Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots (-4.5)
Two of the better bets in the NFL his year, the Eagles and the Patriots, will collide in Minneapolis, Minnesota for Super Bowl LII this Sunday.
Philadelphia went 12-6 ATS this season, including two straight covers as an underdog in the playoffs. The trend is in their favor here, as underdogs have covered in 13 of the last 17 Super Bowls. The Eagles were responsible for one of those covers when they played New England in Super Bowl XXXIX, losing by three but staying within the seven-point cushion.
Philly will need a strong showing from their defense to keep themselves alive in this contest. This unit has obliged in the playoffs so far, as they limited the Falcons and Vikings to 17 combined points in two postseason tilts. However, both of those games were at home. The Eagles’ defense was not a solid unit on the road this year, ranking 16th in PPG away from Lincoln Financial Field. They’ve also struggled in particular in the passing game, ranking 17th in YPG allowed through the air. That does not bode well when future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady is the opposing quarterback.
Nick Foles will be forced to go toe-to-toe with Brady, and while he put on a clinic against the Vikings in the NFC Championship game (26-for-33, 352 yds, 3 TDs, 141.4 passer rating) that performance cannot be counted on again based on Foles’ regular season passer rating (79.5).
New England, also 12-6 ATS this season, has been an excellent bet when favored by less than a touchdown. Per oddsshark.com, the Patriots have covered in their last 13 games when favored by seven or less, as they are here.
It’s been widely proclaimed that this Patriots team is not as strong as those of the recent past. And while they do lack in some statistical categories, it’s hard to argue with results.
The Patriots’ defense, despite ranking 29th in YPG allowed this year, is fifth-best in PPG allowed. Meanwhile, it’s been business as usual on the other side of the ball, as Brady continues to pick apart defenses with Rob Gronkowski (who is expected to play despite experiencing concussion-like symptoms after a hit to the head in the AFC Championship game) and Danny Amendola. Their second-rated passing attack matches up well with Philly’s previously-mentioned pass stoppers. The Eagles’ pass rush is not all that strong (38 regular season sacks, tied for 15th), so it seems Brady has an inside track to yet another Super Bowl win.
Prediction: Patriots 27 – Eagles 20