By Jason Lake
Special to Outkick
Super Bowl LI was a hell of a football game: the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 at Super Bowl LII, covering as 4.5-point underdogs in a ridiculous back-and-forth game that people will be talking about for generations. But it was an awful Super Bowl Sunday for the sportsbooks. At least according to the expanded consensus reports at Sportsbook Reference, 61.9 percent of the amount wagered was on the Eagles. Where were all the Patriots supporters this year?
Maybe they were waiting for the XFL to start. The betting patterns for Super Bowl LII ended up looking a lot like what happened at the end of the 2007 season, when the Patriots (–12) were caught up in the Spygate scandal. That was when the “Evil Empire” label really began to stick. Bettors flocked instead to the New York Giants, even betting them on the moneyline to win Super Bowl XLII – which they did, 17-14.
This time, it was the Eagles wearing the white hats. To be fair, a slight majority of bettors chose New England (50.7 percent) for their Super Bowl picks, and the consensus reports show 51 $1000-plus bets on the Patriots, compared to just 37 on the Eagles. But the biggest bets were reserved for the Eagles; there were multiple million-dollar bets on Philly this year, and those were moneyline bets too. Combined with this game going way OVER the posted total of 49, the bookies got exactly the opposite of what they wanted.
Nick Foles, Super Bowl MVP
It says something about the decline of the Patriots fanbase that so many people were willing to bet so much money on a team with Nick Foles at quarterback. When Carson Wentz tore up his knee in Week 14, bettors ran away from the Eagles as quickly as they could. But Foles was absolutely on point at Super Bowl LII. He went 28-of-43 for 373 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception on a tipped pass. Foles also caught a touchdown of his own on a trick 4th-and-goal play at the end of the first half. Fittingly, he was named Super Bowl MVP, paying out at +325 on the NFL props market at Bovada.
Somewhere, former head coaches Chip Kelly and Andy Reid are both smiling. Kelly’s college-style offense may not have been a big hit among Philly fans, but after Wentz was injured, the Eagles did the right thing and brought back elements from Kelly’s playbook to get the most out of Foles, who did make the Pro Bowl in 2013, after all. Big ups to head coach Doug Pederson, who made a lot of ballsy decisions on Sunday; Pederson was a former back-up quarterback for several NFL teams, including Philadelphia in 1999, and he was on Reid’s staff with both the Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.
As for the Patriots, they had some things bounce their way – like that one interception near their own goal line. But they also missed a field goal on a bad snap and/or placement, and they once again had to dig themselves out of a 10-point hole during the second half. And you know there’s bound to be some controversy over the officiating calls that, for once, didn’t go their way.
The Offseason Is Over
Naturally, the Patriots are already favored to win Super Bowl LIII. Before Sunday’s Big Game had even begun, New England were 5/1 favorites on the NFL futures market, ahead of the Eagles and two other teams – the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers – at 10/1. The Minnesota Vikings opened at 12/1; nobody else was better than 20/1.
A couple of things jump out looking down that list. The San Francisco 49ers (25/1) have overtaken the Seattle Seahawks (30/1) in the NFC West pecking order, which says a lot about new 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Both teams are still behind the Los Angeles Rams (20/1), though.
Also, the betting market doesn’t seem to think too much of QB Alex Smith getting traded to Washington. His new team is 50/1, while the Chiefs are 27/1 with Patrick Mahomes taking over for Smith. Didn’t we just see Nick Foles dinking and dunking his way to Super Bowl glory? Sheesh.