OpenOdds’ NFL Round-Up and Super Bowl PreviewPublished on: January 21, 2019Author: Antonia Kelly
Welcome to OpenOdds’ NFL round-up and Super Bowl preview. With the Championship games out of the way, we now know that the showpiece event in Atlanta, GA. will be between Sean McVay’s exciting Los Angeles Rams and last season’s runner-up, the ever-present New England Patriots. Pats’ quarterback Tom Brady will take the field for his ninth Superbowl, while his opposite number Jared Goff will be making his bow on the biggest stage of them all. Both teams came through the weekend’s games with a large slice of luck; now it all comes down to one game – and it promises to be a classic.
Controversy Looms Large In NFC Championship Game
Football fans who think that VAR and other technology will remove the moments of controversy from the sport would do well to look at the weekend’s NFC Championship game. The Rams’ victory over the New Orleans Saints was shrouded in debate over what appeared to be an open-and-shut pass interference call on the Rams’ cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. The penalty, which would have given the Saints a chance to run down the clock before kicking a game-winning field goal, was not awarded, leaving the Rams time to tie the scores. The NFL has admitted the call was blown. Robey-Coleman has admitted he should have been penalised. None of that matters; it’s the Rams, not the Saints, who will play in the Super Bowl.
The focus on this incident will, in all likelihood, lead to some spicy prop bets being offered by bookmakers between now and the big game on the 3rd of February. With US sportsbooks already offering odds on whether a player will kneel during the national anthem, as dozens have done in regular season games to protest racial injustice, there is a chance to have a few punts on the more controversial side of the NFL.
Brady To Break More Records?
Just by taking a single snap, 41-year-old Tom Brady will set a record by being the oldest quarterback ever to start in a Super Bowl. It’s his own record to break, of course, set last year when he was … wait for it … 40. The bad news for the Rams is that Brady’s age is far from the most remarkable thing about him; in winning Super Bowl LI, he set the record for most passing yards in a title game, with 466. Last year, in a losing cause, he broke his own record with 505 yards.
If you’re looking for a value bet, Paddy Power have Brady’s Over/Under at 288.5 yards for this game. We’d strongly advise backing the Over at 10/11; the Rams should keep this game close, and therefore keep Brady passing, right up to the final gun. Given that he’s thrown for 971 yards in his last two visits to “The Show”, a sub-300 performance would be uncharacteristically muted for Brady, who is also seeking a sixth Super Bowl win. That would beat the record for NFL quarterbacks, held by … Tom Brady. At this point, he’s really just showing off.
Is Jared Startin-Goff A New Era?
It would be easy to look at Brady’s list of records, his literal handful of Super Bowl rings, and his status among referees as a protected species on a par with the Giant Panda and think that Jared Goff is beaten before the coin toss here. Try telling that to Nick Foles, though, who drove his team to victory in last year’s game, caught a touchdown pass (a first for a QB) and – unlike Brady – didn’t fumble away the chance to win the game late on. Even without an Odds Boost you’d have got long odds on that kind of showing from Foles. Goff, a former #1 draft pick, certainly has the numbers to merit his place in the biggest game of all, coming off a regular season in which he passed for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns, and was only intercepted twelve times.
In beating Brady to the ring last season, career back-up Foles also won the game’s Most Valuable Player award. To win this game, Goff will have to put up an equally career-defining performance, but with some record-breaking matches behind him already this season the third-year prodigy is clearly capable of great things. He’s rated at 47/20 with 888sport to be named MVP here – much longer odds than Brady who’s 11/10 – and after his display in the Championship game were he went 25/30, with 295 yards and a touchdown, it’s clear that he’s not one to get intimidated by the big occasion.
The Big Question: Who Will Win?
The last two Super Bowls have been among the most entertaining games in the 53-year history of the NFL’s Championship game. Maybe we’re due a stinker, but with the Rams’ high-energy offence going up against the Patriots’ inability to know when they’re beaten, there’s every chance for another classic here. All UK bookmakers, and their US counterparts, make the Pats slight favourites for this contest – which could potentially be Brady’s last NFL game. The points spread ranges between 1.5 and 2.5, showing how closely-matched these sides are.
If you know your Super Bowl history, you’ll be familiar with the Patriots’ tendency to start slow before coming back with a vengeance as the game goes on. A very smart bet may be to eschew the odds-on price being offered on Brady and co., and instead go to Betway, who are offering 11/2 on the Rams to lead at half time, but the Pats to win in regulation time. Such an outcome would surprise absolutely no-one.