Eagles Taking More Money at the Sports books in Anticipation of Super Bowl Victory
Another record handle is expected for Super Bowl 52 with the New England Patriots a 4.5-point favorite over the Philadelphia Eagles at the leading offshore sportsbooks. The Eagles have been taking more betting action including some 7-figure wagers as $1 million bets are being reported on #FlyEaglesFly. New England opened a 6-point favorite following the conference championship games with a money line of -225. The line has dropped along with the money line to -180, as sports books adjust the numbers with the Patriots expected to drop as low as -3.5 by the weekend and Super Bowl kickoff indoors in Minneapolis.
While the game attracts massive media coverage and big betting action continues on the side and total (48), at least 50 percent of the Super Bowl handle will come from proposition wagers, as the prop popularity and has made the Super Bowl an even more exciting event. Prop betting interest continues to soar, and I outlined some props of interest with a sports colleague chipping-in some additional plays and positions to consider.
I also outlined my strong position in support of the Eagles, and while I would not recommend extending yourself beyond normal wagers and limits as an isolated game, the Super Bowl seems to attract more big bets and recreational players wanting action. If you need any reminder of how these more meaningful playoff games can finish with unusual plays and unlikely results, then see the Vikings-Saints finish this year, or the Falcon's monumental meltdown and miracle Patriots finish in last year's Super Bowl. A 21-0 and 28-3 3rd quarter lead disappeared for the underdog Falcons (+3), as New England tied the game in the closing minute with a TD and 2-point conversion. Even an unlucky coin flip hurt Atlanta backers, as New England scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the first-ever overtime in Super Bowl history to win 34-28. Remarkable.
Here are some of my thoughts and insight on the Eagles, who I have winning Super Bowl LII and won't be surprised if it's by margin. Bold perhaps, and while I haven't taken a position on the total yet, I pegged it near a 31-20 Philly win.
Penalties can be problematic for the Eagles, which is not the case for the Brady and Belichick bunch. But the Patriots have faced a lightweight schedule in the closing months. New England has faced four incompetent QBs in their last four games, Bortles, Mariota, Petty and Taylor. Add in Cutler and Moore both of Miami in two of the three games prior to that, and you see why the Patriots defensive numbers improved. Only one of those teams with sub-par QB's ranked in the top half of the league in total offense. Not a single QB in that group ranked top-15 in QB rating, with the best of the bunch 89.2.
The Eagles have one of the very best offensive lines in the NFL, and after watching the Jaguars out-rush, out-pass and out-play the Patriots in Foxboro for a larger portion of the game in the AFC Championship, I see QB Nick Foles making enough plays and the ground game pounding the Patriots. I project the to Eagles to surpass 21 points, which is another bet and team total you can wager on for the Super Bowl. And when Philly scores at least 21 points, they are 13-0 SU and 11-2 ATS this season. Combined with a top-5 defense that is No. 1 against the run, top-5 overall and just dominated a strong Vikings team, I see a #FlyEaglesFly Super Bowl victory for Philadelphia fans and betting backers.
Is Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski going to pass concussion protocol after returning to practice Wednesday? Can't imagine he won't play, as precautions are in place after he missed the second half of the AFC championship game following a heavy helmet-to-helmet hit. He's clearly a pivotal player for the Patriots in their passing attack, which will be likely exceed 40 attempts for QB Brady.
While the Patriots make their 8th Super Bowl appearance under Brady and Belichick, neither of them play defense, and if the Patriots prevail, they will have the worst defensive yardage ranking of any Super Bowl champion. The Patriots are going to win or lose the game with Tom Brady and his passing. He's attempted more than 90 passes in two playoff games this year, and limited run game success is expected against the Eagles No. 1 rush defense. Point of attack play is something I preach, and the Eagles are stronger in the trenches. I understand Brady is the best, and uses the short passing game to his running backs like a running game while his quick rhythm precision passing is difficult to defend. But the numbers don't lie when it comes to the more balanced attack and dominant defense of the Eagles, who are playing well and with great confidence following the initial shock of losing star QB Wentz and some of the sub-par play that followed in December.
For those wanting more reason to bet on the Eagles, here is some additional situational support.
- - 42 of 51 Super Bowls have been won by the better defense
- - The last 6 teams that entered the Super Bowl off 2-straight underdog wins are 6-0 SU/ATS
- - Super Bowl favorites of 5 or less are 2-9 SU/ATS if they had a bye to start the playoffs
- - In 3 career playoff games, Nick Foles has a passer rating of 116.4 with 5 TD's, 0 INT's and nearly 9.5 yards per pass attempt
- - Tom Brady led the league in passing yards this season. No NFL quarterback that threw for the most yards in the regular season has ever won a Super Bowl
- Common opponents:
- - Eagles 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS and net +331 yards
- - Patriots 4-2 SU/4-2 ATS and net 11 yards
And the most remarkable stat: The Patriots have been to 7 Super Bowls and won 5 under Brady/Belichick. In all 7 Super Bowls, New England failed to score a single point in the first quarter.
Enjoy the big game, and the Eagles Super Bowl victory!
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay