Before I get into the game, some acknowledgments.
Thank you to Matchbook for putting me up on the site all season. This was my first full-time writing spot, it has been a lot of fun putting together content each week.
Hat tip to all other writers on here for doing the same. Brad, Steve, Sully, Neil, Emmet, Jesse, and Mark have been great reads and listens all season – cheers guys.
A very big thank you to everyone who has followed along and taken the time to read each week. I look forward to continue to deliver content here on Matchbook each week going forward.
I wish I could get excited about the Super Bowl.
I think working as a bookmaker for five years ruined it for me. When I worked for ASureWin, I was a one-man operation. Odds services were taking over at all of the competitors and I was one of the last by hand bookmakers in The Bahamas. Despite booking seven figures in wagers per month, all the odds, prices and movements ran through my computer.
I dreaded the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl. Putting in all of the props to stay competitive was a nightmare. The number of open markets which I had to monitor in comparison to a regular week almost doubled.
Having to be creative enough to put up props that drew action and aligned with the marketing was a pain. The constant sound of the notification buzzer dinging from my computer still echoes in my mind today.
There is no betting event during the entire calendar year aside from the Champions League Final which is more difficult to wager on than the Super Bowl. The market is extremely tight and the variance of the single-game sample size is so significant.
There is very little market control either from the players side. Nobody can move the market and the regular bettors with influence become part of the herd.
The Super Bowl is all about narratives. By now, all the narratives are out. My take is similar to many.
Philadelphia is the better “team”. They are a better collective unit at every position on the field – except Quarterback. If Carson Wentz was not hurt, I would make this game somewhere around a pick ‘em.
I think what has been lost in the narrative is the fact that prior to Week 13, the Eagles team was by far the best metric based team in the league. They were one of two that ranked in the Top 10 for both offensive and defensive efficiency (Top 7 in both categories actually). They dominate opponents in the trenches and put the bend but don’t break defence to perfection.
New England has two things going for them. The better coach and quarterback. The value on these two positions is priceless. The experience the two bring can not be measured in metrics and I would be hard pressed to find a bettor backing the Patriots for reasons other than Brady and Belichick. What many may not realize is this team as a whole is almost equally as inexperienced as New England.
Only four players on the roster have played in 40% or more snaps in Super Bowl games. As bettors, we often default to giving New England the experience edge, but outside those two positions, this game is pretty equal.
The Brady/Belichick duo has never led a Super Bowl by more than four points at the end of regulation and while things may point to Philadelphia, I just can’t make a confident enough case to back them.
The only wager which stands out to me in the hundreds of betting markets is Zach Ertz Over 5 1/2 receptions.
The Eagles tight end is overshadowed by two great Eagles running backs and the best tight end in the game opposing him. If the Eagles are going to have any success, it is going to come through Ertz. As we saw last week, when the Patriots put together a game plan, they can eliminate the best weapon (Leonard Fournette rushed for just 78 yards).
Just like they put the game in the hands of Bortles in the AFC Championship, all effort will be made to put it on Foles on Sunday. With two big, physical receivers out wide demanding corner coverage, Ertz should draw plenty of linebacker one on ones and I expect him to put together numerous multi-catch drives.
Let’s end the season with a win, and take Ertz over receptions.