History will be made Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl LI. Either the Patriots’ Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will become the first quarterback and head coach, respectively, with five Super Bowl rings or the Falcons will bring home the franchise’s first-ever NFL title. After a postseason full of blowouts, let’s at least hope for a close game. Here are some final betting updates.
Super Bowl LI Point Spread and Total Update
This Super Bowl LI line opened on Sports Interaction NFL odds with the Patriots at -3 and a total of 58.5 and both numbers remain there. In Las Vegas sportsbooks, the Patriots and over are taking heavy leans – although typically the general public bets the Super Bowl favourite heavy and the sharp money rolls in late on the underdog. The moneyline also has stayed put with New England -150 and Atlanta +130.
“Unlike the past few Super Bowls where we spent the lead up to the game trying to balance our action, and the later parts of the game crying over large losses, this year’s matchup is seeing balanced action on the spread, moneyline and shockingly the total,” a Sports Interaction lines manager said. “Bettors are favoring the Falcons on the moneyline slightly more than New England, while the spread is the opposite. Given how the money has flowed thus far, we don’t expect to see the line move off New England -3. Ideally, the Patriots win the game but don’t cover the spread.”
So the book is hoping for a Pats win by less than three points. That’s not likely considering only one Super Bowl has been decided by under three: XXV when the NY Giants beat Buffalo 20-19 thanks to Bills kicker Scott Norwood missing a last-second field goal. The winning margin favourite on the board is Patriots by 1-5 points at +250. The Patriots are an amazing 15-3 against the spread this season, including playoffs, and can join the 1989 San Francisco 49ers as the only clubs in league history with 16 ATS victories. The Pats are just 2-5-1 ATS in their previous eight Super Bowls, however.
Assuming the spread closes at 3, and it surely will as 2.5 or 3.5 are such crucial numbers, it will be the third Super Bowl this century to close right at a field goal. The favourites won the previous two: Green Bay (-3) beating Pittsburgh 31-24 in SB XLV and Baltimore (-3) routing the New York Giants 34-7 at XXXV.
As for the total, it’s the highest in Super Bowl history, surpassing the 57 of SB XLIV when Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints beat Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts 31-17. It’s the 10th Super Bowl with a total of at least 50. Only three of the previous nine have gone over the total – and two of those by a half-point.
A whopping 15 of Atlanta’s 18 games have gone over the total this season. The three that didn’t were played in outdoor stadiums. The NFL is hoping to have the retractable roof in Houston open Sunday but won’t decide that until potentially as late as the morning of the game. The temperatures will be very mild in Houston, but if there’s any chance of rain the roof will be closed.
Super Bowl 51 Gambling Props Updates
On the Super Bowl MVP prop, New England quarterback Tom Brady remains the +130 favourite to become the first player with four such MVP Awards. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan is second at +205. What may shock readers is that as of this writing, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski at +25000 has seen more support to win MVP than any other player. No kicker has won the MVP.
Gostkowski probably would have to set a few Super Bowl records to win the award (most field goals made in a game is four) and hit a late game-winning kick. The Patriots have won two Super Bowls on kicks in the final seconds: XXXVI vs. the Rams (Brady’s first title back when he was a relative unknown) and XXXVIII vs. the Panthers – those were both made by Adam Vinatieri, now with the Colts. He was replaced by Gostkowski, a 2006 fourth-round pick. Gostkowski is usually one of the NFL’s best kickers but missed five field goals during the regular season, his most since 2012. He also missed three extra points, a career high. Although remember those were recently moved back to the 15-yard line. Gostkowski has eight game-winning kicks in his career. One was in the playoffs: a 31-yarder in the divisional round vs. San Diego in his rookie season.
The lean on the coin toss is much heavier on heads than tails. The latter has come up the past three years. The Patriots will call the toss Sunday as the visiting team, and it’s well known that they always call heads. One prominent offshore sportsbook got burned a bit listing a prop on what would be called and was forced to take prop down after heavy action on heads as knowledgeable Patriots fans jumped all over it.
Finally, the most important prop update: Puppy Bowl XIII. Whomever created that is marketing genius. It will “kick off” at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on Animal Planet. Team Ruff opened as a 6.5-point favourite on the spread but is now -8.5 thanks to double the action Team Fluff. The Puppy Bowl MVP favourite is Lucky at +600, and he has taken the most action. Lucky, on Team Fluff, is a Terrier mix who lost his right front leg in a crate accident.