If you believe in conspiracies and/or game-fixing, you’re betting on the Rams in Super Bowl LIII

Friday, 25 January 2019 09:15 EST

NFL betting conspiraciesAll but the most rational of NFL fans and bettors have wondered just how much in-game tampering has been ordered by league higherups in a game here or there, i.e. “The fix is in!”

NFLbets would say that at least 29 of the league’s 32 teams – we figure the Texans’, Lions’ and Browns’ woes are utterly self-inflicted – can point to specific instances when an entire game was stolen in order to present one narrative or another. The New Orleans Saints can now join the ranks of the screwed, “thanks” to the infamous no-call in the waning minutes of the 2019 NFC Championship Game.

Said no-call was certainly damn egregious, maybe even the worst non-call of all time and all that, but suspiciously bad calls have tuned games to the benefit of the league. Patriots haters and Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders fans can cite the Tuck Rule Game (and ignore the phantom “roughing the quarterback” penalty of the 1976 AFC Divisional). The Seattle Seahawks have Super Bowl XL as an exemplar of league favoritism toward the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Deflate-gate Game presents an interesting example in which both sides could argue victimization by conspiracy.

So if you believe that game-fixing – or, likesay, game result-influencing – exists in the NFL, you’ve gotta love the narrative building around the Los Angeles Rams just in time for Super Bowl LIII.

Start with the pass interference call itself. From the perspective of the NFL bettor, the last quarter perhaps even more of a rollercoaster ride than for fans. As the Saints drove the ball for their last chance at the endzone in regulation time, the score was 20-20; not only would a New Orleans touchdown have flipped every ticket reading “Rams +3½” and “Saints -3½”, but bets on under-56½ would become extinct with a subsequent Rams TD. Instead, we get the no-call, an overtime, and just 9 more points scored.

Why is this relevant? Because you can bet (so to speak) that the majority of the money at the sportsbook was on the Saints; the 3-point spread for the AFC game didn't budge, so the balance of bets was certainly not radically far from 50/50.. As for the Super Bowl, the line of Rams -1 shifted to Patriots -2 wihtin about six hours of its release; guess where most money is on this game, and how much the bookmakers stand to gain from a 3-point Rams SU win...

We can also consider the current situation of the Rams franchise. The Generation X-aged fans of Southern California returned to Rams fandom immediately upon the team’s return to Los Angeles, but the Rams reamin at very best a second-favorite to the Raiders in L.A. and southward. Meanwhile, franchise owner Sam Kroenke is footing the bill for construction of a reported $1 billion dollar stadium facility, and he certainly wants assistance for saving a money-losing NFL franchise. The team’s appearance on Hard Knocks garnered some interest locally, as has the performance of boy wonder head coach Sean McVay.

But this is Los Angeles, man! The world’s largest entertainment factory and second-largest football market, as we were reminded constantly in the years leading up the Rams and Chargers relocations. This team needs more mass media coverage than a freakin’ Chunky Soup commercial with Todd Gurley in it; they need Nick Foles and Aaron Donald and Johnny Hecker to be trading witticisms with Jimmy Kimmel and his ilk. Lemme tell ya, as a resident of South California, a single appearance on the Tonight Show might go further than an NFC Championship Game win with these far-weather fans.

And the opponent for this team, franchise and city to vanquish on the path to glory? Who better than that force of EEEEevil themselves, the New England Patriots?

NFLbets will be detailing later what we believe to be the Rams’ roadmap to victory over the Patriots , but we’ve been saying since the matchup was set that every neutral without a betting stake in the Patriots will be backing the Rams in Atlanta. For the first time this season, the Rams will play before something resembling a home crowd.

And if you think the NFL digs on narratives, how utterly karmically perfect would a Los Angeles Rams victory over the very same coach-and-QB combo that went from plucky underdogs to merciless dominators be? Indescribably so – that’s how much.

And how about the stealth commissioner himself? After getting put in embarrassing and over-complicated positions by the New England franchise since that very first Super Bowl win and Spygate, how much do you think Roger Goodell wants the Patriots to win this game? (Answer: What’s less than zero?)

Finally, consider this. The term “franchise fatigue,” typically applied to another sort of franchise such as Star Wars or Star Trek, has entered fandom’s vernacular in 2018 in reference to those New England Patriots. If such a thing even exists – NFLbets isn’t entirely sure it does in any real sense –

It all seems to add up to a pretty convenient narrative now, doesn’t it? The conspiracy is all in favor of the Los Angeles Rams.