments of the AFC Championship game – and during the days that followed – for correctly predicting plays seconds before the snap of the ball. No doubt that was the result of hours of preparation, being able to read what the opposing defence was going to do, one-on-one matchups, coach’s tendencies, and the situation both teams were facing.
His prowess has resulted in a Super Bowl novelty bet – because why wouldn’t it? Set at 8.0, the Under is the favourite with odds of 1.65 at PlayNow.com.
That’s not the only Novelty bet created out of the frenzy of social media. For example: How many Replays will be shown of Ted Rath (aka the ‘Get Back Coach’) holding Sean McVay back on the sideline during the game?
The video that made its rounds on social media of Rath running behind McVay and holding him back off the field onto the sidelines had more than 7.24 million views on Twitter, going viral in the sports world.
The total for that bet has been set at 1.5, and bettors can wager on the Over or Under, both with odds of 1.80.
Keep your eyes glued to the television throughout the broadcast for *that* bet.