From: Pittsburgh, PA....USA
Hello my friends....
Super Bowl Sunday is finally upon us and I think its probably a pretty safe bet to say that the vast majority of football fans and bettors alike have already planned out where and what they will be doing leading up to and including the kickoff of the final game of the NFL season. Most casual bettors have probably already bought a block or two on the various Super Bowl block boards, however, I am not so sure that most have actually placed their wagers yet on the game itself.
The current consensus line at most outs for this years Super Bowl contest have New England listed as a -2.5 point favorite and the O/U total listed at 56 or 56.5 depending on where you look. The feeling here is that the line will move to New England -3 sometime just before kickoff once the flood of Joe Public money starts to really roll in, with that being said, if you like New England you might want to hop on the current line of -2.5 and if you like the Rams you might want to wait it out and make your move once the solid +3's start to appear.
Okay, let's dive right in....my numbers and power ratings show that the wrong team is favored in this contest as it really should be the Rams listed as a solid -3 point favorite, however, we must keep in mind that the posted line is NOT meant to be a true reflection or indicator of how much better one team is than another, in truth we must remember that the odds maker places a line on a contest that he hopes will generate EQUAL wagering action on both teams, by doing so the shop or middleman makes his profit....a bad line can lead to lopsided action and the shop will get hit hard.
With that being said, public perception plays a major role in the posted line. The very best odds makers are able figure a true power rating based point spread and then will lick his proverbial finger, stick it in the wind and by doing so gets a good feel for which way Joe Public will view an upcoming contest, the odds maker than shades the posted line accordingly and VOILA! He has his opening line.
A bettor has to correctly collect on 52.38% of his/her wagers just to break even money-wise due to the added "juice" on losses, with that in mind, one of the easiest ways to have a successful season in which you collect on at least 54.00% of your wagers year in and year out with virtually no handicapping needed, is to simply use good money management and watch what ole Joe Public does, when you see a lopsided consensus in a game with ole Joe loving one side over another....go the other way!! Never lose sight of the fact that Vegas was built on losers and NOT on winners!!
Statistically speaking, I think this game will be won or lost in the trenches, in that regard a gander at the season to date yards per play gained and yards per play allowed is an excellent all round indicator that incorporates various stats that in the end comprises the final number. In that regard the Rams have the edge, its not a huge edge but its still an edge, however, what makes it much more meaningful is the fact that for the season the Patriots faced the league's 18th ranked SOS (strength of schedule) and posted a win/loss mark of 13-5, meanwhile, the Rams faced the league's 19th ranked SOS and posted a mark of 15-3 straight up overall.
Similar season to date SOS schedules for both teams, however, the Rams actually had the better overall results and as a side note inside those numbers the Rams posted a road record of 7-2 straight up and 5-4 ATS versus the Patriots road record of 4-5 straight up and 3-6 ATS. If we were to look at each teams more current statistical make up over their last six outings including playoffs, we would find that the Rams once again have a better yards per play gained versus allowed tally than New England and did so against a slightly higher rated SOS set of games as evidenced by the Rams facing a 24th ranked SOS schedule versus the Patriots 27th ranked set of games.
I think ole Joe Public is a little too enamoured with the Patriots as are the talking heads in the media entering this contest, yes the Patriots looked like world beaters in their playoff wins over the Chargers and Chiefs to get the Super Bowl, however, don't lose sight of the fact that New England had a HUGE advantage over the Chargers who were playing on the road again for the 3rd straight week and were on the road again for the 4th time in a five week span when they visited Foxborough.
Tally up the air miles the Chargers logged in playing those three straight road games when they visited Brady and company and you come up with mileage trips of 1017, 2671, and 2995 respectively....and to make matters worse the Chargers, who are a west coast team, had an early 1:05 pm est start time the week prior in Baltimore and they got screwed again with the same early start time in New England!!....can you say road weary? Its no small wonder New England won 41-28 as the Chargers were set up to fail.
Against Kansas City, Brady and company looked dominant in putting up 37 points, however, the Kansas City defense ended up on the season allowing 27 or more points in 9 of their 18 outings and allowed 23 or more points in 12 of 18 games and that includes the 54 points that the Rams tattooed them with back on November 19th!!!
A gander at the final result sheet reveals that Kansas City's defense ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yard allowed (271.9) per game, ranked 27th against the run (132.3), ranked 31st in total yards allowed per game, ranked 31st in yards allowed per tote (4.90), ranked 26th in opponent TOP (time of possession), and ranked 23th in yards allowed per play....and to think that New England had to hang on for dear life and needed overtime to defeat a team with a subpar defense like that.
On the flip side of things, the Rams faced much better competition in their two playoff wins against Dallas and New Orleans to get to the Super Bowl, however, the public perception is that these Rams are "lucky" to be in the Super Bowl and really should not be there because of the blown no-call on pass interference and the helmet to helmet on the same play. I can't and won't argue that point because its valid but with that being said the result would still be the same with regard to New England losing this Super Bowl as both the Rams and Saints are more talented and simply put are better overall teams than New England.
The talking heads in the media keep harping on the experience edge factor that New England obviously has over the Rams with regard to this being the Patriots third straight Super Bowl and fourth appearance in a five year span. Naturally the Patriots are going to have a ton of player and coaching experience and they do with 38 players versus the Rams only having four players and one coach, but how real and meaningful is it?
In the Rams case they have RB C.J. Anderson, WR Brandon Cook, CB Sam Shields, and CB Aquib Talib and on the coaching staff they have defensive coordinator Wade Philips. I think the Rams have just enough experience in the right places to keep their fellow team mates grounded with regard to the do's and do not's leading up to the big game and I also like the fact that Talib was with the Patriots for two seasons prior to getting his Super Bowl ring with Denver and Cooks was with New England and got a ring with them last year.
Also gotta love the fact that DC Wade Philips will be making his third Super Bowl appearance and this is not his first rodeo against Bill Belichick, Philips started his NFL coaching career working for his dad Bum Philips with the Houston Oilers back in 1976, meanwhile, Belichick got his NFL coaching career started in 1975 with Baltimore. They have squared off 33 times thus far and Belichick currently leads by the slim count of 17-16. The last time they squared off Philips was with Denver and his Bronco's defeated the Patriots by a final of 20-18 in the AFC Championship game, Philips and Denver went on to win Super Bowl 50.
So how much should the experience factor weigh in? Last season in the Super Bowl, HC Doug Pederson's Eagles defeated New England 41-33, the Eagles only had seven players with Super Bowl experience and Pederson was a second year head coach. Pederson became the 11th head coach in NFL history to take his team to a Super Bowl and win in only his second season with the team.
Talking about odd coincidences, as mentioned above, back in the day when HC Bill Belichick won his first Super Bowl with the Patriots, Belichick was a second year HC and that win came over the Rams, fast forward to the here and now and things have come full circle as he is facing the Rams again but this time its the Rams that have the second year HC in Sean McVay.
New England's strategy in their last two playoff games against the Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs was to run the ball all day long as a means of keeping the opposing offense on the sidelines watching. It worked against the tired and road weary Chargers as New England rushed 34 times for 155 ground yards for a 4.56 per tote average and it worked against a defenseless Chief team as the Patriots rushed a mega 48 times for a whopping 176 yards for a 3.67 yard average. However, I don't think that same game plan will work against a Ram defense that held Dallas to 22 carries for a mere 50 ground yards and held New Orleans to 21 rush attempts for a measly 48 yards. Give me the RAMS +2.5 over New England and also straight up on the RAMS on the MONEY-LINE +122.
***New England RB James White O/U 6.5 receptions.....UNDER (+110).....All three of the Patriot running backs are healthy, I can't see White getting more receptions than Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead coming out of the backfield.
***New England Tom Brady pass attempts O/U 37.5......OVER (-140).......Can't help but feel New England is going to have to play catch up in scoring against the Rams, a check of the ole history book reveals that Brady threw at least 38 times in each of his last 11 playoff games.
***Ram field goals made O/U 1.5.....OVER (-125)......Ram HC Sean McVay in his two regular seasons with the Rams has attempted an NFL high 84 FG's and Ram place kicker Greg Zuerlein has made an eye opening 91.2% of his attempts.
Take care and good luck my friends!!
< Message edited by DIRTYDOG -- 2/3/2019 12:31:52 AM >