Storylines abound for this year’s edition of the Super Bowl pitting the Los Angeles Rams against the New England Patriots. Both teams come into the 53rd edition of the title game after thrilling – and controversial – overtime conference championship game victories.
The game is a rematch of the 2002 Super Bowl when the Patriots began their dynasty under coach Bill Belichick lining up against “The Greatest Show on Turf” Rams, who were based in St. Louis at the time.
While New England has returned to the title game eight times since, the Rams make their first appearance since they lost to New England 20-17 on a 48-yard game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri as time expired.
Youth versus experience will certainly be in the spotlight both on the sidelines between Belichick (age 66) and Rams head coach Sean McVay (33) as well as at quarterback. Forty-one-year-old Tom Brady plays in his ninth Super Bowl while LA’s Jarod Goff, 17 years Brady’s junior, makes his first appearance.
The Patriots can match the Steelers with six Super Bowl rings, breaking their tie with the Cowboys and 49ers. If the Rams win, Goff and McVay will become the youngest QB-coach duo to do so in a Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LIII Best Bets
ATS Betting: New England (-2.5)
This line isn’t expected to move much more before kickoff and more than likely represents New England’s experience factor and propensity to perform this year in big games. On the field these two teams appear to be very evenly matched both offensively and defensively.
While the “old school-new school” quarterback battle will be in the spotlight, each teams’ running game can play a significant factor in the outcome.
Former Georgia running backs Sony Michel of New England and Todd Gurley of Los Angeles come into the game after much different conference game performances.
Michel ran wild against KC in New England’s 37-31 OT win. The rookie rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. A similar effort against LA opens up Brady to spread the ball around in the passing game, which could make the Patriots attack nearly unstoppable.
Meanwhile Gurley was missing in action in the LA win over New Orleans. He rushed just four times for 10 yards. CJ Anderson did get over 100 yards stepping in as the key back last week but the Rams need a rebound to form from the explosive Gurley to keep up with New England.
By the way, the Patriots are 3-0 against the spread in their last three games overall. Take New England and give the points.
Moneyline Betting: New England (-139)
Giving up the points against the spread plays into the same philosophy of betting the moneyline on the Patriots. New England has more than enough weapons to win this game outright.
Brady still remains in the eyes of many as the best quarterback in the NFL. He’s been on his game the last two times out in playoff wins over the Chargers and Chiefs. Brady passed for 348 passing yards with a touchdown and two interceptions on 30-of-46 completions last Sunday.
In two playoff games, Brady has racked up 691 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions on a 91.5 passer rating.
A key to those stats is Brady was not sacked in either game. It’s a testament to the New England front line the likes of Joey Bosa of the Chargers and the Chiefs’ Chris Jones did not get to Brady once over the last two weeks.
Make no mistake they will have their hands full defending the pass rush from a Rams line featuring regular season sacks leader Aaron Donald. But giving Brady any kind of time to operate historically leads to good things for the Patriots.
Take the Patriots at -139.
Over/Under Betting: Over 56.5
This is the highest over/under line in Super Bowl history.
If there is an Achilles heel for New England, it’s their secondary. The Patriots are prone to give up big plays due to a lack of speed and quickness.
Goff will have opportunities to exploit that weakness and get the ball to his wide array of receivers including receivers Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds, plus tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee.
Layer in the running game combo platter of Gurley and Anderson and the high-flying Rams offense – who scored an NFC high 527 points in the regular season with a +143 difference – will put points on the board.
New England has put up 37 and 41 points respectively in its two playoff wins. However they’ve also given up 28 and 31 to the Chargers and Chiefs.
Scoring will not be in short supply in this one. Bet the over.