Last Updated: 2018-01-30
Despite the dominance displayed by the New England Patriots in the regular season and the first couple rounds of the playoffs, their Super Bowl performances have not been what we’ve come to expect. And, yet, the Patriots have five Super Bowl rings under Tom Brady’s guidance and are favored to win a sixth. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pinpoint how, exactly, New England will get to that podium.
Brady has won four MVPs in his five Super Bowls. Wide receiver Deion Branch has the other MVP. Brady has a lot of weapons at his disposal and probably the best coaching staff in the NFL. Who will have a big game? When will the Patriots start scoring? Will Brady have to orchestrate a comeback? There are so many questions that we can attempt to answer with prop bets.
This is a tough Super Bowl for props. We have no idea what to expect from Nick Foles. Rob Gronkowski still hasn’t been cleared from concussion protocol. Tom Brady has a lot of guys that could shine depending on how he and Josh McDaniels want to play it. Both offenses played well in the red zone. We’ve seen a steady stream of Eagles money. Add it all up and this Super Bowl presents quite a few challenges.
In order to get a good cross-section of the market, I’ll be using BetDSI, BetOnline, 5Dimes, and Bovada to look at these team and player prop bets to consider for Super Bowl LII:
Tom Brady First Quarter TD Pass: Over 0.5 (+175) (BetOnline)
So, maybe I’m square. It’s entirely possible because it comes from a square mindset to think that because something hasn’t happened in a while, it should happen. The Patriots have zero first quarter points in the last seven Super Bowls that they have played. People are cramping up because of how much they are running with this narrative.
I know the Patriots do what they do and don’t really care what outsiders are saying. I have to think, though, that after falling behind 28-3 last season, New England would like to get out to a faster start this season. You’ll notice that I talked about Under 2.5 First Half Touchdowns in my game props piece, but this is a pseudo-hedge on that position. Keep in mind that you want a diversified portfolio of props. If you expect things to happen a certain way and they don’t, you’re going to burn up your bankroll.
Like I said, I think New England’s big scare last season means an attempt at a faster start. I’ll roll the dice on this prop with a nice payout on the plus side. Shop around because 5Dimes has +155.
Tom Brady to Win MVP: -122 (5Dimes)
This isn’t my strongest prop bet by any means, but since we’re talking Tom Brady… Look, Brady’s been the MVP in four of his five Super Bowl wins. So, in that respect, it makes some sense to look at this prop. Furthermore, if you like New England to win, but aren’t sure about the spread or the money line, the Patriots aren’t winning the Super Bowl without a good performance from Tom Brady, in all likelihood. Tom Brady isn’t winning the MVP without a Patriots win. It stands to reason that this is an alternative way of betting New England, without laying the juice on the money line. This is the best line that I’ve found, as other shops are -130 to -180.
It is a potential way to minimize some risk. If you go back to 1992, the non-quarterbacks to win the MVP are Von Miller, Malcolm Smith, Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Deion Branch, Dexter Jackson, Ray Lewis, Terrell Davis, Desmond Howard, Larry Brown, and Emmitt Smith. That goes back to Super Bowl XXVI. In 25 years worth of Super Bowls, a QB has won the MVP in 14 of them. Dating back to 2007, Holmes is the only non-quarterback offensive player to do it.
There is a method to the madness. Of course, on the other hand, having a chalky MVP favorite does increase the odds for some of the other options, so there’s that.
Kyle Van Noy Solo + Assisted Tackles Over 5.5 (-110) (5Dimes)
As far as defensive props go, this one seems to be my favorite. KVN is the best run-stopper that the Patriots have and I do think that the Eagles will be a little bit heavier with the run than some people expect. Van Noy will also be responsible for Zach Ertz in man-to-man or zone coverages and I would expect Ertz to see a lot of work. BetOnline has 5.5, with -125 to the over, so, like all props, be sure to shop around. Van Noy had 14 tackles in the win over Jacksonville and was extremely aggressive in stepping up to stop the run. Tennessee was behind all game, so he only had four. I’d expect a big effort here.
Total Patriots to Record a Reception: Over 6.5 (-130) (BetDSI)
This one is significantly off from some of the other lines in the market. 5Dimes, for example, is sitting at 7.5 with the over at -160. Better hop on this one quickly. The Patriots have had seven pass catchers in each of their first two playoff games. All three backs, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, and James White should be targeted. Rob Gronkowski will be targeted. Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola will be targeted. You basically need one of Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett, or Jacob Hollister to catch a pass. The odds of that seem very likely with a guy like Tom Brady.
This is a phenomenal value if you have access to DSI. At 7.5 with the heavy juice at 5Dimes, it isn’t nearly as nice.
Stephen Gostkowski Under 8 Points (+100) (5Dimes)
The Patriots were a solid red zone offense and the Eagles were a below average red zone defense. It seems like Stephen Gostkowski will be more worried about kicking PATs than FGs in this game. Gostkowski has not exceeded this total in his three previous Super Bowls. His high in points in those three games came last year in the 34-28 comeback win over the Falcons. I don’t see the Patriots settling for many field goals when they get into scoring range. Not against an Eagles defense that allowed 21 touchdowns in 38 red zone trips to rank 20th in the NFL at 55.3 percent.
Danny Amendola Over 48.5 Receiving Yards (-113) (BetOnline) & Over 4.5 Receptions (-120) (5Dimes)
My inkling here is that Danny Amendola will be the feature wide receiver for Tom Brady and the offense. Throwing to Brandin Cooks is a little bit riskier because he’s the over-the-top deep threat. The sure-handed Amendola has 18 catches in two playoff games for 196 yards. A lot of attention will be paid to Rob Gronkowski, but we know that Brady loves those Wes Welker possession types that can get his offense down the field. If you’re dying to throw a long shot MVP prop on somebody, Amendola could have that Deion Branch type of day, but it’s safer to play both of these props over.
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