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February 01, 2019

Sports betting with 'The Philly Godfather': Where is the smart money going for Super Bowl LIII?

Each Friday for PhillyVoice, Steve Maltepes, known as “The Philly Godfather,” will impart his gambling wisdom on the Eagles and where the smart money is going on the Super Bowl this weekend. Maltepes is one of the nation’s hottest sports betting experts who appears weekly on national radio and has his own website,

Super Bowl LIII — Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots, 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Games 101 & 102 on the sports betting screen

The Line: Patriots (-2.5) | Total: 56

What is the line telling you: Super Bowl 53 is finally here and Las Vegas is expected to surpass its betting handle for the fourth-straight year. Last year, there was over $158-million bet on Super Bowl Sunday. This year, the over-under is set at $165.5-million, and nationwide, the American Gaming Association is expecting the overall total to be $325-$350 million to be bet legally on Super Bowl Sunday over eight states. On the illegal betting handle, the black market, still dwarfs those numbers. There is expected to be $6 billion bet on this Super Bowl with your local bookmaker, and the reason why is credit.

It’s a tough game to handicap. This line opened up with the Rams being a one-point favorite with the combined total set at 58. Since then, there was an influx of sharp money that attacked the total, which forced sportsbooks to drop the total to 56. We also saw a ton of recreational money start to unload on the Patriots. That forced the sportsbooks to move their line a full 3.5 points on to the Patriots, where it currently stands because of the massive surge of wagers on New England.

The betting public usually doesn’t have the power to move the line during the regular season, but with the Super Bowl, with so much money coming in, they can affect the line. As of right now, over 80 percent of all wagers placed have been on the Patriots, which is massive.

When the oddsmakers came out with that total, which is the highest in Super Bowl history, the total is too high, based on how both teams have played defense. They’ve combined to face the Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, excluding the Cowboys, all three were among with the top seven teams in yards per play. Defensively, both teams have seen their defensive yards-per-play metric get stronger, along with their opponent’s yards per rushing attempt, which have each dropped a yard.

The opponent-per-yard-rushing-attempt metric is so important, because the team that out-rushes their opponent will win the game and cover the spread over 70 percent of the time. if you win the ground war, you’ll win the game seven out of every 10 times.

Offensively, both teams have improved rushing attacks, and is a big reason why they’re playing in the Super Bowl. The Rams are averaging a whopping 168 yards per game on the ground, while the Patriots are averaging around 154. Obviously, when the Rams lost Cooper Kupp, their passing numbers dropped. They adjusted and went to the ground, and it’s been working for them. The Rams’ rushing attack is definitely more dangerous. Expect the Rams to run the ball and be more conservative at the outset and chew a lot of time off the clock. It’s one of the reasons why the halftime total of under-28 looks good.

Going against Tom Brady is tough.

In the postseason, he’s gone 16-1 straight up against teams he didn’t see in the regular season—the only being to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. He’s gone 29-10 in that same time span. But if you look back at history, since Brady took over the Patriots, they’ve only covered the spread 52.6 percent of the time. The Patriots can win the Super Bowl—and not cover.

Bottom line: The smart money likes the Rams plus-3, and a leaning towards the under 28 in the first half.

Props bets

•  Under 150 seconds for the National Anthem

•  James White over 5.5 pass receptions

•  More points scored in the second half

Betting lines are subject to change.

The Philly Godfather can be followed on twitter @Phillygodfather & his website is

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