Love or hate the New England Patriots, it’s never easy to bet against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, who are five-time Super Bowl winners.
At the South Point sports book, the Patriots are 2½-point favorites over the Los Angeles Rams and the total is 56½. The Patriots are -130 on the moneyline, with the Rams returning plus-120. Opinions from VSiN staff members and other contributors:
Gill Alexander, VSiN host: Patriots, 31-23
I prefer the Patriots -2½ and probably will wait for the moneyline to come down by game time, as well, but either way, I’m not betting against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in their quest for a sixth Super Bowl title. Belichick always tries to eliminate the opponent’s primary offensive weapon as a viable option in any game, and with Todd Gurley a question mark to begin with, the same defense that shut out the Chiefs for a half last week does enough here to get the job done, as well.
Chris Andrews, South Point sports book director: Rams, 33-30
I really think it should be a pick’em game and I lean over the total.
Ian Cameron, VSiN contributor: Rams, 31-28
The Patriots did not find much resistance against the Kansas City defense last week, but they will be stepping up in class against a better L.A. defense that has stopped the run so far in the playoffs and that bodes well against the run-heavy New England offense. That will force Tom Brady and the Pats into third-and-long situations, where Aaron Donald and a resurgent Ndamukong Suh (coming off his best game of the season at New Orleans) can unleash the pass rush. Kansas City gave the savvy Sean McVay a blueprint on how to attack the Pats offensively with their second-half performance last week. Expect the Rams to turn to a short to intermediate passing game and find ways to move the football even if Todd Gurley is subdued as he was in the NFC title game.
Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio 1100: Patriots, 31-30
Expect a sparring match early, with both sides wanting to establish ball control and an avoidance of mistakes. Expecting haymakers after the break and lots of late scoring. The Pats pull out a thriller, because they're the Pats.
Todd Dewey, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Patriots, 33-24
The Pats flicked a switch at the start of the playoffs and are playing their best football of the season. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are 5-0 in Super Bowls against teams outside the NFC East and will outduel Sean McVay and Jared Goff for their sixth Super Bowl title, exactly 17 years to the day that they won their first over the Rams.
Chuck Esposito, Sunset Station sports book director: Rams, 31-20
The Rams were the best team in football for most of the season. With two weeks to prepare, Sean McVay’s creativity gets the best of Bill Belichick. The L.A. “D” up front is too much for Tom Brady and company. It all ends for the Pats where it started against the Rams.
Patrick Everson, Covers.com: Rams, 27-24
In last year’s Super Bowl, Eagles coach Doug Pedersen lived up to his risk-taking ways to beat the Patriots. As I said prior to that game, to beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, you have to to be a risk-taker. Sean McVay doesn’t fear taking risks – going for it on fourth down, etc. – so I’ll go against where most of the money is right now and take the Rams outright.
Ben Fawkes, ESPN Chalk editor: Rams, 31-27
No one wants to see another New England win. Even with a banged-up Todd Gurley, Sean McVay finds a way to get it done. Aaron Donald makes his presence felt late.
Lou Finocchiaro, VSiN contributor: Rams, 30-17
The Rams’ team athleticism and depth of talent provides them enough of an advantage to overcome the brilliant scheming of Bill Belichick and the savvy of slinger Tom Brady. The L.A. defense will earn their collective paychecks in this contest as both teams will look to play ball control in a relatively low-scoring and one-sided result.
Ron Flatter, VSiN host: Patriots, 35-17
My strong feeling about the Patriots is based on one thing — experience. Moreover, Tom Brady's ability to get rid of the football quickly has not only helped him survive as a fortysomething in the NFL, it will frustrate the L.A. defense all night.
Hank Goldberg, professional sports bettor: Rams, 30-24
The Patriots will have trouble running the ball, and the Rams’ defensive line will be all over Tom Brady. The Rams are the better team.
Matthew Holt, U.S. Integrity and VSiN host: Rams, 30-24
The Rams have the ability to do two things defensively that the Chiefs could not — get pressure up the middle and move Tom Brady off his spot and make him throw without his feet set, and stop the run with Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh stuffing running lanes. The Rams also run the football better than any team the Patriots have played this postseason. While New England has coaching, quarterback and big-game experience advantages, the Rams have built a much more complete roster. The odds and narrative have shifted too much. There were lines on potential Super Bowl matchups three weeks ago and the line on this game was Rams -1½. Nothing that happened in the past two games should change this line four points and thus the value lies with L.A.
Paul Howard, VSiN host: Rams, 27-24
You do NOT want to be on the same side as everyone, let alone in the biggest game. Everyone likes the Patriots, so I will take the Rams to win. The young coach-QB duo will get past Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Brady Kannon, VSiN host: Rams, 27-26
I believe the Rams are the better team and I rate them about 1 to 2 points better on a neutral field, but I am more in favor of the game staying under the total of 57. Sean McVay has added another weapon in the running game, and in order to beat the Patriots they must possess the ball and keep Tom Brady off of the field. I believe the added depth in the running game combined with the time of possession theory lends itself to the game staying under.
Scott Kellen, VSiN contributor: Patriots, 31-30
The Pats have won five Super Bowls, but they have all been close games, so no reason this one is any different. New England is 1-5 ATS as a favorite in the SB. Bill Belichick is probably the best to ever coach but he usually runs into good coaching for the opposition in the Super Bowl. Sean McVay and the Rams have not always covered against the better teams they have faced the past two years, and that's usually because they are favored, but they have typically been competitive in those games. This one comes down to the end.
Jay Kornegay, Westgate SuperBook vice president: Rams, 28-24
The Rams will give the Patriots many different looks on both sides of the ball, and in addition, I expect the Rams to win the physical battle. The Patriots get a late TD to make it close, but the Rams control most of the game.
Michael Lombardi, VSiN host: Patriots, 34-30
The Patriots are peaking at the right time, and their ability to pressure Jared Goff inside the pocket and slow down the Rams’ running game makes me believe Tom Brady will hoist his sixth Super Bowl trophy.
Vinny Magliulo, Gaughan Gaming and VSiN host: Patriots, 34-24
Credit the Rams’ resilience and staff, but the Patriots are very adaptable to game situations and are also the best-coached team L.A. has faced. One more for “Father and Son Time.”
Steve Makinen, Point Spread Weekly editor: Rams, 33-30
Putting aside all of the various trends I have found showing how well the underdogs have fared recently in Super Bowl games, the question still remains to me: Is the right team even favored in this game? Going back through my season’s worth of power ratings, the Rams started the season at a 30, while New England was at 29.5. That was Week 1, when the Rams were also credited by NFL.com with having seven players ranked in the top 100 as compared to the Patriots’ two. Since that point, there wasn’t a single week in the regular season that New England’s power rating was higher. Los Angeles won 13 games while the Patriots won 11, so there really was no reason for any change in that regard. Now, after both teams won their respective conference championship games on the road, all of a sudden we have a 3-point swing in team strength? I’m not buying it. In PSW issue #15, when I wrote about team strength at that point and the relationship to the eventual champion, Los Angeles was No. 1 in the NFL in my study. The Rams can fulfill that prophesy.
Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet: Patriots, 31-23
This is not a default recommendation on Brady/Belichick, rather acknowledgement that the Patriots have picked the right time to play their best football of the season in the past month. Meanwhile, the Rams’ parts have always seemed greater than the sum of this Wade Phillips defense, and Jared Goff's aerial show has lacked some of its previous bite since the injury to Cooper Kupp.
Randy McKay, VSiN contributor: Rams, 31-28
The team that runs the ball best will win, and I feel the Rams’ offensive line is a better matchup versus the Patriots’ defensive line than the Pats’ OL vs. the Rams’ DL. Expect the game to start slowly and pick up in the second half, much like the Patriots’ other eight Super Bowls with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
Tony Miller, Golden Nugget sports book vice president: Rams, 28-24
The Rams go down on the last drive and steal the win from the Patriots as Tom Brady plays in his last Super Bowl.
Mitch Moss, VSiN host: Rams, 30-27
I do not have a strong opinion on the spread, total or straight-up winner. The reason I'm picking the Rams is because they would have been favored over New England in the regular season, so I'll take the "value."
Brent Musburger, VSiN host: Patriots, 27-24
I’ve decided to go with experience over youth. Tom Brady has more playoff wins (29) than any other single quarterback has postseason games played. Go against the G.O.A.T. with your own money, not mine.
Mike Palm, The D vice president: Patriots, 31-23
Look for Tom Brady - with his weapons of James White, Sony Michel, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski — to score TDs in the red zone, where the Saints kicked field goals and it ultimately cost them a trip to Atlanta. We’ve already seen Bill Belichick confuse a young Sean McVay when the Redskins went into Foxborough three years ago. Rate a slight edge to punter John Hekker and kicker Greg Zuerlein to keep this game within 10.
Sam Panayotovich, VSiN host: Patriots, 24-23
I am not convinced the Patriots are a layup as many have insinuated. Wait to take three points with the better defense and a more balanced offense. The Rams will cover, but Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will eke out another one.
Greg Peterson, VSiN contributor: Rams, 24-21
Jared Goff has had his ups and down this season, but the addition of C.J. Anderson as a compliment to Todd Gurley will be the difference with both teams playing very well in the secondary.
Wes Reynolds, VSiN contributor: Rams, 30-24
Just two weeks ago, the Patriots were too old, and now people are betting them like they have tomorrow’s newspaper. This time it’s the Rams’ turn to play the disrespect card. For two weeks they have had to hear how they only got here because of a bad call in their favor.
Jay Rood, MGM Resorts sports book director: Patriots, 24-23
I think the Pats get a 10-point lead by the half and need a late field goal to get the win.
Erin Rynning, VSiN contributor: Rams, 34-31
The Rams are as well-rounded a team as the Patriots have faced all season, while importantly well-coordinated in all three phases, as well. L.A. is improving on defense at the right time, holding New Orleans and Dallas to a combined 98 yards on the ground on 43 carries. Their run defense proves vital against the Patriots’ newfound power run game.
Jeff Sherman, Westgate SuperBook manager: Rams, 31-24
The Rams have been the higher power-rated team the entire season and that’s still true. There is line value getting points with the Rams, as the public is inflating this number due to Brady/Belichick familiarity.
Paul Stone, VSiN contributor: Patriots, 31-27
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the demise of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady has been greatly exaggerated. Brady and longtime target Rob Gronkowski connect on key pass plays, and fans who love to hate the Patriots are disappointed again.
Dave Tuley, VSiN senior reporter: Patriots, 33-30
As the total has been bet down, I actually think the Over is the better bet. I believe the Patriots should be 3-point favorites, so they are the play at -2.5 with it being a coin flip at -3.
Jonathan Von Tobel, VSiN host: Patriots, 31-28
Sean McVay is an offensive mastermind, but Bill Belichick will exploit your weakness, no matter what side of the ball. This is still one of the weaker teams in his era, so expect Tom Brady to need more heroics to pull this one out.
Matt Youmans, VSiN senior editor: Patriots, 31-30
Let’s hope this is not another officiating fiasco. This league is too often about the officials, but it’s still mostly about the quarterbacks. The Tom Brady-led Patriots are 5-3 in Super Bowls, and the wins were by margins of 3, 3, 3, 4 and 6 points. And this one is not going to be easy for Brady against the Rams’ tough defensive front. While the point-spread value is with the Rams at plus-3, I am not betting on Jared Goff beating Brady on this stage.
Straight-up picks: Rams 19, Patriots 16
ATS picks: Rams 24, Patriots 11
Totals: Under 19, Over 16