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SB51: Patriots on Fire as a Favorite, Falcons are Dynamite as a Dog

Here we go. After 266 games, the Patriots and Falcons are the only teams left standing. The two high-scoring teams will square off in Houston for Super Bowl LI and with much of the focus on off-the-field storylines, we’re here to analyze what matters most to bettors —­ the spread and the total. With the Patriots favored in a game with the highest total in Super Bowl history, here’s what you need to know before placing a bet on the game.

Shark Bites
  • Matt Ryan last six games — 18 TDs, 0 INTs.
  • The Falcons are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games in the playoffs as underdog.
  • Tom Brady career numbers vs Falcons — nine TDs, one INT, 115.7 QB rating.

Both teams enter the Super Bowl as red-hot bets as the Patriots have covered the spread in seven consecutive games, while the Falcons have covered in five of their last six. They’ve both been serious money makers for bettors all season long as they combine to have a 27-9 ATS record on the season, and each team makes a strong case for a bet when you look at their favorite/underdog splits.

When tabbed as a favorite, the Patriots are on a very profitable run that’s seen them go 19-9-2 ATS, while Falcons backers are hitting the jackpot when their team is an underdog as they’ve gone 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games when getting points. That stretch of 27 games began on November 13, 2013, and no team in the NFL has a better ATS win percentage as an underdog over that span than the Falcons.

More specific to the spread, though, the Falcons have a serious edge as they’ve won seven straight as an underdog in the 2- to 4-point range, both SU and ATS. The Patriots, meanwhile, have a tendency to get upset as a small favorite, as they’ve gone just 4-9 SU and ATS in their last 13 games as a 2- to 4-point favorite.

Digging into some numbers, you’ll see that the Patriots D ranks first in the NFL with just 15.7 points allowed per game, while the Falcons D ranks in the bottom third with 24.8 points allowed per game. Those numbers are slightly deceiving, however, when you consider the gradual improvement the Falcons defense has made over the course of the season. In their first nine games of the season, they allowed 28 or more points six times. In their nine games since, they’ve allowed 28 or more points just twice. Much has been made of the lack of quality offenses the Patriots have played this season, and with good reason. Their opponents combined to average just 20.76 points per game this season — two points below the league average.

The game has a total hovering in the 58.5-point range, which is an all-time high for a Super Bowl. Both teams are keeping scoreboard operators busy as they’ve combined to score 30 or more points 23 times this season.  Atlanta is on an amazing stretch of eight consecutive OVERs, while the Patriots have topped the number in three straight. Specific to the 58.5 mark, the Falcons have topped that number in a game eight times this season while the Patriots have gone OVER 58.5 just once.

A look at some historic trends shows that underdogs have dominated the Super Bowl in recent years, posting a 12-3 ATS mark in the last 15 games, with covers and straight-up wins in five straight. History also indicates that if you like the Falcons to cover, you’d be right to pick them to win outright as well, as 44 of the 50 Super Bowl winners (88%) have also covered the spread.

Head-to-head results have favored the Patriots, as they’re currently riding a four-game SU and ATS win streak vs the Dirty Birds. I wouldn’t read too much into those games, however, as the teams have played just four times this millennium.

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Opening Odds & Computer Pick

The New England Patriots were listed as -3-point favorites at sportsbooks such as TopBet, with the total listed at 58.5.

OddsShark prediction models picked the Falcons to win this game on Sunday 29-21. Check the picks page or matchup report during the week as factors may cause that prediction to be re-run. View the computer score prediction and who will win the pick on the moneyline for all upcoming NFL matchups here.

New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Matchup

Team Betting Records & Power Rankings

This season the Atlanta Falcons are 13-5 overall and 12-6 ATS against the spread, while the Patriots are 16-2 and 15-3 ATS. As for the totals, Atlanta is 16-2 on the OU, and New England is 8-9-1. Stay Informed: follow us on Twitter for odds specials, betting line moves and Atlanta vs New England injuries news.

The OddsShark Power Rankings have the Atlanta Falcons at No. 2 and the New England Patriots at No. 1 heading into this contest.

Statistical Matchup

The game also pits Atlanta's No. 1-ranked offense, averaging 34.44 PPG, against a Patriots defense that ranks No. 1 this week at 15.72 PPG. The Falcons aerial game is averaging 302.22 yards per game, more than the Patriots secondary allows through the air, 239.06 YPG per game.

Defensively, the New England Patriots feature the league's No. 3-rated road run defense, allowing 87.38 yards per game. The Atlanta Falcons, meanwhile, ranks No. 9 in rushing offense at home.

Recent Outings Betting Recap

New England comes off a game where it received a 3-TD performance from Tom Brady in defeating the Steelers 36-17.

Atlanta comes off a game where it received a 4-TD performance from Matt Ryan in defeating the Packers 44-21.

Next Betting Matchups

New England home to , Wednesday, December 31st
Atlanta home to , Wednesday, December 31st