Rumors of the New England Patriots’ demise were greatly exaggerated. Coming off a regular season where it looked at times like the Pats’ dynasty was going to end, they are back where they usually are this time of year, the Super Bowl. Early action on Tom Brady and company has the Patriots listed as 3-point favorites against the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta is on Sunday, February 3, exactly 17 years to the day that Brady and head coach Bill Belichick won their first Super Bowl title to kickstart this dynasty. On February 3, 2002, in New Orleans, the Patriots were heavy underdogs to Kurt Warner’s St. Louis Rams but won 20-17 on a last-second Adam Vinatieri field goal. The 16 seasons between matchups is tied for the longest among the seven matchups that featured at least twice in the Super Bowl. Brady had made just 14 career starts back then.
That was the first of five Super Bowl rings for Brady and Belichick and this is their ninth trip together. New England is just 2-5 against the spread in its past seven Super Bowl matchups. It is the third franchise in league history to make at least three straight, joining the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins – both also AFC East teams. Brady and Belichick are trying to become the sixth former MVP and head coach combination in the four major North American professional sports leagues to win six titles together. The last to do it? The Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson.
New England beat the Rams in their last regular-season meeting in 2016, but that Rams team was awful and coached by Jeff Fisher. Jared Goff was an overmatched rookie quarterback, and Sean McVay was an unknown assistant coach with the Washington Redskins. New England has covered five of its past six against the Rams. Los Angeles is just 3-11-1 ATS in its past 15 games overall as an underdog.
If the Super Bowl goes to overtime, bet on Brady. With Sunday’s OT win in Kansas City in the AFC title game, Brady is now 3-0 all-time in overtime playoff games. The Patriots’ opponents never even got possession of the ball in those overtimes.