With experience on their side (Tom Brady and Bill Belichick entering their eighth Super Bowl) it's easy to see why the Patriots will enter this game as the $1.55 favourites. Philadelphia can't be discounted, however, with both teams evenly poised throughout the 2017 season with 13-3 records, and a lot will come down to the performance of Nick Foles.
Including the playoffs, Foles has thrown eight touchdown passes and two interceptions in five starts. The slight concern is that seven of the eight touchdowns were in two games and the other was against the New York Giants, who finished 3-13 this season.
Due to the evenness of the teams this season, I'm leaning to the Patriots purely on the big game experience of Brady and Belichick. One only needs go back to last year's Super Bowl, when New England overturned a 25-point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime, to see their value. The Patriots always seem unflustered, no matter the situation in the game. If they're behind, there's confidence that Brady will find a way to prevail as he has many times previously.
For the Eagles, however, doubt could creep in about Foles' ability if they fall behind and their strong running game could also be abandoned in the rush for quick points. This potential change in game plan would be welcomed by defensive genius Belichick, who's had two weeks to scheme against the Eagles' offence. The Patriots are also regarded as masters at in-game adjustments, which was showcased when they shutdown Jacksonville's running game in the second half of their come-from-behind AFC Championship Game victory.
Super Bowl LII Tip: New England to defeat Philadelphia at $1.50
First Touchdown Scorer
Amendola has caught only two touchdown passes this season, but he was instrumental in the Patriots defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. After Gronkowski was knocked out, Amendola became a focal point for Tom Brady -- catching seven passes, two of those touchdown receptions in the fourth quarter. Gronkowski expects to play, and the Eagles will probably want to curb his influence early with potential double teams, so that could result in Amendola being able to exploit holes in Philadelphia's defence.
Amendola also returns punts for New England. If the Eagles have the ball first and fail to score, Amendola could potentially score a touchdown without needing Brady to throw the ball -- which gives him an advantage over most of his offensive teammates.
First Touchdown Scorer Tip: Danny Amendola at $13
To Score A Touchdown
Last year, running back LeGarrette Blount was a member of the victorious New England Patriots. Now, he will play a crucial role in their potential downfall as a Philadelphia Eagle. Blount is primarily used in short yardage situations, particularly near the goal-line, so $3.25 on him to score a touchdown looks attractive.
Blount scored three touchdowns (two rushing and one receiving) in the regular season, but he has rushed for a touchdown in the Eagles' playoff wins over Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings despite only carrying the ball on 15 occasions.
Philadelphia use Blount and Jay Ajayi as a running back tandem, but Ajayi is usually used on first and second downs in the open field due to his quickness.
Hopefully, Philadelphia will have a couple of opportunities close to the goal-line, and I'd expect Blount to receive a handoff at some stage in those situations; he'll be desperate to score against his previous team.
To Score A Touchdown Tip: LeGarrette Blount at $3.25
Super Bowl LII MVP
In eight of the last 11 Super Bowls, the winning quarterback has been awarded the Most Valuable Player award. Therefore, it is no surprise to see Tom Brady priced $1.55 to win the MVP for Super Bowl LII. In the five Super Bowls that Brady has won, he has been the MVP in four of them.
Therefore, it is difficult to pick value because a defensive player, generally a star, has to play an exceptional game (two interceptions or two sacks for example) or a wide receiver has to catch 10 or more passes, two of those possibly for touchdowns, and have 150 or more receiving yards.
If there is to be a surprise Super Bowl MVP, Patriots running back Dion Lewis could be a smoky at $15. If Brady is stifled in the passing game, Lewis will play a pivotal role in the running game. Lewis has six rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns this season, which does showcase his versatility.
In the final 11 weeks of the regular season, Lewis carried the ball on 10 or more occasions in all but one game -- giving him the mantle of New England's primary running back. If Lewis runs the ball effectively and potentially scores at least two touchdowns, it could be enough to win the MVP if Brady's stats aren't particularly strong.
Super Bowl LII MVP Tip: Dion Lewis at $15