Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, February 2, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been leading the New England Patriots to Super Bowls since 2002. Though they been to seven league championships since then…winning five…there’s one thing they’ve NEVER done. That’s win the big game by a touchdown or more.
You know they lost twice to Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Their victories were…
New England (+14) upset St. Louis 20-17
New England (-7) beat Carolina 32-29
New England (-7) beat Philadelphia 24-21
New England (-1) beat Seattle 28-24
New England (-3) beat Atlanta 34-28 in overtime
The final margins at the end of regulation were 3, 3, 3, 4, and 0. This after decades of elite teams winning by big margins in Super Bowls. You youngsters may not realize that the Super Bowl didn’t live up to its hype for years on end because the likes of Joe Montana or Walter Payton would lead their teams to routs. New England has only played close games, needing smarts and savvy to make up for less than dominating performances.
Does the current version of the Patriots have what it takes to win big? It’s certainly a possibility.
*New England has a great offense
*New England’s defense was excellent from October through the playoffs
*New England doesn’t hand away cheap points with turnovers
*Philadelphia’s quarterback may fall apart in the spotlight.
Nick Foles is coming off a career game for the Eagles. Can he do that two games in a row? Isn’t he just as likely to make mistakes under pressure that help the Patriots score cheap points? This isn’t a home game. And, his opponent has had two weeks to figure out how to prevent what happened to Minnesota. There are certainly scenarios where the Patriots make their traditional run into the 20’s (or more) on the scoreboard, then pull away further with the help of cheap points off turnovers.
That said, it’s striking how hard it’s been for the Patriots to pull away from tough opponents on neutral fields through their Super Bowl history. Eli Manning had their number. Jake Delhomme of Carolina took them down to the wire. Nick Foles has to play smart to give the Eagles a chance. Philadelphia has a strong defense and playmakers in the backfield. This is the type of team that typically gives New England trouble. Jacksonville just gave them trouble in Foxboro with Blake Bortles throwing passes!
Handicappers must determine which strategy makes the most sense:
*A big bet on New England because Foles is likely to implode under pressure after playing way over his head. The Patriots are great at building big leads and protecting them against self-destructing offenses. New England will earn its first double digit Super Bowl victory if Foles can’t handle the spotlight.
*A small value bet on the Eagles because this is likely to be a typical New England Super Bowl nailbiter. It’s going to come down to the last few possessions, and you want the points in that kind of game. Didn’t work last year because Atlanta backers got nailed in overtime. Taking the underdog is 5-2 in New England Super Bowls. It was 6-1 at the end of regulation, and would have been 7-0 if Seattle hadn’t blown their goal line opportunity in the final seconds and Atlanta hadn’t blown a big lead. You take the dog in coin flips and let the math take care of itself over time.
*A big bet on Philadelphia because Foles found his comfort zone in this offense vs. the Vikings, and the Patriots are worse defensively than the Vikings. If Atlanta can jump to a 28-3 lead on the Patriots, the Eagles at least have a chance to build a lead they’ll be better at protecting thanks to a superior defense. It’s not out of the question that this is the game where Philadelphia’s dynasty begins for this coaching staff and offensive approach.
Clearly the linchpin player is Foles. He’s the unknown quantity against a backdrop of fairly sure things. You KNOW what to expect from the Patriots The other Eagles have established a high level of play this season across the board. Can Foles find the end zone and avoid mistakes? Or, is he destined to fall flat on his face?
JIM HURLEY’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach is devoting all of its resources to answering that question. Our SCOUTS AND SOURCES are on site to report on mindset and preparation. Our COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS have updated the simulation projections now that we know Rob Gronkowski will be playing for the Pats. We can give you the most likely score if Foles suffers one interception…or two interceptions…or three. Obviously we know how those possibilities influence the Over/Under as well. Finally, our WISE GUY CONNECTIONS are letting us know how the line will be moving through the weekend so our customers can maximize their positions on game day.
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NETWORK has been winning Super Bowls for three decades. It’s the biggest championship game in all of sports…on the biggest day in all of sports betting. WHEN CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE ON THE LINE, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!