Super Bowl 52 Recap

 

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 to take home their first Vince Lombard Trophy. Check out my Super Bowl 52 betting analysis, MVP, key plays in the game, and too early predictions for how well the Eagles and Patriots perform this coming NFL Season.

Super Bowl 52 Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England Patriots 33

Super Bowl 52 Betting Analysis

Yes, Super Bowl 52 is in the books. Oh, man, what a Super Bowl it was, right? The New England Patriots had a shot to win their sixth Super Bowl. That would have tied the Patriots with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 6 Super Bowl Championships each.

Although it appeared the Patriots might take home their sixth NFL Championship after taking the lead in the fourth quarter, the underdog Philadelphia Eagles stormed back. The Eagles made the only big key defensive play of Super Bowl 52 to secure a 41 to 33 win. How big of an upset was it?

Based on the odds, it was a fairly big upset. The Eagles were 4.5 dogs when they kicked it off this past Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On a neutral field, if the Patriots were just slightly better than the Eagles, the odds should have been New England -2. The Patriots shouldn’t have been favored by more than -3. I’m actually surprised that the against the spread odds didn’t float lower to -3.

The day after the AFC Championship and NFC Championship games, public bettors bet the Eagles down to -5. The line had opened at Eagles -5.5. Within hours the line had dropped half a point. By that Wednesday, Jan. 24, the line had dropped another half a point to rest at Eagles +4.5. After I analyzed Super Bowl 52, I thought pro bettors might jump all over the Eagles to drive the line all the way down to -3.

I was wrong. Either pro bettors didn’t jump on the Patriots, the pros decided to sit out this Super Bowl, or the pros decided to make different bets on the Super Bowl. I believe it’s fairly clear that pro bettors didn’t jump on the Patriots. If they had, the odds would have gone back up to Eagles +5.5. I’m not sure if they sat out the Super Bowl, either.

What’s most likely to have happened is that pro bettors pounded the Eagles on the money line at +160. They did bet over the total of 48.5 because the over/under went up to 49. Most bets, though, must have been on Philly on the money line. The reason I believe this is the case is because money line odds follow against the spread odds. Vegas odds makers couldn’t adjust money line spread odds down too much unless the spread odds also were adjusted.

Super Bowl 52 might be the first time where Vegas odds makers flat out got it wrong. Often, Vegas odds makers expect the public to pound the favorite. Pro players then bet on the dog to even it out. In this case, pro players didn’t bet the dog against the spread. Pro players didn’t even bet on the favored Patriots to drive the betting line back to Pats -5.5.

Instead, pro bettors either sat on their hands, or decided to go with the Eagles on the money line. Vegas flat out incorrectly set the initial Super Bowl 52 against the spread odds of Patriots’ -5.5.

Super Bowl MVP:  Eagles QB Nick Foles

I don’t see how anybody could argue with Nick Foles as Super Bowl 52 MVP. Foles threw for 373 yards. He threw 3 TD passes. He even caught a TD pass. I’ve read numerous articles since Foles’ incredible Super Bowl 52 performance that implies it might be difficult for him to repeat that performance with a different team.

I don’t think so. This is two performances in a row where Nick Foles displayed his incredible skills. We must remember that before torching the Patriots’ secondary, he dominated the Vikings’ secondary in the NFC Championship game. Foles completed 26 of 33 for 352 yards in that battle. He threw 3 TD passes.

That’s the thing about Nick Foles. The 6′ 6″ 243 lbs former Arizona Wildcat has always had the skills to be a good quarterback in the NFL. He got caught up in the Chip Kelly drama in his first stint with the Eagles. That put a serious hamper on his development as a starting NFL quarterback.

The Eagles can’t afford to keep Foles. There’s no way Foles should sit on the bench now that he led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl win. Because the Eagles are invested in Carson Wentz, it’s likely they either sign him to an extension, or trade him. There’s another possibility.

Foles is currently under contract next season with the Eagles. Who knows? His performances in the playoffs and Super Bowl were so fantastic that Philly might unload Wentz at some point next season for a king’s ransom. If Wentz doesn’t come back at 100%, or doesn’t develop further, Foles could be in line to start.

Key Play #1:  Trey Burton 1-yard TD Pass to Nick Foles

The score was Patriots 12, Eagles 15. The Eagles had a 4th and 1. Philly could have gone for a field goal to make the score Philly 18, New England 12. Instead, Doug Pederson decided to go for it. The Eagles used a bit of trickery to get New England to bite on a hand off to RB Corey Clement. Clement then handed the ball off to TE Trey Burton who threw it to Nick Foles for the TD.

Earlier in the game, the Patriots had tried almost the same exact play. New England QB Tom Brady didn’t catch the pass. Foles did catch the pass. The Eagles took a 22 to 12 lead into halftime.

Key Play #2:  Tom Brady’s Turnover 

The second key play in Super Bowl 52 was also the only turnover in the game. With about 2 minutes left in the game, Philadelphia defensive end Brandon Graham stripped Tom Brady of the football. Eagles’ rookie DE Derek Barnett recovered.

The lone turnover in the game sealed the deal for the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only did the Eagles run the clock down to less than a minute, but rookie kicker Jake Elliott also hit a field goal. That took the lead to Eagles 41, Patriots 33.

Too Early Preview:  2018 New England Patriots

New England appears, once again, set for success. In fact, more than a few football analysts have listed the Patriots as the top team heading into the off-season. My initial thought is that New England could find it much tougher in 2018 than it did in 2017.

The biggest issue the Patriots are likely to have is finding a defensive coordinator that knows their players’ strengths and weaknesses as well as Matt Patricia. Patricia, just this week, officially became the the head coach of the Detroit Lions. Without Patricia, the Patriots’ defense could be in some trouble.

Patricia used smoke and mirrors to get the Pats’ D to play as well as it did in the regular season. The Eagles blew away the smoke. They cracked the mirror. Will the Patriots even come close to providing enough smoke and a strong enough mirror to win the AFC again? I don’t think so.

Too Early Preview:  2018 Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia could be even better this coming season than they were last season. In addition to having two NFL starting quarterbacks on the roster, Doug Pederson found a solid starting running back in Corey Clement. The rookie was fantastic in Super Bowl 52. Clement most likely gets the start over both LeGarratte Blount and Jay Ajayi.

On defense, the Eagles should get stronger. Philly’s D really gelled in the NFC Playoffs. In Super Bowl 52, the D came up with the most important game of the season. Heading into the off-season, I consider the Philadelphia Eagles to be the best team in the NFL.