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  #51  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:47 AM
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Rams running back Todd Gurley needs 36 receiving yards to cash his game prop at William Hill. Gurley racked up at least 36 receiving yards eight times this season, but has only three catches for six yards in the playoffs.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:47 AM
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The most points the Rams have allowed in a playoff victory came in the 1999 divisional round against the Vikings in a 49-37 blowout.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:47 AM
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Jared Goff attempted 38 passes or more only five times this season. Goff needs to attempt at least 38 passes to cash the 'over' on his game prop, according to William Hill as all five of these games came past the midway point of the season.
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  #54  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:47 AM
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In Super Bowl 39 (XXXIX), New England defeated Philadelphia 24-21 but failed to cover as a seven-point favorite. This was one of two games where the underdog, in this case the Eagles, scored late to affect the point-spread. The other backdoor cover came in SBXIII when Pittsburgh defeated Dallas 35-31. The Cowboys trailed 35-17 and scored 14 points in the final three minutes.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:47 AM
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The L.A. Rams had 40 passing plays of 25 yards or more, which was ranked second in the league. Kansas City (52) had the most big passing plays. New England was ranked 13th with 33 completions of 25-plus yards.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:48 AM
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Six times in Super Bowl history a team has scored at least 41 points. The Eagles pulled off this feat last season in a 41-33 victory over the Patriots. It was the first time in Super Bowl history that a team scored at least 41 points and didn't win by double-digits.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:48 AM
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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's longest catch of the season was 42 yards against the Chiefs back in Week 6. Since then, Gronk has compiled only one catch of more than 25 yards.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:48 AM
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The most completions in a Super Bowl was 43, which is held by QB Tom Brady in Super Bowl 51 between New England and Atlanta. What’s more impressive is that Brady completed 22 passes in the fourth quarter and overtime against the Falcons.
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  #59  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:48 AM
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Washington Redskins running back John Riggins wore number 44 and he’s the only Super Bowl MVP that had a jersey listed in the forties. The most common range for SB MVP jersey numbers falls between 10 and 19.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:49 AM
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The most points New England has scored in the postseason under the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady regime was 45, which happened twice. In the 2011 playoffs, the Patriots blasted Denver 45-10. In this year’s AFC Championship, they dumped the Colts 45-7.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:49 AM
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The Buccaneers outscored the Raiders 28-18 in the second-half in Super Bowl 37 and the combined 46 points were the most scored in a second-half of a finale.
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  #62  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:49 AM
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The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook have posted a prop on the Longest Made Field Goal in SB53 at 47.5. Rams kicker Gerg Zuerlein has hit 4-of-6 field goals over 50 yards while Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots was just 2-of-5 from that distance.
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  #63  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:49 AM
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There has only been one Super Bowl where the combined score has landed exactly on 48 points. This occurred in SBXLIV when the Saints defeated the Colts 31-17 in 2010.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:50 AM
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– San Francisco captured a 49-26 victory over San Diego in Super Bowl 29, which was the only time a team scored exactly seven touchdowns and extra points in a game. The 75 combined points was also the most ever scored in a Super Bowl.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:50 AM
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Patriots running back Sony Michel has rushed for at least 50 yards in eight consecutive games, including back-to-back 100+ yard efforts in the playoffs. The SuperBook sent out his rushing total yards prop listed at 76.6 while William Hill opened 79.5 yards.
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  #66  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:50 AM
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The Rams allowed 51 points to the Chiefs in Week 11 at home yet still won the game with 54 points. It was the first time in NFL history that both teams scored at least 50 points.
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  #67  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:50 AM
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William Hill posted a total of 52.5 receiving yards on New England running back James White in their Super Bowl 53 props. White averaged 56 receiving yards per game this season and he surpassed that average in the playoffs with 73 YPG versus the Chargers and Chiefs. In Super Bowl 51 versus the Falcons, White finished with 14 catches for 110 yards but he only had 2 catches for 21 yards against Eagles last February in SB52.
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  #68  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:51 AM
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The most passing attempts made by Tom Brady in a regulation playoff win in his career was 53, coming in last season's divisional victory over Tennessee. Brady completed 35 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns.
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  #69  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:51 AM
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Since NFL realignment (2002-03), the Super Bowl team that scored fewer points per game during their playoff run are 11-5 straight up in the Super Bowl

Without question there will be plenty of angles floating around this week mentioning that teams that allowed fewer rush yards, or fewer points, or scored more points during the regular season are X-X in the Super Bowl, but why is it that almost always they fail to shrink the sample size down enough to focus on the actual playoff run the two teams went on to get to this point. Sure, small sample sizes are the enemy of statistical proclamations, but current form is always something people never forget to bring up, and given how high the stakes are in the playoffs, shouldn't current form get some more time in the sun?

Well, after going back and looking at all the past Super Bowl winners since the 2002-03 season, something really interesting popped up. The team in the Super Bowl that had scored fewer points per game on average have had plenty of success in becoming World Champions. That's held true the past three seasons with the Eagles scoring 26.5 points per game in their two playoff games a year ago – compared to New England's 29.5 PPG – and if it wasn't for Seattle head coach Pete Carroll's highly questionable decision to throw it from the 1-yard line in Super Bowl 49 to cough up that game to New England, this trend would hold true for each of the past seven eventual Super Bowl champions.

Now the caveat there, is that of the five times where the team averaging more points during their playoff run came into this game and won, two of them were done by Tom Brady and the Patriots (vs Philadelphia in 2005, and Seattle in 2015), but an 11-5 SU record clocks in at 68% and that's hard to ignore. With the Rams coming into this game averaging 28 points per game, and New England averaging 39 points per game during the respective two wins for each side, this historical trend does favor LA.

After all, there is some truth to the old adage that “defense wins championships” because these teams that have put up fewer points en route to a Super Bowl appearance wouldn't have gotten there (albeit the Rams appearance this year is under MUCH different scrutiny) without their defense stepping up and not forcing the offense to do all the heavy lifting. That's because....

The last eight Super Bowl winners have all allowed fewer points per game during that season's playoff run than their Super Bowl opponent.

This relates to the discussion above, as it focuses solely on the two or three playoff games each Super Bowl combatant won that year to get to this game. This year will be the first time since prior to realignment that both teams come into the Super Bowl having allowed more than 20 points per game on average, but low and behold, the team that's allowed the fewer points on average in the playoffs has come out as the champion the past eight Super Bowls.

This year we've got the Rams allowing 22.5 PPG in their two playoff wins, and New England coming in allowing 29.5 PPG, so here is another “current form” indicator that's decidedly in favor of the Rams. In past Belichick/Brady Super Bowl defeats, it's been pressure from the middle of the defense that tends to get the Patirots out of sync the most (NYG X2, Philadelphia), and LA's front with the likes of Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and others, are more than capable of having similar success.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:52 AM
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Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has long had a reputation of his teams coming up short in the playoffs, a reputation that started with three straight NFC Championship game defeats back in the early 2000's. Reid's teams have only gotten to the big game once (Lost to New England in Feb 2005), but in a rare oddity, it's Reid's foes that use him as a stepping stone to a playoff run, that tend to not find championship immortality at the end of the year.

Of Reid's 12 career playoff losses as a HC prior to the Super Bowl - Reid has 14 career playoff defeats but one came in the Super Bowl itself, and the other was last week - only twice has the team that's gotten past an Andy Reid team gone on to win the Super Bowl: The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the 2010 Green Bay Packers.

That's a record of 2-10 SU in terms of winning a championship in the same season, and we will see if the Patriots become the 11th team in that scenario to fall short of the ultimate prize.

Narrow that focus even tighter to teams that got by Reid's squads in a Conference Championship game like New England did, and the record for going on and winning the Super Bowl for those teams is a disastrous 1-4 SU. It was Tampa Bay as the only team to reach the mountain top after knocking off Reid the game prior, and even that result can come with an asterisk in this scenario, since it was Jon Gruden's Bucs team going up against his former Raiders team that still ran Gruden's offensive schemes, that Gruden himself knew like the back of his hand.

Heck, even the Patriots themselves were the beneficiaries of this trend in the game that started their dynasty. It was the St Louis Rams that beat Reid's Eagles back in the NFC Championship game in January 2002 prior to ultimately losing as big favorites to New England in the Super Bowl the next time they took the field.

So who knows, things in this world tend to find ways to go full circle, and with the Patriots being on the wrong end of this “Andy Reid curse” this time around, and the Rams organization on the right side of it, maybe it's this Rams team that sparks their own Goff-McVay dynasty with a win later on this week.

After all, it was the Rams franchise who were going for their 2nd Super Bowl title in three years back then, and wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what New England is looking to do this year.
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  #71  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:52 AM
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Advantage - Patriots
Tony Mejia

If it weren’t for Atlanta’s collapse in Super Bowl LI and Seattle’s ill-fated decision to throw from the 1-yard line on second down in Super Bowl XLIX, New England would be on a streak of five consecutive losses in the NFL’s premier event.

Of course, pro football is filled with ifs and buts. All the Patriots have to do to is look at who is lining up against them for evidence of that, facing the Los Angeles Rams instead of the New Orleans Saints due to incompetent officiating. As things stand, the Patriots are 2-3 in their last five Super Bowl appearances dating back to February 3, 2008.

On the 11th anniversary of seeing their dreams of a perfect season dashed thanks to an upset suffered at the hands of the New York Giants, the Pats will take the field favored once again. 41-year-old Tom Brady will look to win an unprecedented fifth Super Bowl MVP trophy while leading his team to a sixth championship, which would tie the Steelers for most all-time and cement Brady as the best football player ever since he’d be the only one with six rings.

Bill Belichick is adding to his legacy by making his eighth appearance. His five wins are already the most in league history by a head coach.

Obviously, Belichick and Brady are the reasons the Patriots have ben so successful over the last two decades and will key Sunday’s efforts as they look to take down the Rams. The duo teamed up to pull off an upset of the Chiefs in Kansas City in order to secure their spot in Atlanta, winning the AFC Championship in overtime after Brady bailed out Belichick’s tired defense by leading the offense on a 13-play, 75-yard drive following victory in the ever-important coin toss. Patrick Mahomes II never even touched the ball in the extra session after leading the Chiefs to a 24-point fourth-quarter outburst, allowing Belichick to enjoy the handiwork of his godsend of a quarterback instead of stressing over how to get a stop that eluded him throughout the final 15 minutes of regulation.

Kansas City scored on the first play of the fourth and then put together scores on drives that took 10 seconds, 1:29 and 31 ticks. Rams head coach Sean McVay will surely glean something from the Chiefs offensive game plan and has the weapons to drive the ball down the field. Look for L.A. to spread out the Pats defense, allowing Todd Gurley room to catch the ball out of the backfield and giving Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods plenty of space to work underneath. Both are exceptionally fast and precise route-runners, so it will be on Jared Goff to deliver the ball as accurately as you know Brady will in order to keep this competitive.

New England’s defense has dominated early in this postseason, holding the Chargers to just seven points while Brady are rookie RB Sony Michel helped build a 35-7 halftime edge. The defense stood tall against Andy Reid’s scripted plays and shut out the Chiefs in bitter cold two weeks ago, helping the Patriots take a 14-0 lead to the break.

New England’s secondary gave up 374 passing yards against the Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl, but it nevertheless trusts its experience. Corner Stephon Gilmore will be starting his second straight title game while tag-team partner Jason McCourty will be making his first appearance. Safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung have been around for years, so Belichick will lean on them to prevent big plays and keep the Rams’ speedy receiving threats from getting behind them.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has been spectacular down the stretch and will be tasked with keeping Gurley in check in what is probably the most crucial matchup in this contest as far as the Patriots are concerned. Belichick is counting on his speed helping to neutralize a running back who hasn’t been himself through this entire playoff run after missing the final few weeks of the regular season. New England is heavily invested in keeping him from finding his rhythm.

The same can be said about Goff, who started slowly in New Orleans last week before warming up and delivering the upset with help from kicker Greg Zuerlein. Throwing him off early will be essential since the Patriots didn’t record a sack of Nick Foles in Super Bowl LII. They’re counting on Trey Flowers’ experience to help deliver some pressure.

Brady was only sacked once by the Eagles and threw for 505 yards in the loss last season, setting an NFL postseason record. He proved last week that he doesn’t need a lead to feel comfortable, not that that was ever in doubt. Against the Falcons, he threw for 466 yards, so he’s thrown for 971 yards in his last two appearances in the “Big Game.” He’s completed 71 of 110 passes and thrown just one interception in the last two Super Bowls and comes into this one the all-time leader in completions (235), attempts (357), yards (2,576) and passing touchdowns (18). When you consider Goff hadn’t even won a playoff game until earlier this month, the difference in experience between Sunday’s starting quarterbacks is cartoonish.

Goff said his earliest memory of watching football centers around Brady and Super Bowl XXXVII back he when he was a 9-year-old.

That’s why it was so surprising that the Rams opened as a 1-point favorite at most sportsbooks before betting quickly turned the Pats into ‘chalk’ as the spread has reached as high as a full field goal at some shops. The line at most books is 2.5 points as of Tuesday morning, which is entirely because of Brady and Belichick.

They’re trusted, known commodities. While experience isn’t the end-all, be-all, it’s nice to have that in your back pocket when investing on what’s always the most gambled-on single event of the calendar year, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see more money come in on the Patriots. If you’re willing to lay points, get in sooner than later. If you’re taking them with the underdog Rams, you’ll likely be best served waiting closer to kickoff.

In-game circumstances dictate most totals, but the Patriots have proven time and again that Brady is unflappable and immune to pressure from even championship-level defenses, so the ‘over’ has to be tempting, especially indoors. Even at a robust 56.5, both offenses can easily surpass that figure if conditions command a second-half shootout.

Belichick is going to utilize the first few drives to see how his unit holds up against Goff and Gurley. If the results are poor, count on a more methodical approach relying on Michel and Rex Burkhead to try and work the clock and keep his defense off the field. Red-zone efficiency will also be a major factor since the Rams are very strong in that department.

Considering the Patriots have gotten to this point as healthy as they’ve been all season, losing only a couple of key contributors to attrition along the way, they’re well-equipped to move to 6-3 in Super Bowls in the Belichick/Brady era.
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  #72  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:53 AM
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Advantage - Rams
Kevin Rogers

The Rams went through a solid run of Super Bowl appearances with the “Greatest Show on Turf” by reaching the Big Game in 1999 and 2001. Seventeen seasons and one cross-country move later, the Rams are back in the Super Bowl facing the team that broke their heart at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as the Patriots picked up a 20-17 upset as 14-point underdogs to begin the Tom Brady dynasty.

This time around, Los Angeles showcases a 33-year old head coach in Sean McVay and a third-year quarterback in Jared Goff looking to send the franchise to their second-ever Super Bowl title. The Rams put together an 11-5 record in McVay’s first season patrolling the sidelines in 2017, but Los Angeles was tripped up by Atlanta in the Wild Card round. However, L.A. proved it wasn’t a one-hit wonder by improving by two victories this season with a 13-3 mark to finish tied with New Orleans for the best record in the NFL.

We all saw how the final minutes of the NFC Championship unfolded with the missed pass interference penalty on the Rams that would have set up the Saints with a first and goal opportunity that would have allowed New Orleans to run the clock down for the game-winning field goal. New Orleans still took the lead, but Los Angeles eventually tied the game late in regulation and won in overtime, 26-23. The Rams cashed in their first underdog role of the season and will be receiving points for the second straight contest.

Now, onto why the Rams are the team to back in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday.

PATRIOT CLOSE GAMES

This is the ninth Super Bowl that the Patriots have played in since 2001, all with Brady and Bill Belichick running the show. New England has won five Super Bowls, as four of those wins are by four points or less, while the fifth championship came in the unlikely comeback victory over Atlanta two years ago by six points in overtime. The Patriots are 1-5 ATS as a Super Bowl favorite, but not all of those games saw New England laying huge wood. New England is 1-2 SU/ATS in the last three Super Bowls as a favorite of four points or less, including in last season’s 41-33 defeat to Philadelphia.

HIGHWAY TO SWELL

Under McVay, the Rams have won 14 of 17 games away from the L.A. Coliseum. Granted, two of those losses came this season at New Orleans and Chicago. In the 15-6 defeat to the Bears at Soldier Field in December, the Rams allowed one touchdown, while intercepting Mitchell Trubisky three times. Goff was picked off four time in the loss, marking only the second time in the last two seasons that the Rams have been held to single-digits.

Now to the good on the road. The Rams topped the 30-point mark in six of nine away contests this season, while Goff was intercepted six times in the other eight road games not including the Bears’ debacle. Los Angeles has compiled a 3-1 SU/ATS mark as a road underdog, with two of those wins coming in the first four weeks of 2017. Since allowing 45 points to New Orleans in Week 9, the Rams have yielded 63 points in the past four road contests.

BALK AT CHALK

The Patriots were listed as a favorite away from Gillette Stadium in all eight regular season games. New England lost five of those contests outright, including defeats at Jacksonville, Detroit, Tennessee, Miami, and Pittsburgh. Not one of those teams made the playoffs, while the Patriots were limited to 10 points in three of those setbacks. In four of those games, New England allowed at least 31 points, which didn’t include the AFC Championship where the Patriots gave up 24 fourth quarter points to the Chiefs.

DON’T COUNT THEM OUT

Expert Joe Nelson checks in with several convincing points on backing Los Angeles, “The Rams will hear for two weeks that they didn’t deserve to be in the Super Bowl with the missed call late in the NFC Championship to provide extra fuel for this opportunity, but the box score painted a clear edge for Los Angeles with a 378-290 edge in yards in New Orleans. The Rams also showed resiliency battling back from a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter, holding the Saints to just 160 yards the rest of the game including overtime.”

“The Rams have marginal run defense numbers for the season, but in the postseason they held Dallas and New Orleans to 2.3 yards per rush each, surrendering a grand total of 98 rushing yards against a pair of strong rushing teams. The Rams also had to face the prolific Seattle rushing offense twice this season to skew the numbers in a 16-game sample. The Patriots have rushed the ball with great success in the playoffs, but it appears that success will come to an end in the Super Bowl as the Rams will likely aim to force Brady to throw just like the Eagles did last season in the Super Bowl,” Nelson notes.

GROUND CONTROL

Obviously Todd Gurley’s productivity will be a key factor on Sunday after totaling only 10 yards on four carries in the NFC Championship. Gurley posted MVP-type numbers this season by racking up over 1,800 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns. The Rams rushed for over 135 yards as a team in 10 games, including dropping 273 yards on the ground in the NFC divisional playoff win over the Cowboys. C.J. Anderson closed the season with three 100-yard rushing performances, including 123 yards and two touchdowns against Dallas.

TO MAJOR TOM

Nelson is back for some surprising notes on the four-time Super Bowl MVP, “Despite his all-time great status, Brady finished 12th in QB Rating this season which was four spots behind Goff. Brady finished with his worst QB Rating since 2014 this season and across the board his numbers were worse this season than in his past two Super Bowl seasons, including featuring the most turnovers he has had since 2013. He had two interceptions in the AFC Championship and had a game-sealing third interception last week until an offsides call brought the play back.”

BARKING DOGS

The public loves the favorite in the Super Bowl, but that hasn’t been the best play over the years. Underdogs own an 8-2 ATS mark in the past 10 Super Bowls (taking out Super Bowl XLIX which closed at a pick-em), while seven of those teams have won outright. The last seven AFC favorites have compiled a 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS mark in Super Bowls since 2008, when the Patriots were upset by the Giants as 12-point chalk.
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  #73  
Old 01-31-2019, 12:37 PM
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Advantage - Under
Chris David

Outside of boxing or mixed martial arts, betting an ‘under’ in any sporting event doesn’t necessarily provide the excitement you could be looking for and it usually puts you up against the betting public.

However, while the early trends are showing a lean to the 'under' in this year's finale between the Patriots and Rams, I still believe the 'over' will get more attention by kickoff but there are some great angles and trends that could have you leaning low this Sunday.

With the professional assistance from one of our top VegasInsider.com handicappers and contributors Joe Nelson, we’ll touch on the ‘over’ in this piece and also provide you reasons to back the ‘under’ in another installment.

Under Trends and Angles to Watch

-- The Patriots were ranked 10th in scoring defense, allowing 21.3 points per game. The Rams gave up 23.8 PPG but the defensive unit improved to 20.2 PPG on the road.

-- Los Angeles had a red zone percentage of 56.8 percent, which was ranked 19th in the league. The Rams have often left points off the board, scoring seven field goals and just five touchdowns.

-- New England watched the ‘under’ go 11-5 in the regular season, which included a 5-3 mark on the road.

-- Los Angles watched the ‘under’ go 7-2 away from home this season and that includes the low side result in this year's NFC Championship at New Orleans.

-- The Patriots only played one game indoors this season and they were blasted by the Lions 26-10 from Ford Field. It was the second time this season that New England was held to 10 points.

-- The Rams had four games indoors and the ‘under’ went 3-1 in those games, with the lone ‘over’ (57 ) occurring in their first encounter at New Orleans, which was a 45-35 shootout loss in Week 9.

-- Los Angeles had 12 totals this season close in the fifties or higher and the 'over/under' results ended in a stalemate (6-6).

-- New England saw the ‘under’ go 5-3 in totals that closed at 50 or above.

-- The Patriots have seen the ‘under’ go 4-2 in their last six games when they favored by 2 -points or less.

-- The Rams have watched the ‘under’ go 2-1 in the playoffs over the past two seasons and the defense has only allowed 23.6 points per game. During this span, the unit has used the ‘bend but don’t break’ approach in the red zone. In those games, they’ve allowed 7 touchdowns and 7 field goals.

-- New England squared off against the NFC West in the 2016 regular season and it went 3-1 in those games but the offense was tempered to 25.8 PPG, which led to a 3-1 ‘under’ mark. In that same season (2016), the Rams went 1-3 against the AFC East and their weak offensive (12 PPG) numbers helped the ‘under’ go 3-1.

-- One of those outcomes saw the Patriots defeat the Rams 26-10 at home on Dec. 4 and the ‘under’ (44 ) was never in doubt. Including that result, the low side is 4-2 in the last six meetings between the two franchises and that includes the 20-17 win by New England over St. Louis in Super Bowl 36.

-- This will be the third Super Bowl hosted by Atlanta and first since 2000 and coincidentally the Rams won that year, a 23-17 win over the Titans in SB34. The ‘under’ cashed (45) in that contest and also in the first installment from Georgia in Super Bowl 28 between the Cowboys and Bills. Dallas defeated Buffalo 30-13 and the low side (50 ) was never in doubt.

Expert Analysis – Joe Nelson

The Patriots scored 37 points in overtime in the AFC Championship to emerge as the Super Bowl favorite but New England had 94 offensive plays in that game for 0.394 points per play, actually well below the team’s season average. The same is true for the Rams who managed 26 points in the NFC Championship, also in overtime, but at a .382 points per play rate that was far below the regular season average for the second highest scoring team in the league. Both teams will face arguably more difficult defensive matchups this week after the Rams faced a Saints pass defense that struggled all season while the Patriots faced a Chiefs squad that was among the worst in the NFL in many defensive categories.

The Rams were technically the NFL’s worst yards per rush run defense in the NFL this season allowing 5.1 yards per rush but that figure proved meaningless in a pair of playoff wins as Dallas and New Orleans were both held to 2.3 yards per rush for a fewer than 100 combined rushing yards in two Rams wins to reach the Super Bowl. The Patriots fared even better defending the running game allowing just 19 yards vs. the Chargers and 41 yards vs. the Chiefs for a combined 2.7 yards per rush, to cut the regular season average allowed nearly in half. If both defenses contain the opposing rushing attacks at an even remotely similar clip, these offenses will struggle and the scoring will be limited.

The winning quarterback usually wins the Super Bowl MVP but touchdown passes have been rare for Tom Brady and Jared Goff this postseason. Brady has thrown only two while throwing two interceptions and nearly losing the AFC Championship on a third interception that was called back due to an offsides penalty. Goff has thrown just one touchdown pass in his two playoff wins while also matching that score with an interception in the NFC Championship. Goff has posted 7.1 yards per pass attempt in the postseason while Brady has posted 7.7 yards per attempt, pedestrian averages by today’s standards that wouldn’t have cracked the league’s top 10 in the regular season.

Despite his all-time great status another signature comeback win last week, Brady finished 12th in QB Rating this season which was actually four spots behind Goff. Brady finished with his worst QB Rating since 2014 this season and across the board his numbers were worse this season than in his past two Super Bowl seasons, including featuring the most turnovers he has had since 2013. While he remains a well above average quarterback capable of winning another Super Bowl in the Patriots system, his play has declined with his age and this was not a great Patriots offense as scoring 78 points in two playoff wins suggests. The Patriots topped 27 points just six times in 16 regular season games despite one of the weakest schedules in the NFL and they understand they won’t want to be in a shootout with the Rams as the ground game will again be at the forefront of the game plan.

The coaching hiring season was dominated by talk of trying to find the next Sean McVay. The 33-year old Rams head coach has taken the league by storm in two seasons going 26-9 with great offensive production. McVay has faced Bill Belichick before as the offensive coordinator for Washington in the 2015 season, a 27-10 win for the Patriots in Week 9. Washington posted only 250 yards of offense in that game and never threatened for the upset, actually scoring its only touchdown in the final minute of the game. Kirk Cousins was held to 5.4 yards per attempt while Washington gained just 2.5 yards per carry on the ground and that was a Redskins team that won the NFC East. Jared Goff faced Bill Belichick and the Patriots in his rookie season, which was his third ever NFL game. The result was unsurprising with Goff throwing two interceptions and completing 44 percent of his passes as the Rams had just seven first downs in a 26-10 loss. As good as the results have been for McVay and Goff the past two seasons, they will be making a big leap in class facing off with Belichick, even if this wasn’t one of the legendary head coach’s best defensive teams on paper as a decline in the expected production for the Rams should be assumed.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:37 PM
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Advantage - Over
Chris David

The ‘over’ run in the Super Bowl continued last February as the Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33 in the 52nd installment and the high side (49) was never in doubt. Including that outcome, the ‘over’ has cashed in five of the last six NFL finales.

There were a couple fortunate bounces for bettors riding the ‘over’ during this span, and both of them featured New England. In 2015, the Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24 and the high side (47 ) connected despite the pair playing to a scoreless first quarter.

Just two years ago, New England pulled off the improbable 34-28 overtime win against Atlanta in Super Bowl 51 and the ‘over’ (57) cashed due to the Patriots forcing the extra session with a wild fourth quarter. Coincidentally, that game also had a scoreless first quarter.

Jumping ahead to this week’s matchup and the oddsmakers are expecting another high-scoring affair, opening the total at 58. After 10 days of wagering, the number has dropped to 56 at most betting shops as of Wednesday.

As expected, the early action is on the low side and the latest Betting Trends are showing a lean that way but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number get pushed up come Sunday evening.

With the professional assistance from one of our top VegasInsider.com handicappers and contributors Joe Nelson, we’ll touch on the ‘over’ in this piece and also provide you reasons to back the ‘under’ in another installment.

Over Trends and Angles to Watch

-- The Rams enter this game with the second-ranked scoring offense in the league, averaging 32.4 points per game. New England is ranked fourth with 28.6 PPG.

-- New England faced four playoff teams in the regular season and the defense surrendered 28.8 PPG in those games.

-- Los Angeles has gone 8-0 versus AFC opponents since head coach Sean McVay took over the Rams. In those wins, the club is averaging 34.8 PPG and that’s led to a 5-3 ‘over’ mark.

-- Another McVay angle is what the young coach has done off the bye. In three games played with rest, the Rams have scored 51, 30 and 30 points. The last result coming in this year's Divisional Playoff round, which saw Los Angeles defeat Dallas 30-22.

-- Sticking with the rest angle, New England offense has played well off a bye in the playoffs. The Patriots are averaging 35.4 PPG in their last eight postseason games with rest, which includes a 41-point effort against the L.A. Chargers this year and also 33 in a loss to the Eagles in the 2018 Super Bowl.

-- The Rams have been installed as underdogs six times under McVay over the past two seasons and the ‘over’ has gone 4-2 in those games.

-- Going back to the 2014-15 playoffs, the Patriots have seen the ‘over’ go 10-3 in their last 13 postseason games. During that span, the offense has averaged 32.8 PPG. In this year’s playoffs, New England has posted 36 PPG.

-- The Patriots defense played two road games versus NFC opponents this season and they allowed 31 and 26 points to the Bears and Lions respectively.

-- New England has played in 10 Super Bowls all-time and the ‘over’ has gone 6-4 in those games. With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick running the show, the totals have produced a stalemate (4-4) but the last three trips to the finale saw the ‘over’ connect.

Expert Analysis – Joe Nelson

The Eagles were the Super Bowl champions last season and the NFC’s top seed allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL. Two years ago the Patriots allowed the third fewest rushing yards in the league en route to the championship and three years ago Denver also finished third in the league in fewest rushing yards allowed. This year’s champion won’t fit that profile as neither New England or Los Angeles featured a strong run defense actually ranking 29th and 32nd in rush yards per carry in the regular season.

In the past four games as these teams combined to go 8-0, sealing the second spots in their respective conferences, and then winning two playoff games. In those four games the Rams have out-rushed foes by 445 yards while the Patriots have out-rushed the past four foes by 499 yards as both teams have been very successful on the ground and should be able to execute a balanced offensive game plan in this matchup. Over the past four games the Patriots have averaged 35 points per game and the Rams have averaged 34 points per game as both of these teams are capable of posting big numbers.

The Rams have been held below 29 points just four times in 18 games while the Patriots were held below 24 points just four times in 18 games. The Patriots were an ‘under’ squad on the season but New England faced a very weak crop of opposing quarterbacks this season. Goff was 8th QB Rating and the Patriots faced only three quarterbacks rated that high this season, allowing 30 points per game in those four games. The Rams have played a third of their games vs. the league’s top five QB Rating quarterbacks this season and they allowed 34 points per game in those games, despite actually winning five of those six games. For the record Tom Brady only finished 12th in the league in QB Rating this season but he has earned the benefit of the doubt to be considered in that company as one of the top opposing quarterbacks the Rams have faced this season.

Both defenses allow more than 350 yards per game and those numbers include playing in two of the weakest divisions in the NFL this year with some very bad teams on the schedule twice for both teams. In six division games the Patriots allowed just 12.5 points per game to bring down the season numbers, actually getting to face back-up quarterbacks in two of the division road games on the season. In two games against Arizona the Rams allowed just nine points combined while Los Angeles had both meetings with San Francisco after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured.

Since 1998 there have been 13 playoff games with a total of 55 or higher and the ‘over’ has hit in 8 of those games. This is the fourth Super Bowl for the Patriots in the past five seasons and the ‘over’ has hit in each of those three recent Super Bowl appearances for New England with the Patriots scoring 28, 34, and 33 in those games while allowing an average of 31 points per game. Over the past 38 Super Bowls the ‘over’ is 26-12 even with the total often inflated in anticipation of popular action on the ‘over’ in the season finale. The Super Bowl underdog has scored at least 21 points in each of the past 10 Super Bowls while only two of the past 20 Super Bowl participants failed to score at least 17 points.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:39 PM
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By: Brandon DuBreuil



TOTAL KEEPS DROPPING

The total for Super Bowl LIII between the Rams and Patriots just keeps dropping. After opening as high as 59 at some books immediately following the AFC Championship Game, the total has been on a steady freefall. It had dropped to 57.5 just 12 hours after opening and then to 57 by Saturday, Jan. 26th. It continues to tick down and is currently sitting at 56.5 at most sportsbooks, though 56 can be found at some shops.

At 56.5, the total is no longer the highest total in Super Bowl history. That honor goes to Super Bowl LI between the Falcons and Patriots that closed at 57 (and hit the Over with a total of 60). Only one other Super Bowl closed above 54.5 and that was Super Bowl XLIV between the Saints and Colts (and hit the Under with a total of 48).

A quick look at numbers tells us that it’s sharp money that is pushing the total down. The Covers Consensus tells us that 62 percent of bets have been on the Over (at any total) while DraftKings has reported taking 64 percent of bets and 76 percent of the handle on Over 56.5. Another thing to factor in is that the public money from tourists is about to start flooding into Vegas for Super Bowl weekend. And what do we know about the public? It loves to bet the Over.

There are two ways to look at this. If you’re an Over bettor, now is likely the time to jump on the total at 56.5. As public money comes pouring in as the game nears, it’s likely that the total ticks up to 57, or even 57.5. Oppositely if you’re an Under bettor and you missed the lines of 59 and 58, you might want to wait until closer to kick off in hopes of gaining an extra half-point or more.


AIR BRADY

In yesterday’s article, we touched on Tom Brady in suggesting the Over 282.5 for his passing yards total:

So far in the playoffs, he has thrown for 343 yards on 44 attempts against the Chargers and 348 on 46 attempts against the Chiefs. Sure, the Pats might try to run the ball heavily against the Rams, but they also did that in their last two games, with 34 rushing attempts against the Chargers and 48 against the Chiefs. New England is just running a ton of plays on offense right now and that should continue Sunday.

But another stat jumps off the page in what Brady is doing so far in the playoffs: He’s throwing the ball a ton. And these were in positive game scripts, meaning the Patriots were ahead in both games and basic football logic would say that they’d run the ball more than they’d pass.

As it turns out, he also tends to throw the ball a ton in the Super Bowl. Brady has 40-plus passing attempts in each of his last four Super Bowls, including a ridiculous 62 against the Falcons two years ago. The Patriots have been in negative game scripts in their last three title games and they’ve had to abandon the running game and have Brady air it out.

So here we have two trends: a recent trend of Brady throwing the ball a ton in positive game scripts during the 2018-19 playoffs and a historical trend of Brady throwing the ball a ton in Super Bowls. We’re going to hop on this trend and back the Over 36.5 for Brady’s passing attempts total.


PHILLY SPECIAL MENTION?

Here’s a fun prop bet that seems like a lock: Will the announcing team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo say the words “Philly Special” during the broadcast? The Philly Special, of course, was the trick play that the Eagles ran for a touchdown against New England during last year’s title game that is already considered as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. Here are a few reasons why the “Yes” to this prop has a good chance of hitting.

First, it has only been one year since it happened and, with the Patriots being in the game once again this season, it would make sense that Nantz and Romo bring up last year’s game at least once during the broadcast — and how could they not reference the Philly Special in talking about Super Bowl LII.

Second, if there is any kind of trick play attempted during Sunday’s game, the announcers will definitely mention last year’s famous trick play. With two weeks to prepare, the Super Bowl is as good of a game as any to run a trick play. The Patriots even attempted their own version of the Philly Special in last year’s Super Bowl, but Tom Brady dropped the pass. Surely Brady has been thinking about that play ever since and would love a chance at redemption.

Adding to the likelihood of one of these teams attempting some trickery on Sunday is the fact that they both ran trick plays in the conference championship games, with the Rams running a fake punt against the Saints and the Patriots attempting a flea flicker against the Chiefs.

Hearing Romo (or Nantz) say the words “Philly Special” on Sunday seems like a no-brainer and with nice +250 payout, we’re throwing some money on the Yes.
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