Super Bowl 2019 Line: In the 17 years since the Rams and Patriots first met in Super Bowl XXXVI, a lot has changed.
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The Rams were “The Greatest Show on Turf” in that matchup, and they were strong favourites against an upstart New England club led by a quarterback no one had ever heard of.
I mean it when I say the Rams were strong favourites. They had a 14-point advantage.
Even though I was 21, I was old enough to recognise that was a foolish spread. At the time, I was also living in Champaign, Illinois, and it’s probable that my environment influenced my innate contrarian tendencies.
The University of Illinois is essentially a conglomeration of students from Chicago and its suburbs, as well as students from across the state and the St.
Louis region. Many children in central and southern Illinois grow up supporting St. Louis clubs such as the Cardinals and Rams (though the Rams had been in St Louis barely half a decade at the time).
I grew up in Chicago and was a Bears fan. I was surrounded by Rams supporters, who became more numerous as the season went. The Bears finished 13-3 that season, but were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round at Soldier Field (this all feels too familiar).
As a result, I, along with every other Bears fan on campus, were receiving a lot of flak from Rams fans, who were confident the Patriots had no chance in hell of winning the game.
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They weren’t alone, either. The majority of Americans shared this sentiment. As I previously stated, the Rams were 14-point favourites, and to put that in context, take a look at this season.
The Patriots, widely regarded as the greatest dynasty in sports history, faced the lowly Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium earlier this season. In that game, they were 13.5-point favourites. They were 14-point favourites when they hosted the Jets a week later.
So, in Super Bowl XXXVI, the spread was practically saying that the gap between the 2001 Rams and the 2001 Patriots was the same as the difference between the 2018 Patriots and the 2018 Jets. I wasn’t that bumbling.
Yes, the Patriots got off to a terrible start that season when Drew Bledsoe was injured and Tom Brady stepped in, who I knew from his time at Michigan.
They began the year with a 1-3 record. However, they went on to win 10 of their final 12 regular-season games (one of those losses a 24-17 loss to the Rams in Foxboro).
They performed admirably enough to receive a first-round bye. The Patriots entered the playoffs on a six-game winning streak, defeating the AFC West champion Raiders 16-13 in overtime in the Divisional Round (The infamous Tuck Rule Game).
The following week, they travelled to Pittsburgh to face a Steelers club that had gone 13-3 on the season and 7-1 at Heinz Field.
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The Patriots were clearly an amazing club by the time they reached the Super Bowl, but no one wanted to recognise it.
While I don’t have exact figures, I’m guessing that the Rams won at least four out of every five Super Bowl wagers.
Obviously, the Patriots would not only cover the spread, but also win the game outright, surprising the rest of the world and launching the dynasty that most people outside of New England are sick of today.
So here we are, only days away from Super Bowl LIII, and the Patriots are no longer the underdogs they once were. They are the rulers.
Nobody believes they can beat the Rams in this year’s Super Bowl. Never mind that the Rams finished the season with a 13-3 record and a win over the Saints in New Orleans to get here.
The Rams were 1-point favourites in certain spots when the lines for this game debuted as a Pick’em or a Pick’em.
They swiftly swung back to where they are currently, with the Patriots as 2.5-point favourites in some places and as much as 3-point favourites others.
They swung because no one likes to bet against New England, and as I say this, about four out of every five bets on the spread in this game are on the Patriots.
Tom from 17 years ago is screaming at me right now to not be a fool and take the Rams and the points in this game.
Today’s Tom is slamming me in the face with the fact that the underdog has covered in eight of the last 11 Super Bowls, winning seven of them outright.
But I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it. In this game, I can’t go against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I just can’t do it, even if the Patriots are only 3-5 ATS in their last eight Super Bowl appearances and 2-5 ATS as favourites.
The fact that Bill Belichick’s fundamental ideas are straightforward, even if his game plans aren’t, is at the heart of his success as a coach.
He figures out what you’re good at and devises a plan to take it away from you, forcing you to defeat him with everything else you’ve got. Some groups are capable of doing so.
Most people are unable to do so. Then there’s Tom Brady, who realises what you’ve taken away from him and is perfectly willing to beat you with what’s left. And he’s skilled and patient enough to do it on a regular basis.
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And I believe the Patriots will do the same against the Rams in this game. I see the Patriots stifling the Rams’ rushing attack — whether it’s Todd Gurley or C.J. Anderson — and forcing Jared Goff to outrun them.
A Jared Goff who I’ve long admired and feel will be a great quarterback in the NFL, but not one capable of defeating Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
I see the Patriots offensive line, who have been underappreciated for the most part this season, figuring out a way to neutralise Aaron Donald (you can’t completely stop him) and slow down the Rams pass rush, giving Brady time to do whatever he wants from the pocket, whether it’s a receiver downfield or James White underneath.
And I believe the Patriots will do what four out of five bettors predict they will do in this game: win. It’s possible that if they do, it’ll be the final one. Perhaps Tom Brady will ride off into the sunset after winning the Super Bowl.
If that happens, I hope Tom Brady’s legend continues in the same way it started. It comes with a cover. The Patriots won by a score of 27 to 21 over the Rams.
Under 56.5 and Patriots (-2.5) | Super Bowl 2019 Line
For this game, I’ve given you two picks, but I’ve given you three picks per week throughout the season, and I have a third pick for you as well. It corresponds to something I said earlier.
Under 127.5 rushing yards for the Rams’ team
That figure is what Bovada currently lists, but your local business may have a different total. I’d feel fine taking the under as long as it’s in the 125-yard area or higher.
I don’t think the Rams will have much success rushing the ball in this game because the Patriots’ game plan will try to take it away from them and force Jared Goff to win.