The Patriots and Rams face off on Sunday night in Super Bowl LIII. When the point spread was initially released the Rams were a one point favorite, but it quickly shifted and is holding steady at Patriots -2.5. So far almost everyone is betting on the Patriots to cover, but will they? Inside Injuries new gaming algorithm evaluates everything from the QB to Offensive Line Health.
Let’s start by breaking down which team is favored at each position. Here are a few terms we will use to evaluate which team/player has the edge:
HPF = Health Performance Factor (Inside Injuries’ metric to determine player performance – the higher this number the better – if a player is at 100%, they are at peak health and won’t have any injury concerns preventing them from playing their best)
IRC = Injury Risk Category (This is the overall injury risk of a player – the lower the number the better – this means they are less likely to suffer an injury in the game)
QBs: Jared Goff vs. Tom Brady
It should come as no surprise that Goff is the favorite here. Brady is much older and has quite a few injuries to his name (although none have been overly serious), and Goff’s first three years in the league have been injury-free. Brady comes with an Elevated Injury Risk at 21%, much higher than Goff (2%). Goff’s 97% HPF is also much better than Brady, who sits at 81%. Both of those fall into the “Peak” category, so expect both QBs to play a great game, but Goff is looking better.
RBs: Todd Gurley/CJ Anderson vs. Sony Michel/James White/Rex Burkhead
This may come as a surprise, but the Rams RBs are actually favored heading into the Super Bowl. Despite Gurley’s recent knee problems, his HPF is back in the Peak category at 84%. CJ Anderson is also very fresh after essentially missing the regular season. Sony Michel will be a key player for the Patriots, but he comes with an Elevated (16%) Injury Risk due to his history of knee problems dating all the way back to high school. Rex Burkhead also missed half of the season due to a serious neck injury, a highly recurrent problem. Because of that his IRC is at 18%, pretty concerning. James White is the healthiest of the bunch with a 97% HPF.
WRs: Robert Woods/Brandin Cooks/Josh Reynolds vs. Julian Edelman/Chris Hogan
Robert Woods is the healthiest of the Rams WRs according to our algorithm (3% IRC, 97% HPF). Brandin Cooks (10% IRC, 90% HPF) and Josh Reynolds (14% IRC, 88% HPF) both look strong as well heading into the Super Bowl, and none have any current injury concerns. Julian Edelman has a fairly high Injury Risk at 21% and battled ankle and foot problems late in the season. While the two weeks off should help in his recovery, he isn’t going to be anywhere near 100%. Foot injuries are easily aggravated, especially for a WR, so don’t be surprised if he ends up missing some snaps. Chris Hogan is looking solid with an 86% HPF, but overall LA has the advantage here.
TEs: Tyler Higbee vs. Rob Gronkowski
This one is pretty easy. Higbee looks great (7% IRC, 92% HPF) while Gronk has a very concerning injury history that is impacting his numbers. His ankle remains a lingering problem and his back problems are no secret. Following three career surgeries and ongoing back pain and spasms, he is never going to be the same player. Now, Gronk at 50% is still better than many TEs in the game, and he can certainly be an impact player, but he isn’t the guy he once was. There’s no way to get back to being that guy after everything his body has been through. He will have to rely on his size, athleticism, and connection with Tom Brady to post big numbers in the Super Bowl.
Both offensive lines fall into the Low Risk category, but the Rams have an overall IRC of 4.93% while the Patriots come with a 12.92% IRC. The Rams 94.33% HPF is also stronger than the Patriots, who sit at 88.67%. Now, both of these are great numbers, so LA and New England should both see good games from their offensive lines. Expect some big holes to open up in the run game and very few sacks for both offenses.
- IRC: 10.45%
- HPF: 88.62%
- IRC: 12.91%
- HPF: 85.82%
Essentially the Patriots come with more risk, but with a higher HPF our algorithm is projecting a slightly better performance from this defense.
It’s pretty clear that the Rams have the advantage on offense with an overall HPF of 94.33%. That’s much higher than the Patriots, who average 88.67%. Both of these are great numbers and fall into the Peak category, meaning we can expect a well-played game from both sides. With the spread shifting to the Patriots -2.5, betting on the Rams is the right move based on our projections.
Betting tip: Use these IRC and HPF calculations to place some prop bets! Some popular bets right now are Gronk over/under 54.5 yards (take the over- Gronk’s HPF has improved significantly in recent weeks) and total touchdowns by both teams at 6.5 (take the over- these are two offenses with strong HPFs).
Final Take: Go with the Rams, the Patriots won’t cover.
That’s all for now. Follow us on Twitter for pre-game analysis all week (including some prop bet insight!) and updates during the game if anyone goes down with an injury. Good luck!