Today's Free Picks for
Posted Friday, February 2nd at 11:45 AM EST.
Super Bowl LII - U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
6:30 PM EST. It's en vogue to hate the Patriots this time of the year. It's likely because they have been in this spot far more often than any other franchise in recent memory. Fans are passionate and everyone either loves or loathes a winner. The quarterback/coach combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick has had more success than any other in the modern era. Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw were surrounded by Hall of Famers and did not have to reload year after year, as is the norm in the salary cap era. How many popular players have the Pats ruthlessly cut over the years? The answer is all of them, except one. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. You can have your Joe Montana, who was shown the door by the 49ers long before his main man Jerry Rice. Take Marino and Manning too. They may have rewritten the record books, but both won far less than those impressive numbers would ever indicate. In case you didn’t know, this is the eighth Super Bowl appearance in 17 years for Brady and Belichick. To give you an idea of how impressive that is, there are teams in this league that haven’t even made the playoffs over that span, let alone a Super Bowl appearance. However, if you’re like us, you've likely heard every talking point, trend and statistical breakdown on this, the biggest of games. We are not in the business of breaking down X's and O's. Lord knows you can find that anywhere else. What we are here to do is look for over and under-reactions, and this game is filled with both, as everything is magnified to the ninth degree.
When Carson Wentz limped off the field at the Coliseum in Los Angeles in Week 12, the pundits hollered that these Birds were cooked. Nick Foles, who was humbled in his attempt to be an everyday starter with the Rams, was back on the bench in Philly and forced to take the reins. To be fair to those pundits, Foles looked putrid in three games to end the season and he was considered un-bettable when the Falcons came to CenturyLink Field for the NFC Divisional round. You know what happened next. The Iggles took out a mighty Atlanta team that had just beat the market darling Rams the week prior. That close win over the Dirty Birds was the tipping point in a market with a short memory, as the Eagles were a popular pick as a home dog to the Vikings in the NFC Championship game. While that 38-7 thumping looks impressive in the headlines, early Viking turnovers set the tone for the entire game and let’s not forget that the Vikes had a Super Bowl-like win the week before and never came back to earth. When the Eagle beat Atlanta, it was Atlanta’s third straight game on the road after winning on the West Coast the week before. While we give Philadelphia credit, things did align near perfect for them to get here and this line is the overreaction to what Philadelphia did to Minnesota two weeks ago. That route of the Vikings has left a lasting impression on a market that wanted nothing to do with the Eagles a month ago.
While Philly was running up the score on the Vikes, the Patriots were coming off a hard-fought, come from behind win over the upstart Jaguars. You'd think another 4th quarter rally would gain favor in the market, but that most recent result has been a major strike against the Pats. Many talking heads have boasted that the Jags gave the Eagles the blueprint to beat the Patriots. The common thread online was that if Jacksonville just had a competent QB, it would be the Jags in this spot instead of the Patriots. The thought that Nick Foles is somehow a decent quarterback is hilarious. When we see major publications and sports networks use stats like, "Nick Foles is the only QB to post a passer rating of at least 100 in his first three postseason games," as a case that he compete here, we can only shake our heads and mark it down as another overreaction. Nick Foles' value is through the roof and trading at an all-time high. It's time to sell. The Eagles were 3½-point pooches at home to Case Keenum and the Vikes, and now Philly is taking back a similar price on a neutral site, under the brightest of lights against the G.O.A.T. That's not right. The Patriots have played in some close Super Bowls over the years, but do not let those past results cloud what has the potential to be an ugly evening for Philly. If the Eagles' defense puts up some points, perhaps this will be a close contest, but if it’s Brady versus Foles going toe-to-toe and throw-for-throw, we'll gladly wash these points down with a Sam Adams.
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New England -4½ -102 (Risking 2.04 units - To Win: 2.00)