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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:06 AM

Advantage - Over

Advantage: Philadelphia · New England · Over · Under

Last February we watched the ‘over’ (57) cash in Super Bowl 51 and for those of you who had the ‘under’ in that contest, please continue to accept our apologies one year later. The low side was definitely the right lean in that game and it looked like a sure thing but that was before New England pulled off the improbable 34-28 comeback victory in overtime against Atlanta.

It’s not the worst “Total Beat” I’ve seen but it’s up there and it was probably a good thing it was the last game of the season for some bettors.

Fast forward to Super Bowl 52 and the oddsmakers sent out an opening total of 47 ½ both in Las Vegas and at the global sportsbooks. As we head into the final days of betting, the number has held steady and most shops are holding 48 as of Wednesday afternoon.

According to the latest betting trends at VegasInsider.com, the ‘over’ is receiving more attention and that shouldn’t come as a surprise since the public usually sides with the high side in the finale while the pro bettors lean low.

With assistance from one of the top VegasInsider.com handicappers and contributors Joe Nelson, we’ll touch on the ‘over’ in this piece and also provide you reasons to back the ‘under’ in another installment.

Over Trends and Angles to Watch

-- The Eagles went 3-1 both straight up and against the spread versus AFC opponents this season while the offense averaged 29 points per game. The ‘over’ went 2-1-1.     

-- The Patriots went 3-1 both SU and ATS in non-conference games as well behind an offense that averaged 27 PPG.

-- Philadelphia only faced three playoff teams during the regular season and all of the games took place on the road. They went 2-1 in those games despite allowing 28.3 PPG. The ‘over’ went 2-0-1.

-- Meanwhile, New England was 3-2 against postseason clubs this season and the ‘over’ went 3-2 in those games while the offense averaged 28.6 PPG and the defense surrendered 25.2 PPG.

-- The Eagles didn’t play any games indoors this season but the Patriots notched a 36-20 road win over New Orleans in Week 2 at the Superdome.

-- The Eagles scoring defense (17.3 PPG) enters this game ranked second in the league but most of the great production was done at home (12.4 PPG) and not on the road (23.5 PPG), which has been a pattern under head coach Doug Pederson. Since he took over Philadelphia, the Birds have allowed 24.7 PPG in 16 road games and that’s led to an 11-4-1 ‘over’ mark.

-- The Patriots have watched the ‘over’ cash in six of their last eight playoff games and the offense has averaged 29.5 PPG during this stretch.

-- New England has played in nine Super Bowls all-time and the ‘over’ has gone 5-4 in those games. With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick running the show, the 'under' has gone 4-3 but the last two trips to the finale have gone ‘over’ the number.

-- This will be the third Super Bowl appearance for the Eagles, who allowed 27 and 24 points in their first two trips to the big game.

-- QB Nick Foles has started three postseason games in his career, all with the Eagles, and his teams have averaged 25.6 PPG.

-- The total on this year’s Super Bowl is hovering between 48 and 48 ½ points. The Eagles have had two totals fall in this neighborhood and the results ended in a stalemate (1-1). New England has watched the ‘over’ go 3-2 with numbers closing at 48 or 48 ½.

-- There has been one Super Bowl played at Minnesota, which took place in 1992 when Washington throttled Buffalo 37-24 and the ‘over’ (49) connected easily.

Expert AnalysisJoe Nelson

With a total of 57 last year’s Super Bowl win for the Patriots featured the highest Super Bowl total ever. A year later the total is currently nine points below that mark at 48 and seven of the last nine Super Bowls have featured 48 or more points scored as scoring has generally been on display on the league’s biggest stage.

Last week’s 24-20 win for the Patriots stayed just ‘under’ but Jaguars fans would argue they deserved another touchdown with the controversial ruling on the Myles Jack strip that was perhaps errantly whistled down by contact. There was over 700 yards in that game and Jacksonville was in New England territory before going backwards in the final series.  In the past 10 Patriots playoff games the ‘over’ is 7-2-1 and this total will be lower than several of those games, many of which were outdoors in cold January conditions.

After allowing 128 points in the first four weeks of the season the Patriots allowed just 168 points in the final 12 weeks. Certainly some positive adjustments were made in that span but the schedule played a big role as well as the Patriots played quality teams in that first month including facing three playoff teams. In only four of the final 12 regular season games did the Patriots face a playoff team and two of those games came against a very limited Bills offense.

New England also caught one of the most favorable playoff paths ever facing a Titans team that was a negative scoring differential team and a Jaguars team that has been quite erratic and limited on offense as the defense hasn’t been tested against a top offense since facing Pittsburgh in Week 15. New England allowed 24 points in that game with all common sense pointing to the Patriots actually allowing 31 points in that game. 

While New England’s defense has been erratic the offense has not been. With 458 points on the season the Patriots were the second highest scoring team in the NFL and only once all season was New England held below 20 points and barely so with a 19-14 win at Tampa Bay in October. Since a Week 9 bye week the Patriots have averaged 30.1 points per game the past 10 games with minimal variance, scoring at least 23 points in every game.

In the regular season Philadelphia scored just one fewer point than the Patriots and keep in mind that is with the adjustment at quarterback. While the Eagles put up 34 points in the first start for Foles they scored just 19 points combined in Week 16 and 17 with the offense struggling and with the team in a situation where they didn’t have great urgency to win given their top position in the NFC. Foles was injured much of the season and didn’t have regular practice reps all year as it isn’t surprising that he struggled in his first few games and has now found his stride.

Take out the final two weeks and the Eagles would have led the NFL in scoring with 31.3 points per game and so far in the playoffs the Eagles have scored 53 points against a pair of high quality defenses. Had the NFC Championship been competitive the Eagles likely would have added even more points as they didn’t score in the final 14 minutes with the game out of hand. In the divisional win over Atlanta the Eagles scored only 15 points but they missed an extra-point and settled for three field goals including an incredibly short 4th quarter kick of just 21 yards as 15 points came with solid production of 334 yards of offense. The Eagles also fumbled in field goal range on 1st down early in that game as well to keep points off the board.

Many expected the Eagles to be conservative in the postseason behind Nick Foles but Philadelphia has thrown 63 times in two postseason games despite outdoor January conditions in Philadelphia. Foles has delivered with nearly 78 percent completions on nearly 9.5 yards per pass attempt despite going against two of the better pass defenses in the NFL. The Patriots meanwhile allowed 7.3 yards per pass attempt in the regular season to rank 25th in the NFL and over the last six weeks despite stronger numbers overall for the New England defense, the Patriots have allowed 7.7 yards per pass attempt. Foles may not be close to being in Tom Brady’s company but he compares favorably to the quartet of Tyrod Taylor, Bryce Petty, Marcus Mariota, and Blake Bortles, which are the marginal quarterbacks New England has faced the last four weeks.

The top two yards per pass attempt defenses in the NFL were both in the conference championship games and neither is playing in the Super Bowl as Minnesota and Jacksonville both allowed just 6.0 yards per pass attempt on the season. The Patriots threw for 298 yards on nearly 70 percent completions to beat the Jaguars while Foles and the Eagles torched the Vikings with only seven incomplete passes en route to a 352 passing yards game on 10.7 yards per attempt. However you grade the Philadelphia and New England pass defenses they likely can’t be considered as good as the units these quarterbacks faced in the conference championships and both still had great success. Brady actually had some of his biggest passing games against the top rated pass defenses he faced this season.

Given the comeback ability both of these teams has displayed and the general edge that the offenses can get in the NFL rulebook this is rather attainable number for an indoor game with two of the top scoring teams in the NFL. The kicking game will also get a boost with more possible attempts from longer distances in an indoor setting and both offenses could be at an advantage as these teams haven’t met since a 35-28 win for the Eagles in 2015 and there also simply is not a lot of film on Foles in this offense for a Patriots franchise known for its meticulous scouting work.

Joe Nelson is a veteran handicapper of VegasInsider.com and his content provides an informative approach that often brings something to your attention that you didn’t know.

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