Beating the Book: Chris Liss Handicaps Super Bowl 53
Beating the Book: Chris Liss Handicaps Super Bowl 53

This article is part of our Beating the Book series.

I went 1-1 last week, losing my best bet (Chiefs), and putting my playoff record at 3-6-1.

For the podcast version of this article, click here

Superbook Prop Bets

Super Bowl 53

Rams +2.5 vs Patriots (O/U 56.5, ML: -$140/+120)

I don't have a strong lean on this game. The Patriots have cost me twice already in the playoffs, particularly last week where I thought the Chiefs' home field advantage and more explosive playmakers would be enough. The Patriots have been able to dominate on offense despite lacking even the pretense of a vertical passing game - in a contest where they scored 37 points, their biggest play from scrimmage last week was a 30-yard screen pass to James White.

I expect the Rams to recognize that and commit more resources to stopping the run and short-passing game, forcing Tom Brady to beat them down the field. Accordingly, I expect the Patriots to anticipate that possibility and be ready to take shots to Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett or even Rob Gronkowski if the Rams are bringing the safeties close to the line of scrimmage. The question is whether the Pats outside receivers can win one on one with the Rams corners and Brady still has the arm to reach them in stride down the field. Gronkowski - who resurfaced with an 11-6-79 showing last week - is the wild card. We know he can beat linebackers and safeties, and he's a big target who doesn't need to be wide open or get the ball in stride.

The Rams offense actually has fewer useful pieces than the Pats, but Brandin Cooks can stretch the field, and Todd Gurley, if healthy, is more versatile and talented than any of the Patriots' ground crew. Sean McVay will try to keep the Patriots defense off balance, but that's easier said than done, given how the Patriots shut down Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and the Chiefs running game last week (though they paid a steep price for doing that in the second half, yielding 31 points.)

Bottom line, this is a tough game to call. A lot will hinge on which team better protects the quarterback – the Rams have the better individual pass rushers, but the Patriots have been the better defense as a whole. The Patriots have a better secondary, but the Rams' best cover corner, Aqib Talib, was injured for most of the year and helped shut down the Saints' Michael Thomas last week now that he's fully healthy again.

My initial lean was the Patriots, but the Rams are getting 2.5 points, overcame a hostile environment in New Orleans last week (they would have lost had the obvious PI been called, but they were in position to win before that when McVay kicked a field goal from the half-yard line instead of going for the four-point lead) and probably benefit from the dome setting (usually better for the faster, more-finesse-oriented team.) As such, I'm taking the points.

Rams 30 - 27

For the podcast version of this article, click here

Last week, I went 1-1 in the Conference Championship Round, putting my playoff record at 3-6-1. I was 141-106-9 on the regular season and 48-36-1 in the Supercontest. From 1999-2018, I've gone 2,686-2,501 (51.8%), not including ties.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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