I went 0-2 against the spread for the Conference Championship games, as my awful gambling season continues. Not only was it painful to lose on one of the worst missed penalties in sports history, but it was immediately followed by another gut-wrenching loss for the Chiefs. I should probably just quit gambling forever at this point, but where is the fun in that?
To celebrate Super Bowl Sunday, I’ll be giving my three favorite prop bets for the game, as well as my pick against the spread. Shoutout to all the readers who followed along this season, despite my losing record.
Prop Bet #1: Rams Score First (-110)
For whatever reason, the Patriots’ offense usually starts slow in the Super Bowl. The Belichick / McDaniels gamelan is often conservative initially and I think Sean McVay will be the opposite. Look for the Rams’ offense to begin the game with a number of scripted, unpredictable plays to get guys open. Whether it comes on a FG or TD, I think the Rams strike first in this game.
Prop Bet #2: Rob Gronkowski OVER 55 Yards (-120)
In what may be his last game in the NFL, I like Gronk to be fully unleashed against the Rams. He played well in Kansas City, as he caught six passes for 79 yards, but I think he has an even better game on Sunday. I’m expecting the Rams’ defense to focus a lot of attention on stopping Julian Edelman, which should allow Gronk to get more open opportunities than usual. If you can, try to parlay this prop with Gronkowski to also score a touchdown.
Prop Bet #3: Tom Brady To Throw An Interception (-120)
Tom Brady threw two interceptions, and should have thrown a third (thanks Dee Ford), against the Chiefs. He only needs to throw one in the Super Bowl to win this bet, which I think will happen. The Rams’ defense is far better than Kansas City’s and I think LA’s interior pass rush can force Brady to throw at least one turnover.
New England -2.5 vs. LA Rams
Nobody wants to see the Patriots lose more than I do, but if the goal is to win money, you’d have to be crazy to bet against them. It’s no different than betting against Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 90s or expecting any team to beat the Golden State Warriors this year. New England with Brady and Belichick is arguably the greatest football dynasty of all time, which gives them an edge in any Super Bowl they play in.
As for the game itself, I think the Patriots will have a similar strategy like the one against the Chiefs. New England has to keep Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense on the sideline by playing good defense, running the ball, and owning the time of possession. It’ll be difficult to run up the middle against Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, so look for the Patriots to get creative with their run game. I expect a heavy dose of outside rushes and end-arounds with guys like Cordarrelle Patterson.
Like I mentioned for the first prop bet, I think the Rams score first and take the early lead in this game. McVay’s goal should be to get Jared Goff into an early groove with some easy throws and maybe a few unexpected trick plays like the Philly Special. The wildcard for the Rams is Todd Gurley, whose health status is up in the air. If he is fully healthy, that changes everything for the Rams offense, but it’s hard to count on that after his limited usage against the Saints.
The Brady / Belichick duo has never won a Super Bowl by more than a touchdown, so I do expect this game to be close in the 4th quarter. But if the game is on the line and the Rams’ defense needs a stop on third down, Tom Brady is almost guaranteed to make a play. After starting off slow, I think New England comes out firing in the second half to take control of the game.
Patriots win 30-24.
Conference Championship Record: 0-2
Season Record: 44-50-1