Super Bowl 2018: Schedule, Latest Vegas Odds and Updated Predictions

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2018

Tom Brady is preparing for his seventh consecutive AFC title game with the Patriots.
Tom Brady is preparing for his seventh consecutive AFC title game with the Patriots.Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are big favorites to roll over the Jacksonville Jaguars and advance to Super Bowl LII.

They are listed as nine point favorites by OddsShark, and that's not a surprise considering the legacy of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

However, the Patriots coach never takes anything for granted, and he raised a great point earlier in the week about the opposition: The Patriots don't know a lot about the Jaguars.

The two teams haven't played since 2015, and the Jaguars don't get the opportunity to play on national television often.

"Well, we're kind of working our way through it here," Belichick said on Monday, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. "We have a lot of work to do. We haven't seen them in quite a while."

That will change dramatically by kickoff. Belichick excels at picking up tendencies and learning a team's habits through film study and statistical analysis.

Brady suffered a cut on his passing hand after colliding with a teammate in practice Wednesday, according to a report by Jim McBride and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. While X-rays were negative, the Globe report indicated that Brady may not practice Thursday.

While the Jaguars wouldn't appear comparable to the Patriots from an offensive perspective, the Patriots are not about to be complacent. 

The Jaguars don't have a big-name offense, but they rank sixth in yards gained. Quarterback Blake Bortles has had his best season, averaging 230.4 yards per game and compiling a 21-13 TD-interception ratio.

Wideouts Keelan Cole and Marqise Lee have shown the ability to keep drives alive and make the occasional big play. Cole had 42 receptions in the regular season for 748 yards with three TDs, while Lee caught 56 passes for 702 yards and three touchdowns. The pair combined for 17 plays of 20 yards or more.

While the passing game is decent, the running game is quite powerful. Rookie Leonard Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns, and he is coming off a three-TD performance against the Steelers.

Look for New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to put eight or nine men in the box to slow down Fournette and dare Bortles to beat them. Bortles completed 14 of 26 passes for 214 yards in the win over the Steelers, but that performance came on the heels of a 87-yard showing against the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Game.

If Bortles repeats the kind of performance he had against the Bills, it will be nearly impossible to beat the Patriots.

In addition to being favored to earn the AFC title, the Pats are also favored to win the Super Bowl with odds of plus-105. A bettor who wagers $100 on New England to win the Super Bowl would earn a profit of $105 if the Patriots are successful.

The Super Bowl will be played February 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.

Odds to Win Super Bowl LII (courtesy of OddsShark)

New England Patriots, plus-105

Minnesota Vikings, plus-210

Philadelphia Eagles, plus-625

Jacksonville Jaguars, plus-650


The Minneapolis Miracle. And what else? @casekeenum7's Top 5 throws from the Divisional Round! #SKOL #NOvsMIN #NFLPlayoffs https://t.co/wLZCX7JeDT

The NFC title game may be much closer than the AFC game.

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off their "Skol Mary" victory over the New Orleans Saints, and now they go on the road to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Vikings are three-point favorites to take the NFC crown, but they have to get their feet back on the ground following the walk-off touchdown catch and run by Stefon Diggs after taking a pass from Case Keenum.

Additionally, playing the Eagles on the road has been nightmarish for the Vikings. They have lost nine of their last 11 trips to the Liberty Bell city in a streak that dates back to a January 3, 1981, divisional playoff game between the two teams at Veterans Stadium.

Keenum has been quite consistent this season, completing 325 of 481 passes for 3,437 yard with 22 touchdown throws and seven interceptions since replacing Sam Bradford after Week 1.

Adam Thielen has become a star as a wide receiver, catching 91 passes for 1,276 yards and four TDs, while Diggs added 64 receptions for 849 yards and eight scores. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has caught 57 passes for 532 yards and eight more scores.

The Vikings also developed a solid running game with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Those two emerged after rookie star Dalvin Cook suffered an early-season injury.

The Philadelphia offense has slowed considerably since second-year quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14.

Backup Nick Foles was awful in the final two weeks of the regular season, but he had a credible game in the win over the Atlanta Falcons, completing 23 of 30 passes for 246 yards. 

It's hard to see the Eagles finding a consistent offense against Minnesota's top-ranked defense.



If head coach Mike Zimmer can get his team back to earth after their thrilling divisional playoff win, the Vikings should have a good chance of making a strong showing in the NFC title game.

They are the better offensive team, and the Vikings have a versatile attack that can probe Philadelphia's vulnerabilities.

This game should be close all the way, but Minnesota will find a way to pull this game out with a touchdown in the final quarter

Final: Minnesota 23, Philadelphia 16


The Jaguars are good enough to exchange a couple of punches in the first half with the Patriots. But that's it.

When the teams go into the locker room to make halftime adjustments, Belichick will come up with the proper plan to take advantage of Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone.

New England wins this by at least two touchdowns.

Final: New England 34, Jacksonville 17