Popular Features

  • Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings
    April 30, 2019
    2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings

    Davis Mattek’s 2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings With the 2019 NFL Draft wrapped up and in the books, it is time to get to Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings. Most dynasty leagues that I am in are ready to begin their rookie drafts for the 2019 NFL Draft class. The draft brought…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Tight End
    May 28, 2019
    Three Impending Fantasy Football Breakout Seasons

    These Three Fantasy Football Breakout Players Are Ready To Shine It is no secret that every year in fantasy football, players emerge who were just barely on the periphery of fantasy football relevance during fantasy football draft season. Last year at this time, you did not know who Phillip Lindsay was, James White was just…

  • Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft
    May 8, 2019
    Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft

    Fantasy Insiders Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft It is Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft season! While I compiled my top 40 rankings of rookies for dynasty fantasy football purposes, we have yet to address Superflex dynasty leagues in the NFL365 package. I participate in the Fantasy Insiders SuperFlex Best Ball Dynasty league with…

  • Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Strategy
    May 14, 2019
    Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets

    Ten Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets By this point, most RotoExperts readers are probably familiar with the concept of Zero RB drafting. Last week, I put together a list of ten Zero RB fantasy football candidates to help you in your fantasy football leagues. However, a less discussed strategy is the Zero wide receiver fantasy football…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back
    May 30, 2019
    Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back

    Five Running Back Fantasy Football Sleepers Finding late round running back fantasy football sleepers is the surest way to attain a league-winning roster. Phillip Lindsay and James Conner were legitimate league-winners at the running back position last year and they barely had ADP’s. Unlike most of our recent content, including the ULTIMATE Guide To Winning…

  • FANTASY FOOTBALL ADP VALUES
    June 12, 2019
    Best Projected Fantasy Football ADP Values Versus DRAFT Best Ball ADP

    Best Projected Fantasy Football ADP Values Versus DRAFT Best Ball ADP Winning fantasy football drafts is about beating Average Draft Position. If you are able to beat ADP with your player evaluations, your rosters will be stronger than your league-mates. For this article, I used our Best Ball ADP vs Projections tool to pull some…

  • Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio
    June 11, 2019
    Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio Check

    Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio Analysis If you are drafting a ship load of Best Ball fantasy football leagues on DRAFT and other sites, doing an analysis of your Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio is incredibly important. It’s very possible that you are over or underexposed to a few players relative to what you are…

  • 10 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions: June Edition
    June 10, 2019
    10 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions: June Edition

    10 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions: June Edition Much of what we do here at RotoExperts is math-based and centered around probability. What is the range of outcomes for Josh Jacobs career? How likely is Patrick Mahomes to repeat his 2018 MVP season? How much risk is involved in projection Dede Westbrook for a 20% market…

  • June Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update premium
    June 7, 2019
    June Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update

    June Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update Now that we have passed the 100-day mark until the start of the 2019 NFL season, it is time to take another look at dynasty fantasy football rankings. Reports have started to trickle out of organized team activities and we have a better idea of where the health of…

  • The Contingency Plan: Oakland Raiders 3
    June 7, 2019
    The Contingency Plan: Oakland Raiders

    What Fantasy Football Questions Exist For The 2019 Oakland Raiders? Welcome to The Contingency Plan! 32 pieces focusing on the ranges of outcomes for every team in the NFL. The RotoExperts projections are a tremendous starting spot for your 2019 fantasy research, but like most projections, will only be considered one of the many possible outcomes that exist…

Seeing Both Sides: Picking Against The Super Bowl LIII Spread

Seeing Both Sides: Picking Against The Super Bowl LIII Spread
Davis Mattek January 28, 2019 4:47PM EDT

Analyzing Both Sides Of The Super Bowl LIII Spread

“Who ya got in the Super Bowl?”

You will hear that question asked repeatedly during Super Bowl week. Picking against the spread in the NFL’s Super Bowl is a rite of passage for not just football writers, but just about every person who is remotely interested in sports in the United States. Early in the week, we all need to do some analyzing before we make a pick. With the line currently set with the New England Patriots favored by three points over the Los Angeles Rams, we are going to kick off Super Bowl week by looking at both sides of the line and exploring the validity of each pick. Towards the end of Super Bowl week, we will make official picks against the spread, highlight good Expected Value player props as well as looking at some in-game trends to watch for.

New England Patriots -3

The Patriots actually opened, right as the AFC Conference Championship game ended, as an underdog to the Rams. As the week progressed, they crept up the boards and are now listed as three-point favorites in Atlanta for the Super Bowl.

There are, of course, good reasons for the Patriots to be favored in this game. Traditional thinking would state that they have far more experience than a relatively young Los Angeles Rams team and that tends to come into play in these games. I do not buy that line of thinking as much, but do definitely concede that the Patriots have a large edge in their coaching staff. The public thinks of Sean McVay as a whiz kid but Bill Belichick is the original 21st century football guru. It is a rare occurrence that a Belichick-led team does not have an optimized game plan for the opponent. Belichick’s career winning percentage in the playoffs is 73.2%. In the time Belichick has spent in New England, the Patriots have been in the Top Five in Point Differential 11 times, including this season.

The Patriots finished seventh in Weighted DVOA this season, which is Football Outsiders’ measurement instrument to compare entire NFL teams to one another. They finished fifth in offensive DVOA and 16th in defensive DVOA. Pro Football Focus graded them as the fourth best team in the NFL with the third best passing offense, which is where most of a teams’ strength comes from. James White had the third most Defensive Yards Above Replacement for running backs in the receiving game, which is a huge strength for the Patriots.

However, there are some nits to pick about the Patriots. This is not a perfect team; they are clearly not as good as last year’s Patriots team that finished first in Football Outsiders DVOA and first in Pro Football Focus grading. The offensive line is maybe the best in football (Tom Brady has taken zero sacks in the playoffs) but the weapons on offense are aging. Rob Gronkowski is likely to retire, their best wide receiver plays exclusively out of the slot and Tom Brady finished 13th of all NFL QBs in passer rating on deep throws in the 2018 regular season. If you are looking to take an angle against the Patriots mystique, it hinges on the fact that this is an older team with a 41-year old quarterback that lacks explosive playmakers on offense.

Los Angeles Rams +3

It is my opinion that without the mystique of Brady and Belichick, this line might be closer to New England only being favored by one or two. The fact that Brady has played in eight straight AFC championships and won five Super Bowls definitely impacts the Las Vegas spread. However, make no mistakes, this is a very talented Los Angeles Rams team. Sean McVay is not a perfect coach, despite what popular media coverage of the team may portray. Per Rufus Peabody, NFL teams went for it 62% of the time on fourth and less than 2 in plus territory. McVay’s Rams only went for it 6-of-19 times. That lack of aggression will have no place in a game against the Patriots. The Rams offense is faster and better than the Patriots offense despite the methodical play-calling and execution that the Patriots are able to put together.

The Rams run Jet Motion on more than 35% of their plays on offense, which creates a distinct tactical advantage. It gives away defensive information to the Los Angeles Rams offense. If the Jet Motion player has a trailer from the defense, it likely means that the opposing team is lined up in man coverage. If there is no direct coverage, Jared Goff and Sean McVay know that they are likely playing against a zone. The Jet Motion also allows Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods to have free releases from the line of scrimmage and keep them away from Stephon Gilmore, who had the second highest coverage grade of all defensive backs from Pro Football Focus in 2018.

For bettors selecting the Rams and the three points in the Super Bowl, there are some clear supporting factors. The Rams finished second in total yards per play on offense in the 2018 regular season, scored 30 points easily against a good Dallas Cowboys defense in the Divisional Round, and finished third in both Net Adjusted Yards Per Passing Attempt and third in total Yards Per Carry running the ball. If the Patriots sell out to keep Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods from getting deep, the Rams will be more than happy to throw short passes, screens and run the ball into a non-stacked box. If the Patriots do crowd the box to limit the effectiveness of Todd Gurley and force the Rams to throw more, no team ran more play-action during the regular season than the Rams.

While there is a common mantra that a team must run for the play-action to be effective, no study actually backs that up. From Ben Baldwin on Football Outsiders “From 2011 to 2017, 196 of 224 team-seasons had higher yards per play on play-action dropbacks than on non-play-action dropbacks. For every team observed to have a strong play-action game and a strong rushing attack, I can find an example of an effective play-action team that has a weak rushing attack.” Simply put, even if the Rams run a play-action every single time they choose to pass the ball against the Patriots and don’t run at even a 40% clip, there is no indication that the passing game efficiency will suffer.

This game is a battle of the new wave vs. the old guard. Belichick has always been able to stay ahead of the curve, but the numbers reveal a new brand of football being played by the Los Angeles Rams and it will be exciting to see who prevails on the largest stage.

Popular Features

  • Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings
    April 30, 2019
    2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings

    Davis Mattek’s 2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings With the 2019 NFL Draft wrapped up and in the books, it is time to get to Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings. Most dynasty leagues that I am in are ready to begin their rookie drafts for the 2019 NFL Draft class. The draft brought…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Tight End
    May 28, 2019
    Three Impending Fantasy Football Breakout Seasons

    These Three Fantasy Football Breakout Players Are Ready To Shine It is no secret that every year in fantasy football, players emerge who were just barely on the periphery of fantasy football relevance during fantasy football draft season. Last year at this time, you did not know who Phillip Lindsay was, James White was just…

  • Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft
    May 8, 2019
    Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft

    Fantasy Insiders Industry Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft It is Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft season! While I compiled my top 40 rankings of rookies for dynasty fantasy football purposes, we have yet to address Superflex dynasty leagues in the NFL365 package. I participate in the Fantasy Insiders SuperFlex Best Ball Dynasty league with…

  • Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Strategy
    May 14, 2019
    Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets

    Ten Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets By this point, most RotoExperts readers are probably familiar with the concept of Zero RB drafting. Last week, I put together a list of ten Zero RB fantasy football candidates to help you in your fantasy football leagues. However, a less discussed strategy is the Zero wide receiver fantasy football…

  • Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back
    May 30, 2019
    Five Legitimate Fantasy Football Sleepers At Running Back

    Five Running Back Fantasy Football Sleepers Finding late round running back fantasy football sleepers is the surest way to attain a league-winning roster. Phillip Lindsay and James Conner were legitimate league-winners at the running back position last year and they barely had ADP’s. Unlike most of our recent content, including the ULTIMATE Guide To Winning…

  • FANTASY FOOTBALL ADP VALUES
    June 12, 2019
    Best Projected Fantasy Football ADP Values Versus DRAFT Best Ball ADP

    Best Projected Fantasy Football ADP Values Versus DRAFT Best Ball ADP Winning fantasy football drafts is about beating Average Draft Position. If you are able to beat ADP with your player evaluations, your rosters will be stronger than your league-mates. For this article, I used our Best Ball ADP vs Projections tool to pull some…

  • Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio
    June 11, 2019
    Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio Check

    Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio Analysis If you are drafting a ship load of Best Ball fantasy football leagues on DRAFT and other sites, doing an analysis of your Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio is incredibly important. It’s very possible that you are over or underexposed to a few players relative to what you are…

  • 10 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions: June Edition
    June 10, 2019
    10 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions: June Edition

    10 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions: June Edition Much of what we do here at RotoExperts is math-based and centered around probability. What is the range of outcomes for Josh Jacobs career? How likely is Patrick Mahomes to repeat his 2018 MVP season? How much risk is involved in projection Dede Westbrook for a 20% market…

  • June Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update premium
    June 7, 2019
    June Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update

    June Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update Now that we have passed the 100-day mark until the start of the 2019 NFL season, it is time to take another look at dynasty fantasy football rankings. Reports have started to trickle out of organized team activities and we have a better idea of where the health of…

  • The Contingency Plan: Oakland Raiders 3
    June 7, 2019
    The Contingency Plan: Oakland Raiders

    What Fantasy Football Questions Exist For The 2019 Oakland Raiders? Welcome to The Contingency Plan! 32 pieces focusing on the ranges of outcomes for every team in the NFL. The RotoExperts projections are a tremendous starting spot for your 2019 fantasy research, but like most projections, will only be considered one of the many possible outcomes that exist…