When the NFL’s championship weekend came to an end with the New England Patriots defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game, the Los Angeles Rams — winners of the NFC — were initially seen as slight favorites to win the Super Bowl. However, the line has shifted since then: while the Rams originally were 1-point favorites, they are now 3-point underdogs against the Patriots.
The oddsmakers are not the only ones to project a New England victory in Super Bowl 53. According to the projections models created by FiveThirtyEight.com, Bill Belichick’s team is also a statistical favorite to come away victoriously on Super Sunday:
New England Patriots: 53% win probability
Los Angeles Rams: 47% win probability
Both the Patriots and the Rams had to go into overtime to defeat their opponents on Sunday, and with neither team standing out it is unsurprising that the odds are this close. New England still holds a slight edge, though, most likely due to a variety of factors: from experience on the game’s biggest stage, to a more balanced split between offense and defense, to simply looking a tad more impressive in the playoffs so far.
That all being said, the game will not be decided by the numbers but rather by preparation and execution — something FiveThiryEight found out multiple times this postseason: on wild card weekend, its projections went just 1-3 before rebounding with a perfect 4-0 score one week later. In the championship round, however, both underdogs won their games to also win their conferences and advance to the Super Bowl.
As the old adage goes “any given Sunday” will be on display again, something the Patriots more than likely are aware of. After all, both they and the Rams won last week despite being seen as underdogs by the oddsmakers and the statisticians. And frankly, beating the odds is at the very foundation of New England’s dynastic run — one that might add another trophy if the Patriots can prevent an upset from happening.