Another “Big Game,” another chance for an NFC team to slay the dragon. Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams will get their shot at the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday. The question is, will they come out on top like the Eagles, or will they falter like the Falcons?
Unlike the Pats’ false underdog rallying cry last week, the Rams will actually enter the game as 3-point underdogs, according to Bovada. Despite winning the NFC Championship in controversial fashion, Los Angeles is primed and ready for the biggest game of the season. The key to the game for McVay’s potent offense will be establishing the run. Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson combined for 238 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Dallas in the Divisional Round, allowing them to dictate the tempo of the game. On the flip side, the Rams were only able to rack up 77 yards on the ground, which contributed to them playing from behind for most of the game.
On defense, they will have a couple advantages that might help them stand out on Sunday. First, Aqib Talib has plenty of experience against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady from both his time on the Pats and his matchups as a member of the Broncos. Not to mention, Rams DC Wade Phillips has plenty of experience against New England from his championship seasons coaching the Denver defenses just a few seasons ago. Additionally, L.A. wideout Brandin Cooks was a member of the very same New England team that lost in Super Bowl LII last year. Last but not least, they do have the best defensive player in the NFL in Aaron Donald. If the Rams hope to win, Donald will need to apply pressure on Brady.
It was one of the weirdest things to happen this season. Todd Gurley never left the field to head to the locker room, yet he only touched the ball five times against the Saints in the NFC title game. We are talking about the presumptive Offensive Player of the Year here. He was dealing with an injury late in the season, but any doubts about his health went out the window when he totaled 118 yards and a touchdown against Dallas the week before. Nevertheless, he only managed to rack up 13 total yards against New Orleans, so keep an eye on the star running back on Sunday.
Of course, the loss of Cooper Kupp was a big hit to the receiving core earlier in the season. With that being said, McVay has managed to find plenty of value in his replacement, Josh Reynolds. The No. 3 wideout has caught 5 passes for 93 yards and rushed twice for 25 yards this postseason.
As mentioned in the New England edition of this Super Bowl series, the Patriots tend to make it interesting in the Super Bowl. In fact, Brady and Belichick’s first five Super Bowls were decided by four points or less, including their matchup with the then-St. Louis Rams in 2002. The now-L.A. Rams are three-point underdogs. They are 2-0 against the spread this postseason and 1-0 ATS in their only game as an underdog this season. They are also 2-0 ATS in games after a bye this season.
With all that being said, the over/under is set at 56.5 points for Super Bowl LIII. Despite being in plenty of shootouts during the regular season, the Rams have yet to reach that number this postseason. In addition, their UNDER percentage was 100 percent as an underdog this season. In addition, New England had a 64.7 percent UNDER percentage as the favorite during the regular season. Consider betting UNDER 56.5 points (-105) at Bovada.