Super Bowl 53: What you need to know to be game-day ready

New England Patriots to battle against Los Angeles Rams

As the countdown has begun for Super Bowl 53, Atlanta is kicking off several game-related events this weekend for football fans.

Here’s a few fast facts you need to know ahead of next Sunday’s match at 3:30 PST:

A Super Bowl shutout? Don’t bet on it

Anyone willing to wager that the high-scoring Patriots or Rams will get shut out in the Super Bowl can count on a big payday if that unlikely scenario occurs.

William Hill, the nation’s largest sports book operator, released on Thursday its list of more than 900 proposition bets for Super Bowl 53. Given that the game matches two of the NFL’s top offences, the odds against either team being held scoreless are long.

Specifically, William Hill set 250-1 odds on the Patriots getting blanked and — perhaps in a nod to coach Bill Belichick’s ability to out-scheme opposing offences — put 200-1 odds on New England shutting out the Rams.

By contrast, the Patriots get 20-1 odds of scoring 50 points or more, while the Rams are a slightly better bargain at 25-1 to reach the half-century mark. A word of caution to those who might be tempted: Only two teams have reached 50 points in a Super Bowl, most recently 26 years ago when the Dallas Cowboys scored 52.

Not all of this year’s prop bets are confined to action on the field, of course. Bettors can guess whether the Rams’ Brandin Cooks will catch more passes than 3-pointers made by Stephen Curry when the Golden State Warriors play the Los Angeles Lakers the day before the Super Bowl. Or those who prefer the other kind of football can guess whether there will be more sacks in the Super Bowl or yellow cards shown in the Leicester City-Manchester United English Premier League match earlier on Super Bowl Sunday.

In this Oct. 25, 2018 photo, a gambler makes a sports bet at the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City N.J. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

This year will mark the first time bettors can make legal prop bets in states other than Nevada. Thanks to last year’s Supreme Court decision that allowed all 50 states to legalize sports gambling if they choose, William Hill now operates sports books in New Jersey and West Virginia that will also offer the full menu of prop bets.

Hundreds of the prop bets involve performances by individual players — for example, who will commit the first turnover — and the NFL has argued those bets are too vulnerable to manipulation or cheating and should be restricted or even outlawed.

Goff, 17 years Brady’s junior, on equal ground at Super Bowl

Jared Goff was 7 years old when Tom Brady beat the Rams to win his first Super Bowl in early 2002. The kid has been a fan of the superstar ever since.

Goff is now 24, the same age as Brady was then. When Brady plays in his ninth Super Bowl next weekend in Atlanta for the New England Patriots, Goff will be on the other sideline for Los Angeles, neither star-struck nor cocky.

Their 17-year age gap is the biggest between starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. Yet the passing years apparently mean little to Brady, and they’re just as unimportant to Goff, who sees no advantage in his youth and no disadvantage in his inexperience.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passes under pressure from Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Jaylon Smith. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

“It’s a guy that you’ve looked up to for so long,” Goff said Thursday. “Now I get a chance to play in one with him. We do respect him, but I’m going to go out there and do my best and be the best I can be, and hopefully come out with a win.”

Both quarterbacks will be under a relentless spotlight in the next week. Brady lives his life under that glare, while Goff is still getting used to it after just three years of being a No. 1 overall pick who stumbled early, but grew quickly into a successful quarterback.

Goff and Brady are from different generations, but the quarterbacks have a few things in common.

They’re both from the Bay Area, with Brady growing up on the Peninsula and Goff in Marin County. Neither was a can’t-miss NFL prospect heading into college, but neither let it stop him.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates after the game-winning touchdown in overtime for a 37-31 win against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Championship game. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS)

Already the winningest quarterback in NFL history, Brady will play in his 40th playoff game in Atlanta. Goff is playing in his fourth, but he is riding the momentum of his first two career postseason victories in the past two games.

Romo approaching first Super Bowl like regular season game

And while New England’s Tom Brady and Los Angeles’ Jared Goff are going into the Super Bowl with plenty of momentum, but the quarterback that might be on the biggest roll is CBS analyst Tony Romo.

The former Cowboys signal-caller will call his first Super Bowl on Feb. 3 coming off acclaim for his analysis of the Jan. 20 AFC championship game between New England and Kansas City.

Romo made 15 predictions, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Kaduk, of what the Patriots or Chiefs would do before the snap. He was correct on 12 plays, including going 10 of 12 during the fourth quarter and overtime.

In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo smiles on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Romo said during a conference call earlier this week that he intends to call the game the same way he has others for the past two seasons.

“I try not to predetermine too much stuff I can say because the game is the story and you’re going to call it,” Romo said. “Sometimes you just get passionate and excited in the moment, really talking out loud about what is going through your brain. Sometimes you see a lot of stuff and try to articulate that. Once in a blue moon, you get lucky.”

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