The 2018 NFL season comes down to one final game at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on February 3rd as the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl 53.

Back To Where It Began

For the New England Patriots, their journey comes back to where it all began because the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era began 18 years ago at Super Bowl 36 when the New England Patriots upset the Los Angeles Rams 20-17. That dynasty will make its 9th Super Bowl appearance since 2001 and will aim to win their 6th NFL title.

More impressive than those perhaps is the fact that Tom Brady is still the starter after 18 seasons and at 41, he has yet to show signs of slowing down. After a season where he threw 4,355 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, Brady threw a pair of 340+ yard games in his first two playoff games and in his last game-the AFC conference championship game, he engineered yet another game-winning drive that sent the Patriots straight to the Super Bowl.

What’re the Odds?

New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams
Best Moneyline Odds: Patriots -137  from as of 1/29/19
Rams +125 from bovada as of 1/29/19

Disappearing Act

For the Los Angeles Rams, redemption will be on their agenda as they too look back at Super Bowl 36 where they were upset as 14-point favorites. The Rams will be making their first trip to the Super Bowl since that defeat and will be looking to add a second title after their 1999 victory.

The Rams had an excellent regular season which began at 8-0 and progressed to 11-1. However, they won just half of their last last four games and superstar running back Todd Gurley missed the final two games with a knee injury. Gurley came back to rush for 115 yards during the Divisional Round but had a disappearing act in the NFC title game where he rushed for a total of just 10 yards on only 4 carries. While C.J. Anderson has been able to fill up the slack, the Rams need Gurley to show up to beat the Patriots.

Who Wins?

New England is 7-3 SU in their last 10 games played. The Patriots are 3-3 SU in their last six games played at a neutral venue. Los Angeles is also 7-3 SU in their last 10 games played. The Rams are 7-2 SU in their last nine games played at a neutral site. The Patriots are 5-2 SU in their last seven games against the Rams and have won the last three meetings between these two teams.

When you take a look at the recent Super Bowl history, the underdog has taken six out of the last seven outright. But when you take a look at these teams individually, there are interesting trends. The Patriots are 11-6 in their last 17 games as favorites of any kind. On the other hand, the Rams are 3-12 in their last 15 games as underdogs of any kind.

The Patriots won just 11 games this season, their fewest since 2009. Brady appeared to be mortal early on in the season yet he still finished with 4,355 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Then the postseason began. Playoff Brady is back and he just threw back to back 340+ passing yard games to lead the Patriots to their third straight Super Bowl Appearance.

Credit the Rams for putting themselves in this position. They were down big against the Saints but Jared Goff managed to lead his team back. Sure, you can argue that they got some help from that non-call in the end game but had they not played well, they wouldn’t have been in that situation at all. Defensively, they held the Saints to 23 points in their own backyard.

We’ve seen C.J. Anderson have four straight big rushing games for the Rams and that has offset Todd Gurley’s disappearance since the final two games of the regular season. I don’t know what the thing with Gurley is but something’s not right. If you look at Anderson’s numbers, his yards per carry have decreased game after game. The honeymoon may be over and if Gurley doesn’t show up on Sunday and if the Patriots jump to a big lead early, the Rams may not have the experience to catch up.

Betting Prediction

New England may be peaking at the right time and that’s what’s dangerous for the Rams. The Patriots’ ability to make big plays in big games is something we can’t quantify but it is for real. Just ask the Chiefs at Patrick Mahomes. I think we’re going to witness something special on Sunday.

I’m picking the New England Patriots to beat the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl 53.

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Other Bets To Make

The Patriots are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games played while the Rams are 5-4-1 ATS in their most recent 10 games played. New England is 9-3 ATS in their last dozen playoff games but are only 2-5 ATS in their last seven Super Bowl appearances. The Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last four games played and 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games after after a straight up victory.

What’re the Odds?

New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams
Best Spread Odds: Patriots -2.5 -109 from as of 1/29/19
Rams +2.5 -105 from as of 1/29/19

Betting Prediction

New England is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against the Rams but the underdog is 13-4 ATS in the last 17 editions of the Super Bowl. Also, the Patriots are just 1-5 ATS as Super Bowl favorites. I like the Patriots here because of their vast experience and ability to make one big play after another. The odds suggest a close game and in such, I’ll put my money on the GOAT, Tom Brady.

Prediction: Patriots -2.5

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The under is 7-3 in the Patriots’ last 10 games but the over is 8-2 in their last 10 playoff game. Meanwhile,  the Rams have seen the total go over in 5-4-1. Likewise, the over is 5-2 in the last seven games on grass by Los Angeles.

What’re the Odds?

New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams
Best Over/Under Odds: Over   56.5 -109 from as of 1/29/19
Under 56.5 -109 from as of 1/29/10

Betting Prediction

New England has averaged 35 points per game in their last four games and 38.7 points per game in their last three games. The offense is humming at the right time for the Patriots. Meanwhile, the Rams have scored 26 or more points in 10 out of their last dozen games played. 56.5 is a lot of points to score but given the quality of players on both ends of the field, I think it’s an easy cover for them.

Prediction: Over 56.5

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