Both teams won conference championship games on the road in overtime, but the way that the New England Patriots went about it, along with their well-earned reputation, has led to some early line movement on the Super Bowl odds.
New England, playing in their ninth Super Bowl in the last 18 seasons with Tom Brady at quarterback, are now 2.5-point betting favorites against the Los Angeles Rams with a 57-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for the February 3 contest at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta
New England, which has seen the line move in their favor this week, outgained the Kansas City Chiefs by 150-plus yards in regulation time in the AFC championship game and are 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 playoff games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. However, they are 3-3 SU and 1-5 ATS as a favorite in the Super Bowl.
The Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last four games and 8-0 straight-up in their last eight games against AFC teams.
The Patriots, who are 13-5 SU and 11-7 ATS on the season, scored 78 points over two playoff wins that reflected the adage that lines wins championships. New England’s offensive line, anchored by tackles Trent Brown and Shaq Mason, cleared the way for Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead to furnish the rushing attack that makes Brady lethal in big games.
The Rams have dominant defensive tackle Aaron Donald in the interior of their defense, but it’s not clear whether a team that allowed a NFL-worst 5.1 yards per rush in the regular season will be able to match up against an opponent that uses two-back and/or two-tight-end sets with such great frequency.
The Rams, who are 15-3 SU and 9-7-2 ATS, are likely not being underestimated with the current line, but that might change if it swells to greater than a field-goal margin. With a relatively mistake-proof quarterback, Jared Goff, and an at-times devastating rushing attack with Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, the Rams might be equipped to avoid having to play from behind, a pratfall that befell both New England opponents.
The Patriots have scored only three first-quarter points in eight Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Super Bowls and a recurrence of that trend could help the Rams settle in, especially if the Atlanta crowd adopts them as the home team.
Interestingly enough, the teams’ previous matchup in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 started a run where underdogs are 13-4 on the point spread, which also includes being 6-1 SU in the last seven games.
The total has gone OVER in seven of the Patriots’ last eight games in the playoffs, and has also gone OVER in their last three Super Bowls. The total has also gone OVER in five of the Rams’ last seven games as the underdog.
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