Super Bowl 53 predictions: BetChicago staff offers picks against spread, prop bets for Patriots-Rams
Super Bowl 53 predictions: BetChicago staff offers picks against spread, prop bets for Patriots-Rams
Six BetChicago editorial staffers offer their predictions and favorite prop bets for Super Bowl 53 featuring the Patriots and Rams.
With the Patriots (13-5 straight up, 11-7 against the spread) and Rams (15-3 SU, 9-7-2 ATS) set to take the field Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for Super Bowl 53, six BetChicago editorial staffers offer their predictions and favorite prop bets. There’s no real consensus. Two of us are predicting an outright win for the underdog Rams; three of us see the Patriots covering the spread; one of us goes with a moneyline bet on New England. As of Friday morning, the Pats are -2.5 at most bet shops, but the Wynn Las Vegas went to -2 on Thursday, and William Hill is still dealing New England -3 (even). Here are our staff picks, beginning with those of us on the dog. ## Marcus DiNitto ### Predicted score: Rams 26, Patriots 24 While the big majority of early money has poured in on the Patriots, the Westgate SuperBook’s opening number of Rams -1 is closer to what the line should be than where it sits. I’m not sure you can find an oddsmaker on the planet who had the Patriots power-rated higher than the Rams this season, so it's logical that most quantitative handicappers seem to be [leaning](http://www.thepredictiontracker.com/prednfl.html) toward the underdog. I’m on board with the dog, and if you’re with me, shop for +3 (-120) or find a book that that will let you buy the half-point up from +2.5. __Rams +3 (-120) is the play__. ### Prop: Super Bowl 53 MVP I'm taking a couple of flyers on MVP in correlated plays with my predicted score .... __Aaron Donald, 25/1 odds at Westgate__. Defensive players winning the MVP award is not an uncommon occurrence; it’s happened nine times in 52 Super Bowls and in two of the last five. And if the Rams can hold Brady and Co. to 24 points, as I predict, Donald – the best defensive player in the NFL – has a good chance to be No. 10. __Greg Zuerlein, 100/1__. Based on my predicted total of 26 points for the Rams, Legatron hits four field goals. And when he bangs home a 50-plus yarder for the win, the voters may relent and award the Super Bowl MVP to a kicker for the first time. 100/1? Sure, sprinkle on a few bucks. __More on props__: [Books await public push](https://www.betchicago.com/super-bowl-53-prop-bets-vegas-sportsbooks-public-push) ## Jackson Cowart ### Predicted score: Rams 27, Patriots 24 The Patriots are historically disappointing as Super Bowl favorites, and this team has performed worse than the previous versions of the Pats all season long -- losing to five non-playoff teams and until the playoffs, simply looking weathered. At one point, the Rams looked like the best team in the NFL, and a resilient road win over New Orleans does nothing to convince me otherwise. Will the Pats win again and make me look foolish? Perhaps. But give me another outright win for the Super Bowl underdog in a role reversal of 2002. __Rams moneyline +125__. ### Prop: Sony Michel first to score TD (+550) *BetOnline* There's a reason the Patriots rookie back is the favorite to reach the end zone first. He did so last week against the Chiefs, and he scored the first two touchdowns a week earlier against the Chargers. The Patriots have heavily featured Michel this postseason, and they've had no trouble reaching the goal line, either. Michel's as good a bet as any. ### Prop: Will CBS show LAR/NO pass interference call (+150) *BetOnline* This has been the NFL’s biggest storyline for almost two weeks now, and I'd be shocked if it wasn't shown during the broadcast. Think about it: If the Saints are mentioned, or when there's a PI call, CBS will show the clip. This feels like great value for a near-certain outcome. __More from Cowart__: [Super Bowl betting history](https://www.betchicago.com/super-bowl-betting-history-handle-patriots-against-spread) ## Joe Rodgers ### Predited score: Patriots 28-27 Just can't get over the fact we have Bill Belichick vs. a green Jared Goff, who has had a QBR above 70 just one time in his past seven games. The Rams aren't going to beat the Patriots with their outside zone runs, it would have be through Goff on play-action passes and screens. Look for the Patriots to confuse Goff with deceptive inside-out pressure just like they did Patrick Mahomes in the AFC Championship. Goff has a 73 percent completion rate with a clean pocket this season vs. only 43 percent when under pressure. Belichick got rid of Brandin Cooks for a reason, and it'll show in press coverage vs. Stephon Gilmore. Another major matchup advantage will be Patriots RBs vs. Rams LBs. The Rams rank 28th in rush [DVOA](https://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings) and are 28th in defending the middle of the field. L.A. allowed 11 receptions and 96 yards to Alvin Kamara last week -- James White [feasts underneath](https://twitter.com/RodgersBC/status/1091345702486245378?s=19) while Sony Michel controls the time of possession for New England. __Patriots moneyline -135 is my play__. ### Prop: First Quarter UNDER 10.5 The Rams' nerves play a role in this one, but in the Patriots’ first eight trips to the Super Bowl under Bill Belichick, the team has scored a grand total of three points in the first quarter combined (four 0-0 quarters; allowed total of 24 points). While the Patriots scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the AFC Championship Game and led 7-0 after the first quarter, the score marked the first time New England covered a first-quarter point spread away from Gillette Stadium this season. It was also just the second time this season the Patriots have led straight up after the first quarter (3-0 at Bills). While I prefer the first-quarter UNDER, the reasoning for the play suggests value with several other bets, such as: 'First-half UNDER 27.5,' 'the second half being the higher-scoring half' and 'Will either team score in the first five minutes?,' which has seen the 'NO' cash in seven straight Super Bowls the Patriots have played in. For a longer shot, consider the 'YES' to a scoreless quarter at +410. __More from Rodgers__: [Super Bowl 53 betting preview](https://www.betchicago.com/patriots-rams-super-bowl-53-betting-lines-ats-records-game-breakdown) ## Tommy Stokke ### Predicted score: Patriots 28, Rams 23 With every day that goes by, and more money comes in on the Patriots, I really want to zig as everyone else zags. The contrarian bettor in me says take the Rams, but I'm not ready to trust Jared Goff and an injured Todd Gurley against the Patriots. __My play on the game is UNDER 56.5__. The first-half UNDER 27.5 is worth a look, too, as I envision a similar gameplan for both teams. Against the Chiefs, the Patriots [controlled the clock](https://www.boston25news.com/sports/patriots-controlling-clock-third-downs-during-playoffs-1/909552242) with the run game and efficient passing. I expect a similar start for New England, while Rams coach Sean McVay eases Goff in with plenty of runs and conservative passing. McVay has the reputation as an aggressive play-caller, but I didn't see it against the Saints, when they were punting on 4th-and-short and kicking field goals. I don't see that changing here. The Rams could keep it close, but I'm playing the UNDER. ### Prop: Todd Gurley 1H receiving yards -- UNDER 12.5 +120 *BetOnline* I don't think Gurley is healthy -- this isn't some master plan by McVay to save his legs or get the Patriots thinking he won't be involved. Because of that, I expect C.J. Anderson to get more snaps, especially early on. If I'm taking the UNDER because I think the teams will look to control the clock early on, then I'm not counting on Gurley being involved in the passing game. Maybe that changes in the second half if the Rams are playing catch-up. In the playoffs, Gurley has five targets, three catches and six yards. He might see a check down on third down, but I don't think he'll be breaking it for a big gain. __Super Bowl squares__: [The numbers you want](https://www.betchicago.com/super-bowl-53-squares-numbers-patriots-rams) ## Chris Mascaro ### Predicted score: Patriots 35-28 Los Angeles is well positioned for a long run of success with its young coach/quarterback combination, a new stadium in 2020 and Todd Gurley -- but this isn't LaLa Land's time. The Rams have played three playoff games the last two years and should've lost two, while the Patriots have played in four of the last five Super Bowls. But forget experience for a second. How are the Rams going to contain Sony Michel (five touchdowns in two playoff games), while corralling James White out of the backfield (19 receptions in the postseason), Julian Edelman on crossing routes (16 playoff catches), Phillip Dorsett deep (touchdowns of 15 and 29 yards the last two games) and Rob Gronkowski down the seam and in the red zone? They aren't. The Rams might put up points, but expect the Patriots to prevail. __I’ll try to improve on my 23-14-1 season-long record with bets on the Patriots -2.5 and OVER 56.5__. ### Prop: Tom Brady OVER 305.5 passing yards (-110) *Westgate* Why get cute? I like the Patriots to score more than 30 points, so they're going to need a healthy amount of yardage to get there. Brady has thrown for at least 340 yards in each playoff game this season, 505 in last year's Super Bowl, 466 in the Super Bowl comeback against the Falcons and 328 against the vaunted Seahawks defense in Super Bowl XLIX. The Rams let Dak Prescott throw for 266 yards against them a few weeks ago, so do you really doubt that Brady will get to 306? I don't. __Also read:__ [Sharps playing OVER on Brady props](https://www.betchicago.com/super-bowl-53-prop-bets-vegas-sportsbooks-public-push) ## Bill Williamson ### Predicted score: Patriots 38, Rams 30 The Rams will be game and will have their way against the Patriots’ defense. In the end, though, like against Kansas City in the AFC title game, it will be too much of Tom Brady and friends. New England finds a way to score late in the game to win another entertaining Super Bowl. __Patriots -2.5__. ### Prop: Julian Edelman OVER 6.5 receptions Edelman has caught more than 6.5 catches in four of the past six games. He had nine (against the Chargers) and seven (Chiefs) in the postseason. He has been averaging more than 96 yards a game since Josh Gordon has been gone. Edelman and Tom Brady have a special connection that shines in big games. ### Prop: Total number of different Rams to have reception: UNDER 6.5 New England’s defensive game plan is effective in taking certain players out of the mix. Jared Goff may be forced to adjust and concentrate on a specific amount of receiving options. He likely won’t be able to spread around the ball as much as he did against the Saints in the NFC title game when he hit eight different receivers. __$10,000 up for grabs__: [Free to play Super Bowl 53 props contest](https://betchicago.chalkline.com/games/10k-big-game-blitz)2019-02-01T17:01:58.653Z2019-02-01T12:01-05:00