New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams
Date and Time: Sunday, February 3, 2019, 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Opening Super Bowl Odds: New England PK, 58.5
Super Bowl LIII TV Coverage: CBS
The Road Traveled
The Patriots head to Atlanta off a similar journey from last season. If you remember, the Pats throttled the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round 35-14 to easily cover the closing 13.5 point spread, and then got a huge challenge the following week in the AFC Title Game against Jacksonville. The Brady Bunch was forced to battle back from a 10 point deficit in the fourth quarter to pull out the 24-20 non-covering win against the Jaguars. They then went on to get handled by the Philadelphia Eagles to allow the franchise to tally its first-ever Super Bowl win after falling to the Patriots back in XXXIX.
Fast forward to the Patriots current Super Bowl run and you’ll find them taking the wood to the Chargers in the Division Round where the 41-28 final score hardly relays the domination in which New England went about its business. The Pats took a 35-7 lead with them into the break and then coasted in the second half en route to logging the win and cover as 3.5 point favorites. Just like the previous season, Kansas City gave them all they could ask for and more after taking the reigning AFC champs to overtime where they ended up winning the coin toss and never allowed the Chiefs to get their mitts on the pigskin in the extra session. When Rex Burkhead barreled into the end zone from 2 yards out, the Pats started packing their bags for Atlanta.
How They Stack Up
The Patriots have long trotted an offense onto the field that allowed for it to compete even in its lean years. How could it not with the GOAT under center? That was once again the case in 2018-19 with New England entering Super Bowl LIII betting owners of the league’s No. 5 ranked overall offense and No. 4 ranked scoring offense. The unit can come at you in a number of ways either on the ground, or by air.
Tom Brady threw for 4,355 yards in the regular season with a TD/INT ratio of 29:11 and QB rating of 97.7. He achieved those lofty outputs without the services of Julian Edelman the first four games of the season. He also didn’t have the advantage of having the game’s best tight end at his disposal with Rob Gronkowski now a shell of his former self due to racking up so much mileage on his big frame. Edelman still went on to lead the team in receiving with 850 yards and 6 TD snares. James White was his second leading receiver out of the backfield, which brings us to how the Pats shake out running the football.
Sony Michel had a breakout campaign in this his rookie season. The former Georgia Bulldog rushed for 931 yards and 6 TD overall while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. With Burkhead succumbing to injury right out of the gates, he was the primary ball carrier when not injured himself. With Burkhead now back in the mix, the pair forms a formidable duo that had success against both playoff opponents in combining for 295 rushing yards and a whopping 8 TD!
This is an offense that only needed to travel an average of 14.2 yards to tally a single point ( No. 8 ), and scored touchdowns over 62 percent of the time it entered the red zone. In the playoffs, New England hit pay dirt on 75 percent of their 12 red zone appearances and defeated the Chiefs due to cashing in on 4 of 5.
The Patriots ended up going 9-7 against the spread in the regular season at top rated sportsbooks. However, a bulk of those triumphs against the linemakers occurred within the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium where they covered on six of eight occasions – add another check mark in the win column for the home win and cover against the Bolts in the second season to move to 7-2 ATS overall. In pulling the outright win out at Arrowhead, New England improved its ghastly road record against the pointspread to 4-5 and snapped a two-game losing streak after falling at Pittsburgh and Miami in their final two road tilts of the regular season.
Total players banked on the Patriots in the regular season so long as they hit the under more times than not with New England playing to low scorers on 11 of 16 occasions. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out for those that followed that trend in the playoffs with both games combining to surpass the closing total at online sportsbooks.