Super Bowl LII betting: The first-half pointspread

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 4:43 AM

sexy Eagles fanFrom a pure sports narrative perspective, isn’t the New England Patriots vs Philadelphia Eagles matchup we’re getting the worst of the four outcomes we were teased with for Super Bowl LII a couple weekends ago? Patriots vs Vikings was probably the most desired outcome, but any of the other three combiations at least provides the “first-time NFL champion” plotline.

Sadly, the Jaguars jaguarsed and the Vikings vikingsed (o boy, did they ever vikings up the place) to leave us with what we got. And NFLbets swears this has nothing to do with the relative butt-kicking handed out this playoff season, as underdogs have gone a stupid 9-1 against the spread this offseason with, to remind once more, the sole loss ATS provided by the Tennessee Titans getting the playoffs’ single biggest ’spread against these Patriots. Grrrr…

Razor-thin bankroll or no, this Sunday marks the American gambler’s Christmas, i.e. Super Bowl LII, and that means it’s betting time! Aside from the sanity of the basic over/under, pointspread and the like, the sportsbooks are breaking out the props, with at least 500 offered by your basic reputable online sportsbook.

Unfortunately, NFLbets doesn’t have *that* much money to wager and, truth be told, a lot of these props are straight-up gambling. NFLbets may be a bit on the humorless side when it comes to wagering, but there’s simply no reason to bet on “Color of Gatorade thrown on winning coach” or even “Over/under on number of carries by Jay Ajayi.” The extreme number of variables involved in a proposition bet such as the latter makes the outcome unpredictable enough so as to be completely random and thus inexcusable to bet, unless one truly wishes to be free of money.

So NFLbets has reduced the betting on Super Bowl LII to an easily countable (and trackable) number of wagers, which we’ll be writing up in the days leading to the big game. Today, NFLbets considers…

First half line: Philadelphia Eagles +3
When the lines on the Super Bowl were released, the Eagles were a 5½-point underdog. One week later, that’s down to 4½ and could well go to 4 by game time, as those expecting a traditional 3-point Patriots Super Bowl win keep ponying up. But because this prop gets less action, it stays still. And as New England gives fewer and fewer points in the spread, this steadfast 3-point line makes less and less sense.

The stat that’s been blowing minds of so many who didn’t realize since dropped on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” last Monday is this: In seven Super Bowl appearances, the Patriots have scored exactly *zero points* in the first quarter. On top of this, the Brady/Belichick Pats have managed 10 points or fewer four times. Further, just 69 (or almost exactly 10 points) of their total 169 have come in the first half. Can the Eagles put together at least seven points in 30 minutes against a bottom-three defense by most stats or metrics? Probably.

But wait, one may argue somewhat justifiably, wouldn’t the numbers balance out? Aren’t the Patriots due for a high-scoring, bam bam bam, go up 21-0 and never look back Super Bowl win?

NFLbets considered this line of reasoning, in fact, but recalled his comments on Media Day last year during which he described the routine of Super Bowl Sunday, how the advance preparation on game day and the long halftime are managed. See, it’s all about timing, the pace, the halftime adjustments for Brady & Co. Here’s a list of second-quarter scoring for the Patriots in their past seven Super Bowls: 3, 7, 7, 10, 14, 14 and 14. Can you identify the wins and the losses? Answer: The 10 and one of the 7s are totals from the losses to the New York Giants.

In order to set the bar low for the Nick Foles-led offense – hoo boy, is it tough to bet anything on any team led by Nick Foles – factor in the Eagles D allowing just 47 points total in five first halves against playoff teams in 2017 while recalling 55 minutes of extreme beatdown applied to a top-10 offense last week (surely not *merely* vikingsing!). So … Patriots 10, Vikings 9 at the half?

All things considered, not at all unreasonable. We’ll take the Eagles +3 at halftime. Also not a bad bet: Taking the under on an O/U line of 24 points at half.

– written by Os Davis