Advantage – Over

Advantage: New England · Los Angeles · Over · Under

The ‘over’ run in the Super Bowl continued last February as the Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33 in the 52nd installment and the high side (49) was never in doubt. Including that outcome, the ‘over’ has cashed in five of the last six NFL finales.

There were a couple fortunate bounces for bettors riding the ‘over’ during this span, and both of them featured New England. In 2015, the Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24 and the high side (47 ½) connected despite the pair playing to a scoreless first quarter.

Just two years ago, New England pulled off the improbable 34-28 overtime win against Atlanta in Super Bowl 51 and the ‘over’ (57) cashed due to the Patriots forcing the extra session with a wild fourth quarter. Coincidentally, that game also had a scoreless first quarter.

Jumping ahead to this week’s matchup and the oddsmakers are expecting another high-scoring affair, opening the total at 58. After 10 days of wagering, the number has dropped to 56 ½ at most betting shops as of Wednesday.

As expected, the early action is on the low side and the latest Betting Trends are showing a lean that way but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number get pushed up come Sunday evening.

With the professional assistance from one of our top 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 Rams enter this game with the second-ranked scoring offense in the league, averaging 32.4 points per game. New England is ranked fourth with 28.6 PPG.

-- New England faced four playoff teams in the regular season and the defense surrendered 28.8 PPG in those games.

-- Los Angeles has gone 8-0 versus AFC opponents since head coach Sean McVay took over the Rams. In those wins, the club is averaging 34.8 PPG and that’s led to a 5-3 ‘over’ mark.

-- Another McVay angle is what the young coach has done off the bye. In three games played with rest, the Rams have scored 51, 30 and 30 points. The last result coming in this year's Divisional Playoff round, which saw Los Angeles defeat Dallas 30-22.  

-- Sticking with the rest angle, New England offense has played well off a bye in the playoffs. The Patriots are averaging 35.4 PPG in their last eight postseason games with rest, which includes a 41-point effort against the L.A. Chargers this year and also 33 in a loss to the Eagles in the 2018 Super Bowl.

-- The Rams have been installed as underdogs six times under McVay over the past two seasons and the ‘over’ has gone 4-2 in those games.

-- Going back to the 2014-15 playoffs, the Patriots have seen the ‘over’ go 10-3 in their last 13 postseason games. During that span, the offense has averaged 32.8 PPG. In this year’s playoffs, New England has posted 36 PPG.

-- The Patriots defense played two road games versus NFC opponents this season and they allowed 31 and 26 points to the Bears and Lions respectively.

-- New England has played in 10 Super Bowls all-time and the ‘over’ has gone 6-4 in those games. With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick running the show, the totals have produced a stalemate (4-4) but the last three trips to the finale saw the ‘over’ connect.

Expert AnalysisJoe Nelson

The Eagles were the Super Bowl champions last season and the NFC’s top seed allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL. Two years ago the Patriots allowed the third fewest rushing yards in the league en route to the championship and three years ago Denver also finished third in the league in fewest rushing yards allowed. This year’s champion won’t fit that profile as neither New England or Los Angeles featured a strong run defense actually ranking 29th and 32nd in rush yards per carry in the regular season.

In the past four games as these teams combined to go 8-0, sealing the second spots in their respective conferences, and then winning two playoff games. In those four games the Rams have out-rushed foes by 445 yards while the Patriots have out-rushed the past four foes by 499 yards as both teams have been very successful on the ground and should be able to execute a balanced offensive game plan in this matchup. Over the past four games the Patriots have averaged 35 points per game and the Rams have averaged 34 points per game as both of these teams are capable of posting big numbers.

The Rams have been held below 29 points just four times in 18 games while the Patriots were held below 24 points just four times in 18 games. The Patriots were an ‘under’ squad on the season but New England faced a very weak crop of opposing quarterbacks this season. Goff was 8th QB Rating and the Patriots faced only three quarterbacks rated that high this season, allowing 30 points per game in those four games. The Rams have played a third of their games vs. the league’s top five QB Rating quarterbacks this season and they allowed 34 points per game in those games, despite actually winning five of those six games. For the record Tom Brady only finished 12th in the league in QB Rating this season but he has earned the benefit of the doubt to be considered in that company as one of the top opposing quarterbacks the Rams have faced this season.

Both defenses allow more than 350 yards per game and those numbers include playing in two of the weakest divisions in the NFL this year with some very bad teams on the schedule twice for both teams. In six division games the Patriots allowed just 12.5 points per game to bring down the season numbers, actually getting to face back-up quarterbacks in two of the division road games on the season. In two games against Arizona the Rams allowed just nine points combined while Los Angeles had both meetings with San Francisco after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured.

Since 1998 there have been 13 playoff games with a total of 55 or higher and the ‘over’ has hit in 8 of those games. This is the fourth Super Bowl for the Patriots in the past five seasons and the ‘over’ has hit in each of those three recent Super Bowl appearances for New England with the Patriots scoring 28, 34, and 33 in those games while allowing an average of 31 points per game. Over the past 38 Super Bowls the ‘over’ is 26-12 even with the total often inflated in anticipation of popular action on the ‘over’ in the season finale. The Super Bowl underdog has scored at least 21 points in each of the past 10 Super Bowls while only two of the past 20 Super Bowl participants failed to score at least 17 points.

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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