Analyst: Luke Hovhanesian
Feb 02, 2018 10:48 PM
Superbowl LII betting analysis. We've found the value bet in the big dance
For the past 52 years, millions of National Football League (NFL) fans have gathered with friends and family to celebrate the winner-takes-all global spectacle known as the Super Bowl. The game itself is often dwarfed by the glitz and glamour that surrounds the event with many onlookers more concerned about celebrity wardrobe malfunctions and Budweiser commercials than the final result.
This year’s game is a showdown between the Tom Brady led New England Patriots ($1.52) and the Philadelphia Eagles ($2.60), who are cherishing their underdog status in the lead-up to the big event.
From a punting perspective the game is a money spinner, with Las Vegas bookies alone pulling in over US $138 million in 2017.
Many punters often get drawn to the unlikely exotic promotions on offer and ignore the true value within the Super Bowl betting markets. To help you find it, we've identified the key factors that you need consider before having a punt on this year’s NFL finale.
Why are Philly such heavy underdogs?
Injury horror. Week 14 of the regular season saw Eagles fans gasp as lead quarterback and MVP candidate, Carson Wentz, suffered a season ending knee injury while diving for a touchdown against the Rams. This unfortunate event put the microscope firmly on stand-in quarterback Nick Foles, who despite boasting experience at this level, lacked form and success in play-offs football.
Since stepping into the role however, Foles has managed to silence many of his doubters. Last week he capped off a string of solid performances with a MVP 352 yard, 3 touchdown performance in the NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings, steering the Eagles through to the big dance.
If the Eagles were to go one step further and knock-off the Patriots, they would rewrite the history books as the only team to win the Super Bowl after recording a losing record in the previous season (7-9 in 2016).
Philly’s competitive advantage stems from their defensive line, with their 'front seven' ranked third best amongst all active rosters in the league. This solid defensive line pressures opposition quarterbacks without having to rely on blitzing and neutralising pass protectors. Expect the Patriots’ 'go-to' receiver Rob Gronkowski to receive plenty of attention from Philly’s defence, with the aim of minimising the holes for Brady to dart his bullet passes into.
Why are the Pats all the rage?
The team from Boston are no strangers to Super Bowl Sunday. This will be their eighth appearance since the 2001 season, having won five over that period including a thrilling 'come from behind' win over the Atlanta Falcons last season. The Patriots were the standout team of the AFC East this season, leading the NFL in total first downs and the second highest point scorers in the league. Much of the Pats’ success in recent times has been attributed to coach Bill Belichick who’s touted as the greatest Head Coach of all time. A win on Sunday would make him the first coach in history with eight Super Bowl rings.
The Tom Brady factor
The NFL pin-up boy may be 40 years old but there’s no denying he’s still at the top of his game. The five-time Super Bowl champion led the league in passing yards this season, edging him closer towards his inevitable induction into the NFL Hall Of Fame. One factor that makes Brady one of the all-time greats, is his ability to thrive in all conditions. He’s completed 59% of his passes under pressure this season, by far the best rate in the NFL, which suggests he’s well equipped to deal with the Eagles’ defence.
The playoffs are where Brady does his best work and in this post-season alone he’s managed to score five touchdowns and throw zero interceptions. These statistics are even more impressive when considering the re-adjustment he made to compensate for a weakened Patriots rushing attack.
Patriots to cover the 4.5 line paying $1.90.
Despite the Eagles’ recent run of good form, one can’t look past the greatest coach and quarterback combination of all time. The Eagles have been running a very simplistic attack this season and it’s unlikely that their backup quarterback has the artillery in his arsenal to make the plays needed to win a Super Bowl. Expect Brady to find a way through the Eagles’ defence and add a sixth ring to his collection.