After the thrills and spills of the two Championship games, the combatants for Super Bowl 2019 – edition LIII in classic Roman numerals – are known.
The New England Patriots, who will be appearing in their third consecutive Super Bowl at the Mercedes Benz Stadium on February 3, needed overtime to see off the challenge of plucky Kansas City Chiefs, while the Los Angeles Rams were taken deep into their NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints; eventually getting the job done 26-23.
It’s a fascinating finale to the 2018 NFL season then, with the Patriots – the red hot favorites who most had tipped to reach the campaign’s curtain call, taking on a Rams outfit that could be backed at 20/1 to lift the famous trophy under a year ago.
This is your classic David vs Goliath encounter, and who doesn’t love one of those?
The Hottest Ticket in Town
At the last check, tickets to watch the Super Bowl live in Atlanta, Georgia would set you back a cool $2,800 via Ticketmaster, so if you’re on a tighter budget rest assured you can watch the game in the company of a worldwide audience in excess of 100 million people.
Many of those viewers will be waiting to see if the Patriots can win a third Super Bowl in the space of five years; it would be their sixth in total, which would put them level with the great Pittsburgh Steelers dynasties of the 1970s and 2000s.
But fans of the classic underdog tale will be cheering home the Rams, who haven’t won a Super Bowl since the turn of the new Millennium. Indeed, the last time they lifted the trophy they were known as the St Louis Rams.
Tom Brady’s Patriots arguably weren’t at their dominant best during the regular season, and indeed lost five times in their AFC East campaign. Their class shone through in the playoffs, but they were taken all the way by a much-improved Kansas City Chiefs.
The Rams served up a perfect divisional record, and their Conference return of 9-3 raises hopes that they can shine on the biggest stage of them all.
Not that the bookmakers are convinced, mind you. The likes of MoPlay.com have made the Patriots their 17/25 favorite, with the Rams an outsider at 11/10, and the money line has been set at -2.5 in the 2018 finalists’ favor.
The Los Angeles collective may need to seek the inspiration of Super Bowl underdog stories of yesteryear…
Eagles Soar Without the Burden of Pressure
Of course, they won’t have to look too far for the so-called small fry enjoying their day in the sun.
As reported by ESPN, last year the Philadelphia Eagles were the biggest underdogs for a Super Bowl since 2009, opening with a +6.5 money line handicap. They went on to win an absolute thriller against the shell-shocked Patriots 41-33.
Back in 2009, the Arizona Cardinals were a seven-point underdog against the Steelers; and yet, they pushed their more illustrious rivals all the way in a narrow 23-27 defeat.
But you have to go all the way back to 1969 for the premier Super Bowl upset. The Baltimore Colts, who had lost just one game all season, went into the match as an 18-point favourite according to the sportsbooks, who had all but written off the New York Jets’ chances.
As the history books tell us, the Jets claimed their sole Super Bowl triumph in a 16-7 victory; a win still celebrated by Vegas odds-makers to this day!