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.
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