Make Big Money Betting on Super Bowl 52

by Aaron Brooks
on January 24, 2018

With so many things to bet on in the Super Bowl, it’s easy to get carried away.

While it may be fun to bet on the length of the national anthem, which song Justin Timberlake will perform first at halftime or what color of Gatorade will get dumped on the victorious coach, these are all pretty much guessing games at best. But there are other things to bet on in Super Bowl 52 that we can apply logic to and increase our chances at hitting some winning wagers.

With that in mind, here are 5 of my recommendations for the best ways to make big money betting on this matchup between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Unless otherwise noted, all odds that are referenced in this article were taken from Bovada.lv at 10 a.m. Eastern on January 24, 2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

1. Bet The Eagles On The Point Spread

Remember when the Super Bowl was nicknamed the ‘Super Bore’? There was a stretch in the 1980s and 1990s when it seemed like every NFL championship game was a blowout. Whether it was the 1985 Chicago Bears, Joe Montana’s San Francisco 49ers or the Dallas Cowboys of the early 90s, 13 of 15 Super Bowls were decided by double digits from 1982-1995.

Lately, however, Super Bowls have routinely come down to the wire, cashing plenty of tickets for bettors who took the points. Underdogs have covered the spread in 5 of the last 6 Super Bowls, 8 of the last 10 and 12 of the last 16. Those stats would be even more extreme if the Patriots hadn’t scored a touchdown in overtime to cover the -3 last year against Atlanta.

Speaking of the Patriots, they’re a big reason underdogs have cashed at such a high rate in recent years. They’ve been dogs in 2 of their Super Bowl victories (a 20-17 win over the Rams in 2001, when they were 14-point pups, and a 28-24 triumph over the Seahawks 3 years ago as 1-point underdogs.) And as a favorite, the Pats are 1-4 against the number, again with that lone cover coming on the OT touchdown last year.

Philadelphia has embraced the underdog mentality ever since Carson Wentz went down to injury, going 3-0 against the spread when catching points (not including the meaningless season finale, when the Eagles were blanked 6-0 by Dallas.) The Eagles’ ground game and defense should keep them within striking distance throughout Super Bowl 52.

2. Bet The Patriots On The Moneyline

This may seem a bit contradictory to my last point, but it really isn’t.

While the Patriots haven’t done the best job covering point spreads as the favorite in Super Bowls, they do regularly deliver what matters the most: the straight-up victory.

The New York Giants have been New England’s nemesis in the Super Bowl, defeating the Pats in both of their matchups in 2008 and 2012. Other than that, the Patriots are a perfect 5-0 in the big game, even if they’ve had to scratch and claw for every single one of those victories.

After Philadelphia looked so dominant in the NFC championship game against Minnesota while the Patriots had to overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to Jacksonville in the AFC title match, it’s pretty natural to like the Eagles’ chances of pulling off the outright upset. But if we remove recency bias from the equation, this is a matchup of the greatest quarterback of all-time against a backup pivot playing for his third team in three years.

Factor in Belichick’s ability to bewilder opponents with his defensive schemes when he’s had extra time to prepare, and the -190 moneyline odds here on New England actually look like a great bargain. Even better, if you take the points with Philadelphia and bet the Patriots on the moneyline, you’ve got a good chance of winning both wagers and no possibility of losing them both.

3. Bet The Patriots On The Live Betting Odds If They Fall Behind

Be honest. Even when Jacksonville led the Patriots 20-10 in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game, did you really believe that New England would lose?

Time after time, Brady and the Patriots get off the mat just before we’re all ready to count them out. The most memorable one, of course, is the 28-3 comeback against the Falcons in last year’s Super Bowl. But of the 221 victories in Brady’s legendary career, 42 of them have featured fourth-quarter comebacks. That’s the second-most in NFL history, behind only Peyton Manning (45).

You don’t even need to wait until the fourth quarter when things look the bleakest. There’s a pretty good chance that the Patriots are going to trail in the Super Bowl at some point, and you might be able to get New England at better odds than before the game begins. For example, if the Pats are down a touchdown in the first half and Philadelphia has the ball, the live odds may drop the point spread on New England down under a field goal. That would be a pretty ideal time to buy in on the Pats since only one Super Bowl in history (the Giants’ 20-19 win over Buffalo in Super Bowl 25) has been decided by less than 3 points.

4. Bet Tom Brady To Win MVP

What would an article about Super Bowl betting be without any props? While you won’t find any value laying -105 odds on a 50/50 proposition like the coin toss, there is money to be made on some of the other props if you take an intelligent approach.

At the time of writing, Bovada was offering Tom Brady to win Super Bowl MVP at -125 odds (BetOnline had Brady’s MVP chances at -150, so as always, it pays to shop around for the best price.) You wouldn’t generally expect any props supporting Brady to have much value since he’s probably going to be a popular bet, but I actually believe betting Brady to win MVP is the way to go here.

Only one MVP in Super Bowl history, Chuck Howley in Super Bowl 5, has been on the losing team.

So, based on the Pats being approximately -200 on the moneyline, that suggests there’s around a 67% chance that the MVP of the Super Bowl will play for New England.

If the Pats win the game, there’s a pretty strong chance that Brady will be at the center of it all. The strength of Philadelphia’s defense is stopping the run, which will probably force New England to go to the air a bit more than usual and help Brady pile up some yards. The Eagles don’t have a strong enough pass rush to get to Brady consistently sending just 4 linemen after him, so Brady will either have time to survey the field or have the opportunity to hit some open targets for big plays when Philadelphia decides to blitz.

Brady has been awarded the MVP in 4 of the Patriots’ 5 Super Bowl victories, and the one time he didn’t, Deion Branch caught nearly as many passes (11 for 133 yards) as the rest of his teammates combined (12 for 103). This year’s New England offense is a lot more balanced, with Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola all catching between 60-70 balls during the regular season.

5. Bet The Second Half To Be Lower Scoring

Another prop that we can try to capitalize on is which half of the game will see the more points scored. At the time of writing, BetOnline was offering -110 odds on both the first half and second half, which I believe opens up some value.

The Patriots have played significantly lower-scoring second halves throughout the season. New England is averaging 16.8 points for and 10 points against in first halves this season, compared to 11.9 and 8.3 in the second halves.

Belichick is also famous for his half-time adjustments, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. We saw it in the AFC championship against Jacksonville, when the Jags struck for 2 touchdowns in the opening 30 minutes and then could muster only a pair of field goals in the final 2 quarters.

Philly has played lower-scoring second halves recently as well. The NFC championship game probably isn’t the best example, since the Eagles roared out to a 24-7 lead at halftime and were content to call off the dogs in the second half after increasing that lead to 38-7. But in the divisional round against Atlanta, Philadelphia held the Falcons scoreless in the second half while kicking just a pair of field goals. In Week 15 against the Giants, the Eagles allowed 23 points in the first half, then held New York to just 6 in the second.

If the Super Bowl is tight in the fourth quarter, play-calling will get more conservative and both teams have strong red zone defenses that excel at limiting their opponents to field goals. And if New England holds a lead in the fourth, I don’t like the chances of the Eagles scoring many points if they need to pass the ball on the majority of their offensive plays.

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