For the first time in NFL history, both the AFC and NFC title games went into overtime on the same day. We’re also just two years removed from the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. Perhaps for these reasons, odds for the Super Bowl overtime prop are not as favorable as they were in years past.
Will the game go to overtime?
This year, a winning $100 bet on “no” would yield a $7.14 profit. Since a bet like that would typically be considered a waste of time, we’ll focus more on why you might say “yes,” though the odds are heavily in favor of “no” for a reason. So, is it worth gambling on “yes” or should you sit this one out?
Over the past five years, 2018 had the second-most overtime games of any season (15). There were 21 in 2015, 14 in 2017, 13 in 2016 and 11 in 2014.
The AFC Championship was New England’s first overtime game of the season. In the Tom Brady era, the Patriots have had multiple overtime games in a season (including playoffs) five times. The most (three) came in 2001 when the Patriots went on to beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. However, the Patriots have never played back-to-back overtime games in franchise history.
As one might expect, the teams are considered to be evenly matched. The line opened at New England -1 and has since gone to New England -2.5. An evenly matched game would obviously provide a greater opportunity for overtime. Statistical services tend to agree on the similar quality of the teams. For example, numberFire projects 28.9 points for New England and 27.1 for Los Angeles.
Also working in overtime’s favor is the fact that both teams have solid kickers. Stephen Gostkowski is third among active kickers in career field goal percentage. Greg Zuerlein has the second-most points scored this postseason and made both the game-tying and game-winning field goals against New Orleans. We can be relatively more confident if we need to rely on Gostkowski or Zuerlein for a game-tying kick in the final minute.
Roughly 5.8 percent of regular season games (15 of 256) went to overtime this year.
Not only have the Patriots never played in back-to-back overtime games, but they’ve also never played more than one overtime game in a single postseason. Aside from last week, their overtime playoff games came in the 2001 and 2016 seasons (The Tuck Rule Game and Super Bowl LI, respectively.)
The same goes for the Rams. The NFC Championship was their third postseason overtime game after 2003 (a loss to Carolina) and 1989 (a loss to San Francisco). The NFC Championship was also the first overtime game of Sean McVay’s tenure. Before that, the Rams hadn’t played in an overtime game since 2015.
The bet: Yes. Though, as we mentioned, only 5.8 percent of regular season games went to overtime this year. If you had a 5.8 percent chance of winning this bet, the odds would be +1624. At +700, the implied odds are 12.5 percent. Even when there were 21 overtime games in 2015 that was still only eight percent of regular season games. In other words, it’s still probably best to stay away unless the odds drastically improve. But if you truly believe these two are evenly matched, “yes” is a defensible longshot bet.
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