Advantage – Under

Advantage: Philadelphia · New England · Over · Under
As expected, the ‘over’ tickets started to show up late this week and it appears the [...]s will need the low side come Sunday evening according to our Super Bowl 52 Betting Update. That’s not surprising at all since the betting masses usually cheer for points in the nationally televised games.

Even though the ‘over’ has gone 4-1 in the last five NFL finales, the high side barely holds an edge (26-24) in the first 50 Super Bowls listed with a total.

With assistance from one of the top handicappers and contributors Joe Nelson, we provide you with trends, angles and statistics on why you should bet the ‘under’ in Super Bowl 52 between the Eagles and Patriots.

Under Trends and Angles to Watch

-- New England started the season with four straight ‘over’ tickets but it closed the 2017 campaign on a 10-4 ‘under’ run and that includes a 1-1 total mark in the playoffs which could’ve easily been 2-0 to the low side if it wasn’t for a meaningless touchdown by the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round.

-- The Patriots defense allowed 32 points per game in the first quarter of the season but buckled down 14.4 points per game in their final 14 games.

-- Philadelphia was ranked second in scoring defense (17.3 PPG) while New England (18.3 PPG) wasn’t far behind in the fifth spot. What’s more eye-opening is that the Patriots were ranked second in PPG allowed on the road with 16.1. The Patriots saw the ‘under’ go 6-2 in their eight games away from home.

-- One stat not receiving that much attention this week is ‘Time of Possession’ and Philadelphia has been ranked first in this category since head coach Doug Pederson joined the team two years ago. The Eagles controlled the clock for 32:44 this season and if successful in that category on Sunday that would obviously keep the more explosive Patriots offense off the field.

-- Scoring hasn’t been an issue for either team this season but Philadelphia has been more prone to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. In the playoffs, they have six touchdowns (one defense) and five field goals compared to eight offensive touchdowns and one field goal for New England. ‘Over’ bettors know how much it stings when you have to settle for the short kicks while leaving possibly four points off the board.

-- Sticking with that thought, the Eagles have scored 18 times with quarterback Nick Foles but the touchdowns (10) to field goal (8) breakdown was very tight. While it’s amazing that Foles is tied with the legendary Peyton Manning for an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a game, he’s also thrown no TDS in 13 of his 42 starts.

-- It’s rare to see New England listed as a favorite under five points, something that’s only occurred 12 times in the last three seasons. In those games, the Patriots have gone 8-4 both SU and ATS while the ‘under’ has produced a 9-3 mark due to a strong defensive effort (15.9 PPG).

-- The ‘under’ has gone 4-3 in the last seven Super Bowl appearances for New England and you can certainly make an argument that the ‘under’ could be 7-0 if it wasn’t for a ton of late surges. We saw a combined 19.6 points per game scored in the fourth quarter and overtime of those games with the Patriots.

-- Not surprisingly [...] has the fourth quarter point total listed at 13 ½ (-120), which is the highest of the four quarters in Super Bowl 52.

-- The lowest quarter point total of Super Bowl 52 is the first quarter (9 ½, -117) and that shouldn’t come as a surprise with New England being held scoreless in the first 15 minutes in its last seven Super Bowls. While it’s well noted that the Patriots offense has sputtered early in the big games, the defense has been very solid during this span and has only allowed 2.1 PPG.

-- For savvy halftime bettors, make a note that the Patriots have seen the ‘under’ go 5-2 in the first-half of their last seven finales while the ‘over’ has gone 4-3 in the second-half.

-- This will be the 11th meeting in the Super Bowl between teams from the NFC East and AFC East. The NFC East owns an 8-2 record in these games and the 'under' has gone 7-3 in those games.

-- The Patriots have played in three of those games, going 1-2 with a pair of losses to the Giants and the lone victory coming against the Eagles (24-21) in Super Bowl 39. All three of those games went 'under' with the totals ranging from 46.5 to 55.

-- Philadelphia has played in the Super Bowl twice and the 'under' has cashed in both of those games.

Expert AnalysisJoe Nelson

US Bank Stadium has now hosted 17 NFL games with 16 regular season games and a wild playoff game. The ‘under’ has a 10/7 lean indoors in Minneapolis but all of those games involved a Minnesota Vikings team that has been one of the better defensive teams in the league the past two seasons. The 2017-18 opening week game between the Vikings and the Saints featured a total of 47.5 with the Super Bowl set to eclipse that mark for the highest total for a NFL game in the building.

Both teams have been ‘under’ leaning in recent weeks after an early season ‘over’ pace. The ‘over’ went 6-3 in the first nine games for the Eagles but since a Week 10 bye week the ‘under’ is 6-3 counting the split in two playoff wins for Philadelphia. The first four Patriots games of the season went ‘over’ with a combined 257 points but the ‘under’ is 10-4 in the past 14 games for New England, with the totals also splitting in the postseason for the Patriots as well.

Those first four weeks skew a lot of the numbers for New England with the Patriots finishing ranked 29th in the NFL in the regular season in total defense despite being fifth in the NFL in scoring defense at 18.5 points per game allowed. Take away those first four games and the Patriots allowed just 14.0 points per game the rest of the season counting the playoff wins where they have allowed 17.0 points per game.

Looking at the last six weeks counting the playoff wins over Tennessee and Jacksonville and New England’s defense is allowing just is allowing just 17.8 points per game with a standout run defense allowing just 3.6 yards per rush including games against the Jaguars and Bills, who both finished as two of the most productive rushing teams in the league.

The season numbers suggest the Eagles should be able to run the ball against the Patriots as New England has allowed 4.7 yards per rush for the season to rate as the second worst run defense in the NFL in that measure but a lot changed for New England since allowing 531 rushing yards in the first four games.

In contrast the Eagles are among the NFL leaders in most rushing categories and gained 4.5 yards per rush on the season but in the last six weeks with Nick Foles taking over late in the Week 14 win over the Rams the Eagles have posted only 3.7 yards per rush. In that span the Philadelphia offense has scored just 23.2 points per game for a big decline from the season average and the NFC Championship scoring was inflated with 14 points off turnovers including the first Eagles touchdown coming on a 50-yard interception return.

These teams were both top three scoring teams in the NFL regular season at nearly 29 points per game but over the past four games the Eagles have allowed a grand total of just 33 points and eight times this season the Eagles held a foe to 10 or fewer points.

New England’s defense has allowed just one second half touchdown over the past four games and that was meaningless score for the Titans after the two-minute-warning in the 35-14 divisional round win for the Patriots, a score that also shifted the result from ‘under’ to ‘over’ as the ‘under’ run for Patriots games could be on an even stronger run.

While Philadelphia’s running game and run defense has not lived up to the season numbers since the quarterback change, the pass defense has been outstanding in that span allowing just 6.1 yards per pass attempt in the last six games. That includes facing three of the league’s top five Total QBR quarterbacks in that span, with Tom Brady holding that distinction as well.

Given the recent improvement for the New England run defense and the strong pass defense numbers for the Eagles both defenses should be in position to thwart the best options for the opposing offenses. The lingering injury to Rob Gronkowski also should favor a look at the ‘under’ with his tremendous impact on the offense and defensive game plan. Most expect Gronkowski to play but should he be limited the Patriots might have to change the offensive plan and pace.

While the ‘over’ has hit in four of the past five Super Bowls, last season’s game was on pace to stay ‘under’ before the wild comeback finish for the Patriots with 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. New England’s Super Bowl XLIX win also featured a late flurry in a New England comeback with only 38 points scored 52 minutes into the game. Super Bowl XLVIII also featured a fourth quarter touchdown that flipped the total result to ‘over’ as there have been some misleading final scores in recent years for those tracking the Super Bowl totals with the ‘over’ having recent success.

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

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