Today's Free Picks for
Super Bowl LIII - Sunday, February 3, 2019
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
6:30 PM EST. You've no doubt heard that this Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and Rams brings the New England dynasty full circle, as they square off against the franchise that was favored to beat them that fateful day way back in February of 2002. Rather than bore you with the same narrative as the pick sellers and pundits, we'll take you back to a simpler time before smartphones and YouTube. It was a simple time when the sweet sounds of Destiny's Child ruled the radio airwaves (yeah, that was still a thing back then, too). If you are one of those people who leans towards the "everything happens for a reason," side of rolling with life's punches, that chart-topping group may have foreshadowed much of what was to come for a young bright eyed, bushy tailed young man that had his whole future in front of him.
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. was just 24 when he took the field against the Rams that day, but enough about that guy, as we're pretty sure everything worked out ok for him. Our story revolves around a kid we'll call "Marty" in an attempt to protect the guilty and the innocent. Now Marty went to his first "grown-up" Super Bowl party, as he had reached the age of maturity the previous spring. As tends to happen when adults find a good reason for it, many drinks were flowing that day in what was supposed to be an easy win for the Rams, who were two-touchdown favorites. Marty overheard the pundits and party guest gush over the "greatest show on turf" for much of the afternoon and as the booze flowed, so too did the side bets before kick off. Fast and furious, the mob of football fans both hardcore and casual looked for an easy "mark" to take their action and what they found was Marty.
You have to remember, point-spreads and sportsbooks were relatively taboo at the turn of this century and outside of Vegas, wagering on the game was not something covered by the mainstream media. Sure, over the years a guy like Al Michaels would get cute and drop a hint or two late in a blowout that the only people watching were ones that had an interest in the spread or total, but that's about it. If you lived in a state or province that had a lottery system that allowed sports wagering, you were likely forced to play parlays and paid a hefty vig to do so. For entertainment, a throwaway 10 spot on a six-teamer with 3-way action isn't going break the bank, but it also isn't a sustainable model for long term sports wagering success.
In the market, as in life, perception is everything. When it comes down to this, the biggest of big games, everyone has a take. Talk to your dental hygienist, the mail carrier or even your mom, and they'll likely have something to say about Tom Brady and the Patriots. These Rams? They are an unknown commodity to the mainstream, much like the Pats were all those years ago. Unlike the 2001 Patriots, the 2018 Rams are not two-touchdown favorites; they are taking back less than a field goal, which says A LOT considering the lopsidedness in attention these two teams are getting this week. Oddsmakers set this line with New England as one point chalk and Football Outsiders agrees with that narrow assessment, as they've dubbed this the closest Super Bowl they've ever tracked. F.O. says New England has 50% chance to win the game. Very early on, the market took a stand in this game and pushed this line to where it is now. If you like the analytics as we do, L.A. was the #2 DVOA team overall, while N.E. was seventh. Based on that assessment and the market's reaction to the opening number, taking back the points or a price here would be the prudent play. However, the game, as they say, isn't played on a spreadsheet and those goods under the hood aren't likely to decide this game on their own. Neither will the useless trends spewed by the pick sellers that need your $20 for a "guaranteed" play.
We've preached time and time again to never pay for picks and that is because of the in-game variance that goes on between the whistles. Be it a helmet catch, interception in the endzone or a brainless head coach that can't manage a 19-point fourth-quarter lead, it's the plays you can't predict and never see coming that often dictate who wins the game. On Championship Sunday, it was an egregious non-call that apparently ruined what was a pretty damn good Saints/Rams tilt and if you believe the word on the street, that missed pass interference call is the only reason L.A. is in this Super Bowl. During the regular season, there wasn't a Sunday that went by where flags didn't rain down all over the field and yet when the playoffs began, the hankies stayed in the pockets of the officials. We're not complaining, as it made for a much more pleasurable viewing experience, but it proves our point even more that nobody can predict the outcome of these games.
We’ve heard all week about how much championship experience the Patriots have at every position and how Bill Belichick can't be outcoached and that Tom Brady won't be beaten when it matters most, but all of that is just fluff. The Pats are 5-3 in their eight Super Bowl appearances with those two tied at the hip, which obviously tells a much different tale and depending on a play or two, the results of each one of those games could have been different. However, the gushing over the Patriot dynasty from the talking heads will be non stop until this Super Bowl finally kicks off until Jim Nantz can take over at around 6:30 EST to continue the slobbering, but do not forget, it was those same so-called "experts" that wrote off the Patriots after their Week 10 loss at Tennessee. In between takes, the blowhards on TV spend most of their time with their heads hanging out the window trying to see which way the wind is blowing. They can't wrap their heads around anything but a Patriot victory and an underdog winning is entirely out of the question just as it was for our party goers.
Marty, of course, cleaned up on the afternoon of Super Bowl XXXVI, although it wasn't easy after the underdog Pats blew a 17-3 third-quarter lead that had been built on the back of three Rams turnovers, but as Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard kick went through the uprights, the crowd at the party couldn't believe some quarterback most of them had never heard of just won the Super Bowl for a franchise that had been the dregs for most of its existence. Were the Patriots the better team that day? No, as they were outgained 427 yards to 267, had just 15 first downs to the Rams 26 and lost the time of possession, but New England won the all-important turnover battle and it could have been a rout had a holding penalty not negated a Rams fumble that was returned for a Pats touchdown. Covering the double-digit spread was never in doubt and if Marty knew better, he probably would have put those points in his back pocket and saved the sweat or at least insisted on better odds instead of making straight-up, even money wagers on a double-digit dog with everyone in the room. He may have left the party with less than he should have, but Marty learned a far more valuable lesson that day, whether he knew it at the time or not. When it comes to wagering, you've got to go with the best of it by playing the undervalued sides and let the chips fall where they may. As for our play, we're going Rams, baby. Outright. Now, where's the party?
Enoy the game and remember, IUPUI or Wright State pays the exact same as the Super Bowl.
Open an account today at and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
L.A. Rams +116 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.32)