Super Bowl LII is almost here. The rematch of 2005’s big game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles will be played on Feb. 4. Their first championship clash resulted in the Patriots’ third Super Bowl title in four years. And with quarterback Tom Brady still at the Patriots’ helm 13 years later, it’s perhaps no surprise that the odds are in New England’s favor this time around.
The Patriots are favorites to win the 2018 Super Bowl with a 4.5 point spread, according to betting site SportsLine. But that’s not just because the Patriots have Brady, one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history and likely favorite for this season’s Most Valuable Player award. The Eagles also have a star quarterback, Carson Wentz — but he went down with a serious ligament injury in Week 14 of the regular season.
In a detailed preview of the matchup, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote that, “If this were the Eagles with Carson Wentz, I’d pick them to win. They’re better than the Patriots on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and that played up when the [Atlanta] Falcons nearly upset New England last year.” The Eagles come into the game with one of the best defenses in the league — one superior to New England’s, that should be able to apply pressure on Brady. But the Eagles’ replacement quarterback, Nick Foles, may be the key decider of Super Bowl LII. As good as Foles was in the NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings, he was inconsistent prior to playing one of the best games of his career, and simply is not in the same class as Brady or the man he replaced, Wentz.
But there are some who believe the Eagles could surprise the Patriots, who have shown that they are not infallible despite winning five Super Bowls over the course of Brady’s career. After all, the Patriots were down 28-3 midway through the third quarter in last year’s Super Bowl against the Falcons. Were it not for a dramatic collapse by Atlanta’s defense late in the game, the Patriots would have lost handily. And defense, again, is Philadelphia’s key strength.
“Betting against the Pats isn’t a profitable endeavor, and Lord knows I’ve been wrong about some Super Bowl outcomes before,” Will Brinson wrote for CBS Sports. “Philly has weaknesses the Patriots can expose. This just feels like the strengths are going to be a problem for New England and we could see Philly manage to run away with Super Bowl LII.” His final prediction: 28-17, Eagles.
If you happen to think the Eagles can upset the Patriots, or simply believe it’s way too close of a game to bet on an outright winner, you might consider gambling on the total score rather than the victory outcome. The Over/Under line, which bets on the combined score of both teams, is at 48.5 points, according to SportsLine. Will Super Bowl LII end up being a shootout with a higher score than that figure, or are we set for a defensive struggle that will result in fewer points? That’s for you to decide.