Who didn’t see this scenario playing out? Anyone? We all knew when the season started that somehow, someway, New England would find themselves back in the Super Bowl. I even wrote about it when discussing whether to play a future on Tom Brady and New England. So here we are, six months later and Tom and Bill are like brothers Jake and Elwood getting the band back together, or in this case, keeping the band together. From a historical perspective, this isn’t about legacy anymore. Tom and Bill will most assuredly go down in history as the greatest coaching combo surpassing Walsh/Montana or John/Lew/Bill. Is this redemption from last year? Maybe. From the beginning, I felt like this was burning desire by Tom to not only get back to the Super Bowl, but win and ride off into the sunset with one last trophy. Maybe he won’t retire…but a part of me thinks he might.
Overall, head to head, New England is 8-2 in their last 10 matchups. They are 5-1 ATS in the last six against the Rams. The Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 and Patriots are 3-0 in their last 3.
When you go deeper into the overall team stats, there isn’t much that separates these two teams. So for Looney, I look at the stat of how much of a magnitude game this is and how has the experience in these situations and Tom Brady has that in spades. Would the Patriots really let another upstart team outsmart them? Who knows, but I do know that the Patriots are going to try to control the clock and win the turnover battle. In the 3 losses by the Rams this year, they allowed their opponents to control the clock, averaging nearly 34 minutes of time of possession and was a minus 3 in the turnover column. That could be the recipe to keep the Rams out of sync.
Los Angeles actually started out as the favorites, but bettors quickly went with the Patriots and the line has flirted around 2-3 before currently sitting at -2.5 at most books. The total opened at 58.5 and is currently sitting at 56. This is about 4 points less than what both teams average per game (N.E. 28 LA 32) and about 11 more than they average giving up (N.E. 21 LA 24). According the Sportsinsights, at the post of this article, 76% of the public is backing New England to only 24% for LA. The public is slight leaning Over at 54%, however since the totals has dropped to 56, there is a little bit of reverse line movement to consider.
From the beginning, I felt like New England would make it here and I see no reason why I should switch my thinking now. Although, one could argue that the Rams, having had blind officials in the game against New Orleans, could be a team of destiny. Maybe….but it’s doubtful. Game to game, it’s all situation to situation. Years ago…well, going back to 2002, I placed a substantial bet on the then upstart Patriots against the greatest show on turf. I took them in the first half, money line and game at +14. Just seems apropos that we bookend this dynasty and back Jake and Elwood one more time.
LOONEY’S TAKE: New England Patriots -2.5
YOUR BEST BET: Los Angeles Rams +2.5