Super Bowl LII Free Betting Picks And Preview

We didn't exactly get the premium matchup, but we could have done a lot worse than Patriots-Eagles. There will be a ton of stories to delve into, but at the end of it all, it only matters who will lift the Lombardi Trophy. I'm keeping it simple after an insane playoff season where the dogs have gone 8-2 ATS and 5-5 SU. Take the New England Patriots ML & the Under.

Now, keep in mind, I'm writing this almost two weeks before the big game. There will be a lot of injuries to keep track of, most notably Patriots' TE Rob Gronkowski, who left Sunday's game against the Jaguars after taking a vicious hit to the head. To me, the opening spread of five points made no sense (I was anticipating at least a touchdown), but I think Vegas considers the loss of Gronk a serious issue for the Pats offensively. Yes, Dion Lewis and Burkhead are pounding the rock with reckless abandon and Amendola had the game of his career, but will it be enough? Gronk is irreplaceable, plain and simple. Can Belichick make due with his tiny receiving corps and running backs?

What gives me confidence in the Patriots more than anything is not what will transpire on the field, but who's pulling the strings behind the scenes. There is no doubt that coaching is one of the more underrated aspects of football analysis, at least from a wagering perspective. Far too often I hear a knowledgeable football bettor discuss every angle from left tackle to special teams and yet they forget about coaching disparities. And in this one, there is no question. All due respect to Doug Pederson (and he should get serious attention for coach of the year), but he is simply not in the same class as Belichick.

If the Eagles are going to have any hope they're going to have to rely almost exclusively on their defense and run game. Jacksonville demonstrated (for three quarters) that the Pats are vulnerable and they can be beat. The Jags produced the blueprint for victory: control the line of scrimmage on offense and run the ball down the Pats throat on first and second down. Jay Ajayi will have some under cover value to win MVP. The former Dolphin knows the Pats well, but he'll have to have the game of his life. On defense, you need to get pressure and play tight press coverage. The Eagles have the best rush defense in the league and if they can force the Pats into some third and longs, they're going to end drives early and could force Brady to turn the ball over. The Eagles trailed only the Jaguars (seven) with six defensive touchdowns on the year.

Make no mistake; this game is not a foregone conclusion. Given the Eagles defensive prowess, I wouldn't be surprised if Philly holds Brady and company to 20 points or less. However, that could very well be enough to win this game. Despite what happened in the NFC Championship, I still don't believe the Eagles have enough offensive firepower to keep pace. This will be a tight, low-scoring affair. Unfortunately, in 2018, it's not defense that wins championships but experience. And there is no team more experienced in these types of games in all of professional sports than the New England Patriots.