I can’t mince words at this point. Reality set in mid-afternoon last Sunday. I tried to get excited for the Michigan State – Purdue game (winner). Dabbled a little bit on the Tulsa-Houston thriller (loser). Topped it off with a split job in the Miami – Florida State game with the Canes and the under (how that under hit is beyond me but I’ll always take it). As much as I love basketball, it’s just not their time quite yet. Football is basically dead for SEVEN MORE MONTHS come 9:00 P.M. central time on Sunday night. Talk about real life Sunday Scaries.
I genuinely lose touch with a few close friends for the next few months partly because we’re getting old and have families, but also partly because we can’t get action on a Saturday morning Sun Belt game or get all geeked up for those Thursday night Titans-Jags games. This is it on Sunday night for the 2018 football season (yes, it’s still 2018 when discussing football). And wouldn’t ya know it, we get to see The Goat end the NFL season once again.
Now, I don’t condone trying to recoup everything you lost the last five months in the final four hours of the season. But I also won’t hate you for trying. What I will suggest on Super Bowl Sunday is diversifying your investments. For one, the odds say you won’t lose ALL of them. Two, there’s so much stuff you can get action on that it becomes overwhelming, but also damn fun to pick from. And lastly, seven months…seven more months until it’s acceptable again to start drinking at 10 in the morning, eat an obscene amount of wings, put off doing life’s menial tasks, and stay up until the middle of the night to see if Hawaii can hit the over.
What I am here to do now, is to give you the road map to get your head in the right spot so you can sit back, have some cocktails, win some scratch and soften the blow that will strike late Sunday night. In addition to the game lines, I have some of the prop bets I like as well as a few lottery ticket type plays that can make things really interesting for you if one does come through.
Note: All odds and lines were taken from MyBookie.
Prop Bets I Like
Sony Michel Over 77.5 rushing yards (-120)
Michel has really started to come into his own during the second half of his rookie season and that train has only picked up steam in January. In two playoff games, he’s racked up 242 yards on the ground to go with five touchdowns. He’s averaging a solid 4.6 yards-per-carry and is the perfect counter to James White’s aerial presence out of the backfield. With Tom Brady’s lack of downfield weapons, Michel has become a focal point of the Patriots offensive attack. The Rams defense struggled a bit against the run this season, ranking 22nd against opposing rushing attacks. They have been better in the playoffs against the Cowboys and Saints, but this isn’t the Cowboys or Saints they will see Sunday. Look for Michel to have his third 100-yard game of the playoffs and possibly enter the (non-Brady) MVP talk if the Pats pull off the win.
Brandin Cooks Over 5.5 Receptions (+110)
This one is a straight up gut feeling. The Patriots secondary can be vulnerable as evidenced by the fact they ranked 22nd in passing defense in the regular season. They held Patrick Mahomes in check for the first half in the AFC Championship game and allowed a ton of yards to the Chargers in the air, although that was mostly in part to the other Los Angeles franchise playing catch-up from the opening whistle. I’m admittedly a total meathead on this one as I love the revenge factor for Cooks who spent last season with the Patriots. I’m a big fan of the speedy receiver’s game. He caught 11 passes in the two playoff games combined so far on 14 targets. He’s got great hands and with the Pats focusing on shutting down Todd Gurley and Robert Woods, I can see Sean McVay scheming Cooks to get a few mismatches and we’ll see Jared Goff finding him early and often.
Gurley to Score Game’s First Touchdown (+450)
This one I am banking on as a result of the Patriots winning the opening coin toss (PROP BET OPPORTUNITY) and deferring like they typically do. I feel like McVay will come out of the gate aggressive to show the Rams won’t back down against Bill Belichick. I see the Rams trying to make a statement early on with an attempted punch to the face – in the form of a methodical drive capped off by a Gurley scamper. Gurley, as long as he is healthy, is such a powerful force that teams really can only hope to slow down – you will rarely ever take him completely out of a game. That’s a strong payout for a guy who racked up 21 scores this season and I think him going back to the state of Georgia where the former UGA Bulldog dominated will spark a bit of a fire under him.
My Favorite Super Bowl 53 Prop Bets. If you're looking to make some easy cash while watching #SuperBowl53 check out @PetroTLS FULL prop betting guide here. #Patriots #Rams #SuperBowl #NFL #PropBets #Sportsbetting #sportsgambling https://t.co/H1y7gahg9C pic.twitter.com/vENBgedGXm
— The Chalk (@TheChalkTLS) February 2, 2019
Lottery Ticket Prop Bets
Phillip Dorsett to Score Patriots First Touchdown (+1000)
This guy has been considered a bust for most of his career. He came to New England in the Colts trade for Jacoby Brissett and has made little impact much like his time in Indy. Then after going four weeks without a target, Dorsett started a three-game scoring streak in Week 17 adding scores against the Chargers and Chiefs in the playoffs. He has 13 targets in that span for 10 catches and 104 yards.
Aaron Donald Super Bowl MVP (+1500)
OK, hear me out. Read the above heading first off (Lottery Ticket). IF, caps lock intended, IF, the Rams are going to win the Super Bowl, it is going to take a monstrous effort defensively. If those cards align correctly, I can assure you Donald will be a large part of the reason. Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL. He’s unblockable one-on-one and really has no issue taking on a double team and still making a consistent impact. The likely Defensive Player of the Year had 25 tackles-for-loss to go with 20.5 sacks. Those are astounding numbers regardless of how much stock you put into each. And let me remind you, the last time a defensive lineman won the Super Bowl MVP it just so happened to be Chicago’s very own Richard Dent. Against the New England Patriots. The stars are aligning my friends. As a Bears fan, I am legally obligated to post this here.
Current Lines: Patriots -2.5; Over/Under (56.5)
The lines for both are extremely tight. All kidding aside from earlier, I don’t see much room in either number, on either side that would suggest it’s a good spot to try to recoup a large amount of 2018 gambling losses. It’s obviously worth getting involved, but I don’t see a spot that says humongous lock. Touchdowns will be a necessity for both teams in this game. Field goals won’t win many games when you have offenses with this much talent facing defensive units that each have some warts. A classic matchup of the wise old sage vs. the new young stud coach, the exterior story-lines at least provide a good chunk of entertainment value to go with what should be a very entertaining game.
That said, I think the current Bet % and Money % according to The Action Network are indicative of a market trying to level off. New England fielding 78% of the bets and 79% of the money gives me great pause. I think the obvious play coming in was New England, especially when they opened as a small dog or even money early on. However, those numbers say the bookmakers want Rams money to come in. How do you get that?
Well, you give them more points, of course. But that really hasn’t happened as the numbers I referenced seem to suggest they would – the 2.5 has stayed pretty flat. If those bet and money percentages continue to stay in that same range come Sunday afternoon, I think you could see the spread rise a full point to a point and a half.
At that spot, I’d really have to throw my backing to the Rams. I don’t think they are the better team overall, but my reasoning is straight from a gambling perspective and also my giant gut. Bookmakers do not want large exposure like they currently have on the Patriots (insert comment here about Vegas hotels). In a game that I could see racking up points and yards quickly, fluky things can happen, and the Rams have enough talent to take advantage when they do. The smart play to me is to stay patient, wait for another point to come your way, and then jump on the Rams.
I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to play a large amount on either side as it currently stands – there just isn’t enough value. I do however like the over much more. Points will be aplenty as neither team is afraid of hitting the gas pedal on offense and I feel like this could turn into a track meet.
Pick: Rams +2.5 (Strong like if it gets to 3; I LOVE it at 3.5)
Follow Matt on Twitter @schools_01