Best Super Bowl Matchup Bets: Rams-Ravens, Two Others Offering Value

Oct 17, 2018 2:38 PM EDT
  • Bookmakers have posted odds on the 256 possible Super Bowl 53 matchups.
  • According to oddsmakers, the most likely teams to meet in the NFL championship are the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
  • By comparing our projections to oddsmakers' lines, we found three matchups that offer gamblers value. Hint: Patriots-Rams is not one of them.

Think you know who will win the Super Bowl? What about the team your champion will beat?

According to the oddsmakers at 5Dimes, the most likely teams to meet in Super Bowl LIII are the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. The possibility we see a Patriots-Rams title game is listed at +788.

With New England and LA the favorites to win the Super Bowl, it’s no surprise the two are part of the nine most popular Super Bowl matchups.

Bettors not interested in wagering on the chalk have options. The bookmakers posted odds on the 256 possible matchups. While no team has officially been eliminated from the playoffs, it wouldn’t be a wise investment to bet on seeing an Indianapolis Colts-New York Giants Super Bowl, even at +999999 odds.

So, which potential matchup is offering gamblers value? To find out, we compared our projections to oddsmakers’ lines.

For example: A Patriots-Rams Super Bowl is listed at +788. For us to feel comfortable wagering on this exact matchup, these teams would need to meet in the Super Bowl 11.3% — which is 100/(100 +788) — of the time. According to our simulations, there is an 11.1% chance of a Patriots-Rams Super Bowl, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at +788 odds.

Based on the difference in implied probability and projected chance, the analysis below looks at the three best exact Super Bowl matchup bets.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Baltimore Ravens

  • Current Odds: +2550
  • Implied Probability: 3.8%
  • Chance of Matchup: 8.0%

You don’t need to be sold on the Rams. Sean McVay’s team is 6-0 and has the best point differential in football. But betting on a return trip to the Super Bowl for Joe Flacco, that’s a different story.

Flacco isn’t lighting the world on fire. The Ravens quarterback is completing 62.1% of his passes (25th), averaging 6.77 yards per attempt (29th) and has a passer rating of 87.1 (25th). Flacco might be below average, but his defense is anything but.

Baltimore has allowed the fewest yards (270.8) and points (12.8) per game. The Ravens haven’t given up a second-half touchdown this season, becoming the first team to accomplish that feat through six games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

From an efficiency standpoint, John Harbaugh’s team is the only one in the NFL to rank in the top 13 of Football Outsiders’ offensive, defensive and special teams DVOA.

Knowing what you know now, a Rams-Ravens Super Bowl doesn’t seem that crazy.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Current Odds: +839
  • Implied Probability: 10.6%
  • Chance of Matchup: 12.3%

NFL teams are averaging 24.1 points per game this season, which would be an NFL record.

Leading the offensive charge are the Rams and Chiefs.

Paul “Bear” Bryant famously said, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.” A good defense helps, but this season it is all about offense, and the Rams and Chiefs are two of the best at scoring points.

New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens

  • Current Odds: +5850
  • Implied Probability: 1.7%
  • Chance of Matchup: 3.2%

The Saints have the second-best chance to make the playoffs (83.2%) in the NFC, behind the Rams (99.6%).

New Orleans leads the league in scoring with an average 36 points per game, which would be the highest single-season average since the 2013 Denver Broncos (who reached Super Bowl).

According to our projections, the odds for a Saints-Ravens Super Bowl should be listed at +3025. The betting market is clearly undervaluing this potential championship game.


Super Bowl Matchups with 100-1 Odds or Shorter

Credit:

Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco

Follow John Ewing on Twitter
@johnewing

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SCHEDULE
OPEN
CURR
# BETS
OAK
ARI
41
-4
41
-4.5
DEN
LAC
47
-7.5
47
-7
PHI
NO
54.5
-9
56.5
-7
MIN
CHI
45.5
-2.5
44
-2.5
KC
LA
63.5
-1
63
-3