The biggest sporting event on the planet returns this weekend as two rivals battle it out for a place in the history books when contesting Super Bowl LIII at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday 3 February.
Some people scoff at the “World Champion” aspect of the Super Bowl as the United States is the only country where professional football exists (since NFL Europe dissolved and Arena Football is… Arena football). However, as we’ve increasingly seen, the NFL is attempting to not only grow its worldwide audience but make the “World Champion” title a tad bit more realistic by playing a couple games per year in London, England. Because of that, there are a growing number of NFL fans in the UK (and according to our analytics, other parts of Europe especially the Scandinavian countries for obvious reasons) and those fans won’t have to deal with the delay that comes from an online stream, as the Super Bowl will be live on BBC Sport from around 11.30pm GMT.
Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots of the AFC and the upstart Los Angeles Rams of the NFC may not be the game that many people wanted (as people are tired of the Patriots at this point and obviously our ilk wanted the Vikings in Sunday’s game), however, there are some interesting narratives and things to watch. The most obvious being that the game is a rematch of the memorable Super Bowl XXXVI match-up of 2002 when the same teams put on a thrilling show at the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans and the (Tom) Brady myth began. It’d only be fitting for Brady, who was the MVP of the XXXVI’s Super Bowl, to retire after this season after winning the same accolade. While there’s next to no chance that’ll happen, as Brady has said he wants to play well into his 70’s, it would be an amazing way to end a run in the same vein as Seinfeld or Michael Jordan (the second time he retired).
One of the main differences between that Super Bowl and this one is the fact that it is now legal to bet on the game. The stereotype for those who do place money on sporting events is that they’re always looking for an edge when it comes to an upcoming game. Whether that be an injury to a player that may be more serious than a team/player is letting on (a la Todd Gurley) or how each team has played indoors this season.
What clues can be derived from all the variables out there? What does this season’s stats give us and, finally, how do bookmakers expect the night to go?
If you plan on marking the occasion with a winning bet, the answers to these questions are worth knowing.
Big Game Preview
Sunday’s game will be a battle of Old vs. New, Experience vs. Ambition. The Patriots have been here, done that and won enough Super Bowls to essentially wear a ring on every finger. They boast one of the best coaches that ever graced the game and you’d be hard-pressed to find a player who has enjoyed more success than Tom Brady, who will strut onto the field as a 41-year-old quarterback who will be playing in his tenth Super Bowl. Regardless of what you think about Brady/Belichick/The Patriots, that’s something that we very well may never see again.
Los Angeles can’t boast the same rich history but what they lack in rings they more than make up for in self-belief, skill, and determination to make a name for themselves. This is a young team, but it’s one that pays no attention to the past, writing off reputation without affording it much more than common courtesy. The Rams believe their opponents have had their day in the sun and it’s time for the old guard to make room for a new generation of NFL giants.
This has all the ingredients of a classic.
How the Bookies See it
The Super Bowl is about as big as it gets in American sports, but as stated above, the NFL is also growing in popularity in the UK at an alarming rate and that has been helped on by Wembley Stadium’s hosting of a couple games each season. Because of that, there will be more people betting on the game around the world which could mean great things for betting houses (unless something crazy happens) and could mean great things for you if you place your money on the right team. Because of that recent diversification,
Gamblers, or “Punters” as they’re known on the other side of the Atlantic have reportedly become enamored with making bets on the outcome of NFL “matches”, and with bookies encouraging more “punters” to bet on American sports with a vast variety of betting offers, the 2019 Super Bowl is expected to attract a record number of wagers.
If you’ve never checked out a legal/legit gambling site you may also be unaware of the fact that you can bet on more than just the outcome of the game, or the score/spread. You can essentially bet on EVERYTHING during the game, from the color of a players cleats to whether the coin lands on heads or tails before the game. However, casual bettors will be most interested in the winner of the game. Big UK bookies have real authority on the Super Bowl betting and they haven’t been shy in making their feelings clear on how this one should pan out.
Those bookies have (ironically, cause of the American Revolution) made New England Patriots odds-on favo[u]rites to roll back the years and relive their former glories, while also attempting to erase the bad taste of last year’s Super Bowl loss from their collective mouths (presumably with some sort of life-extending smoothing that Tom Brady drinks ten times a day). Backers who agree with the odds-makers on that call will find there’s no more than Betfair’s 4/5, which is/was available at the time of writing. That’s the markets best price as most of the competition stuck around the 3/4 or 8/11 mark.
So, what’re the chances of The Rams springing a surprise upset? Well, it certainly wouldn’t be the biggest sporting shock of the century if Los Angeles were to bring in a new dawn and gain revenge for that painfully close 2002 defeat, especially as the Philadelphia Eagles (another team with an offensive guru as it’s head coach) did just that alittle under a year ago. One group who certainly wouldn’t be bowled over by the underdogs kissing the trophy is bookmakers, as they are around the 23/20 mark, a quote you’ll find when betting with services like Ladbrokes.
Special Betting Markets
As well as wagering your cash on the winner of this year’s Super Bowl, leading bookmakers also make a number of special markets available. One sure to be particularly popular with bettors/punters is the point spread. Veteran gamblers will know this as handicap betting and it gives The Rams a head start. LA +2.5 points is available at -110 with Paddy Power, +1.5 points a touch better at 100 with the same firm.
Those who expect The Patriots to win this one with a bit to spare can go the opposite way for a bit more value and trust the betting favorites to win and cover the handicap in the process. New England –2.5 points is -125 when getting your cash down at Betfair. Surprisingly, -1.5 carries the same price, so it makes a bit more sense.
How many points will we see scored? Do you expect another tight match or another game like last year’s Super Bowl in which both teams broke offensive records? Only 37 points were registered when these teams did battle back in 2002 and that seems a decent place to start, however, the league has changed a lot since then and those changes have increased the number of points that have been scored (as well as the number of flags that have been thrown). Less than 37.5 points this year is a bulky 850 with Betfair, more priced as a certainty at -2500. Considering those changes, and the result of last year’s contest, it’s safe to say that the over might be the safest bet.
Other bets designed to catch your eye are: Will Tom Brady to score the first touchdown of the game at 55/1 (Betfair)? Who will score the last Touchdown (50/1) (Paddy Power), while anytime will net you 12/1 through bet365? You can even gamble on which team will be winning going into the half-time show. Patriots are even money favorites with Coral, against the 21/20 of Rams, a draw market best price 23/2 (888Sport).
Either way it should be a good game and hopefully you’ll be able to make up for the fact that the Vikings aren’t playing by making some money in the process. Hopefully we helped you out!