Don‘t blame the New England Patriots if they appear a little disinterested in the days leading up to Super Bowl LIII. After all they’ve been here countless times and know the routine. If experience meant anything the Pats would be a two-touchdown favorite since only a handful of Los Angeles Rams have ever played in a Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the Pats are back for a third straight year and for the ninth time in 18 seasons. Brady’s run of Super Bowl success started during the 2001 season when the Pats upended the then-St. Louis Rams as a 14-point dog, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Watch Super Bowl LIII live on Sunday, February 3, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia,
Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu
Los Angeles Rams +2.5
New England Patriots -2.5
Live Betting Odds Analysis
The Rams were mired in a period of horrible play and made the bold decision a few years ago to hire a young coach with an offensive mind to aid in the development of Jared Goff. Proving his first season that produced 11 wins, an NFC West title and earned him Coach of the Year, was no fluke, Sean McVay was even better in 2018. The Rams won an LA team record 13 games, the second-most in franchise history, and claimed another division title. With 24 regular season wins in two years, McVay matched the best two-year run in team history.
Is there anything left to say about the Pats? They’ve just about done it all under Brady and Bill Belichick, reaching the Super Bowl for third straight season while adding to their record number of consecutive AFC East titles. In this era of parity no team should be as successful as the Pats have been. Their 11 regular season victories stretched their streak of winning at least 10 games to 16 straight seasons.
The teams haven’t played each other since near the end of the 2016 season. Goff was a snot-nosed rookie having seized the starting job just a few games prior. He looked as lost as the Rams did that day in a 26-10 loss. In hindsight it was probably one of the best moments for the franchise. The Rams fired Jeff Fisher one week later, paving the way for McVay to turn the team’s fortunes around.
Player to Watch
The Rams have one of the best offensive weapons in football and Todd Gurley has the chance to redeem himself after a shaky outing in the NFC Championship. There was speculation that a knee injury sustained during the season that forced Gurley to miss the final two regular season games played a part in his benching. Gurley said otherwise, stating he played a “sorry” game and that’s why he played only a handful of snaps.
The emergence of C.J. Anderson played more of a part, and the Rams using the passing game more against the Saints provided few opportunities on the ground. Still, seeing Gurley on the bench was stunning. Despite missing two games Gurley rushed for 1,251 yards and totaled 1,831 yards from scrimmage, the fifth-best total in the NFL. He also led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns and 21 total scores. The Rams need Gurley to be engaged, and when he is he’s usually productive. “I expect to play every play and never come out of the game,” Gurley said this week. If that’s the case he’d be worth watching on the live betting lines at BookMaker.eu.
Matchup to Watch
Brady gets all the accolades but he wouldn’t be near the player he’s been this season if not for dominating play by his offensive line. Over the first two playoff games Brady threw for 691 yards, was not sacked and was rarely pressured. Give the GOAT time and he’ll pick opposing defenses apart. So, like most games, this one will be decided in the trenches.
One way to stop Brady and beat the Pats is to get pressure. The Rams will look to sack leader Aaron Donald for that. Donald led the NFL with 20.5 sacks during the regular season and was a disruptive force. The Pats will make sure Donald doesn’t get free with double-teams, quick tosses and misdirection. But the Rams have other players like Ndamukong Suh, Dante Fowler and Michael Brockers to apply pressure. Brady was brought down 21 times during the regular season with nearly half that total coming in games the Pats lost, so there is a common theme.
Rams vs. Patriots Live Betting
The teams are strikingly similar offensively. Both can run the football allowing Brady and Goff to do their thing in the passing game. And the balance has resulted in good numbers. The Pats have been better in the postseason averaging 39 points a game, but we’ve seen the Rams pick up the pace on defense. Shutting down the Saints in the Superdome is no easy task and LA did a nice job. The Rams need to get off the field on third down and not allow the Pats to continue their dominance in that area. New England has converted 60 percent of its third down chances in the playoffs, allowing them to control the game and the clock. The Rams are better in that department, and they are better on the scoreboard.
NFL Score Prediction: Rams 31, Patriots 27
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