Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The New England Patriots are favored to win the Super Bowl.
Before the season even kicked off, you could have predicted the Patriots would be favored in Super Bowl LII. Sure enough, in the final minutes of the Philadelphia Eagles’ demolition of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game, the Westgate sports book in Las Vegas opened the Patriots as 5.5-point favorites according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The over/under opened at 47.5 points. Point spreads often move based on betting activity, and in the moments after the NFC title game the Patriots were 6-point favorites at some casinos and 5-point favorites at others according to Vegas Insider.
Being favored in a Super Bowl is nothing new for a franchise that has won five Super Bowls with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick. According to OddsShark’s Super Bowl point spread history, this is the sixth time in the past 15 years the Patriots have been favorites in a Super Bowl. This is the Eagles’ third Super Bowl. They lost as a 3-point favorite to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV. They lost as a 7-point underdog to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXIX, although they did cover the spread in the 24-21 loss.
There’s hope for Patriots haters. Both of New England’s Super Bowl losses in the Brady-Belichick era came when the Patriots were favored. They lost as 12-point favorites in Super Bowl XLII and as 2.5-point favorites in Super Bowl XLVI. Both losses came to the New York Giants.
Underdogs have done quite well in recent Super Bowls. Starting with that second Giants win over the Patriots, underdogs won straight up five times in a row, and came very close to a sixth in a row last season. The Atlanta Falcons were 3-point underdogs and lost in overtime after taking a 28-3 lead. The over in over/under bets has hit in four of the past five Super Bowls.
So even though the Eagles won’t be favored in Super Bowl LII, that’s OK. They’re used to it. They were underdogs to the Falcons in the divisional round and underdogs to the Vikings in the NFC title game. They seem quite comfortable in that role.
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