For a third straight year the New England Patriots will be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. This time it will be against the Los Angeles Rams, who have sky-rocketed to the top of the league. Kickoff for Super Bowl 53 is set for 6:30 EST. The game will be held at Mercedes Benz Stadium (home of the Atlanta Falcons). It will be televised nationally on CBS.

Taking a look at the Super Bowl Odds, oddsmakers opened up the line at New England -1.5. That didn’t last long. Patriots are up to -2.5 at most books and some have already shifted it onto the key number of 3. The total opened at 58 and is down to 57 at most places.

New England vs Los Angeles Super Bowl 53 Vegas Betting Preview

Both teams punched their ticket to Atlanta in dramatic fashion. First it was the Rams, who after trailing 13-0 in the first quarter, managed to force overtime and eventually win 26-23.

While Los Angeles wound up winning the yardage battle 378 to 290, they were very fortunate to pull that one out. For starters, if the refs don’t miss a blatant pass interference call, their season would be over. They were also very lucky to only be down 13-0 early. New Orleans had to settle for field goals in the red zone on each of their first two drives.

It was the opposite for New England, who took a 14-0 advantage into the half at Kansas City. The Patriots couldn’t keep Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs from erasing that deficit. New England rallied from 4 points down twice in the 4th quarter, including what many thought would be the game winning touchdown with 39 seconds to play. KC somehow managed to get into field goal range and tied it up, but the Pats got the ball first and took it 75 yards on 13 plays for the game-winner.

Super Bowl LIII Free Pick & Predictions: Rams +3 over Patriots

As much as I hate betting against the Patriots, my early lean here would be to grab the field goal with Los Angeles. I just think because of the Patriots track record we are seeing people do a complete 180 with this team. A lot of people were on the Chiefs to take down the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. I think those same people who bet against New England are backing the Patriots this time around.

It certainly seems to be that way based on the early numbers, as I’m showing close to 65% of the action coming in on New England. If I’ve learned anything, you don’t want to be on that popular side for the big game. In fact, the underdog has covered the Super Bowl in 8 of the last 10. Two of the favorites to cover were the Patriots, but both were a bit lucky. New England won 28-24 back in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle on that interception on the goal line. The other was that crazy comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl 51, where they covered as a 3-point favorite in overtime.

In terms of experience and long-term accomplishments, the edge goes to the Patriots, but as far as this game is concerned, I think the Rams are the better team. Keep in mind we have seen two young offensive minded guys really give New England trouble the last two Super Bowls. Two years ago it was Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and last year it was Doug Pederson with the Eagles. This time it’s Sean McVay of the Rams, who I think is the cream of the crop right now in terms of a young offensive minded coach in the NFL.

I think McVay is going to learn a lot with how New England tried to slow down the Chiefs offense and will focus on the adjustments that Kansas City made in the 2nd half. I just feel really confident that the Rams will be able to score.

What makes me really like Los Angeles is their defense. Most notably their dynamic defensive tackle duo of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. As we saw with the Chiefs, having great outside pass rushers doesn’t do ya whole lot against Brady and that dink and dunk Patriots offense. To disrupt that offense you need to be able to bring pressure up the middle. I think they do just that and will make enough plays to get the win. Give me the Rams +3.