Super Bowl odds: Patriots favored over Eagles

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With the big game just 10 days away, the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady are listed as 5-point favorites on the Super Bowl betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the Philadelphia Eagles with a 48-point total.

New England did not cover the spread during the AFC Championship Game, but the Patriots are 9-1 straight-up and against the spread in their last 10 games after an ATS loss. The Patriots also have that same sample of 9-1 SU and ATS in their last 10 games when they were favored by 3.5 to 6.5 points – between a field goal and touchdown margin – at kickoff.

The game takes place at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on February 4. New England opened as a six-point favorite. One reason that the line has inched closer to parity is that tight end Rob Gronkowski has to complete the NFL concussion protocol. Brady was not on the injury report released Wednesday.

The case for the Eagles, who are 15-3 SU and 12-6 ATS, to fulfill their betting value as the underdog starts with QB Nick Foles and his execution of the run-pass option (RPO) scheme, which discombobulated the Minnesota Vikings, whose defense was No. 1 in the regular season, during the NFC Championship Game.

New England’s weak spots defensively are outside containment and defending passes in the middle of the field, or at least that was the case before they went into playoff mode.

The Eagles, who are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games as an underdog, will need to avoid becoming predictable and spread the touches among playmakers such as running back Jay Ajayi, wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and slot receiver Nelson Algohor.

Philadelphia middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbee (hamstring) has resumed practicing after missing the Minnesota game. Bettors who buy into conference strength have likely noticed the Eagles are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games against the AFC.

The Patriots, who are going for a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title, are also 15-3 SU and 12-6 ATS and have a massive edge in collective experience with the Super Bowl, where they are 5-2 SU under coach Bill Belichick.

New England squeaked through the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars thanks to its offensive line, led by center David Andrews and left tackle Nate Solder, limiting the pressure Brady faced from the Jaguars, whose average of 3.44 sacks per game in the regular season was much higher than the 2.38 of the Eagles, whose front four includes a top defensive tackle in Fletcher Cox.

Given time, Brady can still pick apart defenses with passes to the likes of wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks, running back Dion Lewis, and of course Gronkowski.

On paper, New England’s “efficient enough” running game built around Lewis and James White has a tough matchup against Philadelphia’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense. But New England – just ask the Atlanta Falcons – has won Super Bowls while being pass-heavy.

One probably shouldn’t read too much into the fact that Philadelphia beat New England in the teams’ last meeting on December 6, 2015, since the Patriots are 14-2 SU in their last 16 games after losing the previous game in a matchup.

This will be the first game for either team at U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016.

The total has gone under in five of the Eagles’ last seven games after a win, but it has gone over in seven of their last nine games as an underdog. The total has gone under in 10 of the Patriots’ last 14 games.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Pederson remembers coaching start before Super Bowl

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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson hasn’t forgotten where his journey began: High school.

Following his playing career with the Dolphins, Packers, Browns and Eagles, Pederson bypassed professional coaching jobs. Instead, he joined Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, L.A., and quickly added an NFL-caliber playbook to the second-year program.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

This is where he learned that he loved to coach the game. He embraced his role at the school, where he would help in the cafeteria and line the field before games. “I just enjoyed that part of it,” he says. Ten seasons later, he will coach on the biggest stage in the world.

Super Bowl LII Prop Bets

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Oddsmakers have Super Bowl LII covered from every angle, and that includes the halftime show. There is all manner of betting speculation around Justin Timberlake being the featured halftime show performer, 14 years after the infamous “Nipplegate” incident with Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XVIII.

With the game in Minneapolis, hometown of Prince, it seems obvious that JT will cover a song by the Twin Cities’ favorite son, which pays out at -140 on the Super Bowl LII props at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The total on Janet Jackson references is 1.5, with the over at even money; it’s hard to think Al Michaels could resist one mention.

The Philadelphia Eagles, with Nick Foles, are the first team in 27 years to reach the Super Bowl after losing their starting quarterback in December. It’s -150 on injured Carson Wentz being mentioned more than 3.5 times.

But oddsmakers also clearly expect the announcers to build a storyline around the New England Patriots, as it’s -130 for separate props on whether owner Robert Kraft or coach Bill Belichick will be mentioned or shown on-screen before their Eagles counterparts, Jeff Lurie and Doug Pederson respectively. Belichick is -125 to wear a blue shirt at kickoff time, since he wore that color during New England’s past two Super Bowl shows.

More than half of Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks and Tom Brady is a -110 favorite while Nick Foles comes back at +350. It would probably take something on order of a three-touchdown day to wrest the honor from the winning QB, so both the Patriots’ Dion Lewis (+1800) and Eagles’ Jay Ajayi (+1800) are worthy darkhorse picks.

History is not on the side of Rob Gronkowski (+900) since a tight end has never been the game MVP, but Gronk does offer immense value at +400 to score the first Patriots touchdown.

It is +300 on any quarterback passing for 400 or more yards. The strength of the Eagles defense and the run-pass balance of Philadelphia’s offense makes that result look far-fetched.

There was no Gatorade bath for Belichick after Super Bowl LI, which the Patriots won in overtime, but he was doused with orange Gatorade after Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. It is +225 that the liquid poured on the winning coach will be either green, lime or yellow, with +250 for orange, +275 for red and +275 for clear/water.

Clear and orange have been the result four times apiece in the last 15 occurrences and red has not come up. Purple (+1000) has also been used four of the last 15 times and it would be ironic if it happens again, since that is the color of the host Vikings.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.