The Atlanta Falcons are underdogs for the first time since Dec. 4, 2016. What makes New England the Super Bowl favorite and are the Falcons really the better team?
Here’s something the Atlanta Falcons haven’t experienced in some time: underdogs. Westgate Las Vegas opened the Super Bowl 51 betting lines with the New England Patriots favored by three-points. The game’s total points have been set at 57.5.
The Falcons haven’t been Las Vegas underdogs since Week 13 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
Early lines are typically designed to get the attention of bettors and encourage early action. The line will drop a point or two as February 5th draws close, but the Patriots should remain favored regardless. We could make the argument that the Falcons are the better team heading into the match-up.
Atlanta ran through the NFL’s toughest schedule and did so while producing the league’s top-scoring offense. The Patriots finished with the better regular season record, but their list of opponents down the stretch wasn’t overly impressive. But they are the New England Patriots and their defense led the NFL in yielding points to opponents.
Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported some interesting numbers on Monday. According to Bradley, Super Bowl 51 will be the sixth time in NFL history where the top scoring-offense matches up against the defense allowing the fewest points. Unfortunately for the Falcons, “the highest scoring team is 1-4”.
Super Bowl 51 marks an NFL record 9th appearance for the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick makes his 7th appearance as Patriots head coach. Super Bowl XXXIII was the lone appearance for the Atlanta Falcons, a 34-19 loss to the Denver Broncos.
If anyone is able to stifle the Atlanta Falcons offense, it’s Bill Belichick. The Falcons should be overlooked heading to “Super Sunday”, but such has been the case throughout 2016. Heading to Houston as the underdog may play more into Dan Quinn’s favor as the master motivator he is.