Jimmy McGinty previews Superbowl 51 and he has a host of bets including total points, first touchdown scorer, first sack and even Lady Gaga costumes are examined!
Super Bowl LI (51) in Houston
New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
Super Bowls are terrific occasions and spectacles and thankfully this year we have the added dimension for Betswot followers in the form of a 66/1 coupon on the Atlanta Falcons, stemming from a pre-season preview in August. Read HERE.
Unfortunately now that they’ve made it, I’m actually leaning towards the Patriots to bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy on Sunday. The Falcons were super impressive last time out, but the Packers were mistake-riddled at the start (missed fg, fumble on 5yd line, etc.) and the game was over when their defense didn’t come up with a stop. Patriots D will make stops and their offense will be predictably solid. The Pats have covered the spread in 15 of their 18 games this season!
I think the Patriots are the stronger team, but the spread of -3pts doesn’t appeal as Atlanta have the firepower to get close even if trailing throughout. What does appeal far more is the Patriots winning margin of 1-6pts. It’s a winning margin that would’ve clicked in their four Super Bowl victories to date.
4pts Patriots winning margin 1-6pts 7/2 – Betway (3/1 Ladbrokes)
Patriots special markets
This promises to be a great game. In Atlanta we have the league’s best offense versus one of the league’s best defenses in the Patriots. The Pats also have a Tom Brady led offense for good measure. The weak link of the four sides (that makes sense right?) taking the field on Sunday appears to be the Falcons defense. Falcons missed a lot of tackles (2nd most in NFL) and gave up the league’s highest yards after contact figure. Two factors that would suggest the Pats may be tempted to run the ball quite often. Patriots could get consistent yards by running hard up the middle but when you have Brady at QB why bother. Basically the Pats can attack whichever way they want and have success.
The Falcons have won a lot of games since losing top cornerback Desmond Trufant, but they didn’t face too many top QBs and receiving teams. Chris Hogan is the most likely Patriot to benefit from the deep ball. His 9 reception, 180yd and 2 TD performance from two weeks ago is unlikely to be repeated but he is Brady’s best and favourite deep weapon against a secondary which is beatable. Hogan went for 95yds the week before that. His line of 58yds is far too low.
3pts Chris Hogan receiving yards over 58.5yds - Paddy Power
In addition to the Falcons potential rushing defense issues mentioned above the Patriots may also look to the Falcons defeat by the Eagles in November. The Eagles rushed a staggering 38 times for over 200yds and as a result kept Matt Ryan off the field for long periods. This approach on Sunday would mean a lot of work for LeGarrette Blount. Also if the Pats get a decent lead they’ll use Blount heavily to ice the clock in the closing stages. He went over the 60yds mark in six games out of seven during the middle of the season but production dipped a little during the playoffs due to an illness. The mark of 55.5 is too low now.
4pts LeGarrette Blount rushing yards over 55.5yds – SkyBet
Falcons Special Markets
The Patriots defense is very strong, but if they have a weak link it’s their covering linebackers. The Falcons will try to exploit this by using Freeman and Coleman as receivers out of the backfield and Tyler Gabriel on tricky screens and slants.
Malcolm Butler is a stud cornerback, but is too small to match up on Julio Jones. He’ll try to lock down Tyler Gabriel I’d guess. Logan Ryan will probably mark Mohammed Sanu and Eric Rowe with plenty of help will try his best on Julio Jones. Whichever way they match up, the Pats have a decent secondary. Matt Ryan keeping it simple with Freeman and/or Coleman could be the most effective route for the Falcons. If Gabriel lines up opposite Rowe he’ll have a favourable mismatch.
2pts Tevin Coleman receiving yards over 33yds – Betfred (receiving not rushing)
2pts Devonta Freeman receiving yards over 33yds – Betfred (receiving not rushing)
2pts Taylor Gabriel total receptions over (receptions not yards) WHEN AVAILABLE
Total Points O/U 58.5pts
Based on plenty of what is written above - If the Patriots get an early lead they will be desperate to keep Ryan and Co. off the field and will run down the clock at every chance they get. They might just run the ball regularly in a close game also. Meanwhile the Falcons may have to settle for short regular gains rather than big plays from their wide men. All pointing to a lower scoring game than many predict. It was October when a game involving the Patriots last went over 58pts. And just two out of the last nine Falcons games have gone over that mark. Ok plenty of them have been 50+pt games and of course against the Packers they scored 44pts themselves but the Packers have a miserable secondary. Pats have the opposite!
Only one of the last 12 Super Bowls has gone over 58pts, when Ravens defeated the 49ers in the 2012/13 Super Bowl. I’m happy to back the under 58.5pts here.
6pts under 58.5pts total score – 10/11 with BetVictor and William Hill
The weakest link in the Patriots offensive line is Joe Thuney at LG. He’ll face Grady Jarrett who has had a tremendous season. Jarrett recorded just three sacks this season but had a big game against the Packers two weeks ago. Vic Beasley will be the focus which may allow Grady Jarrett get to Brady occasionally. Have a small nibble on him notching the first sack.
1pt Grady Jarrett first sack 14/1 – Boylesports
First Touchdown is always a lottery, especially in a potential shootout but based on what I’ve written above and looking at the odds I’ll have
0.5pt Chris Hogan - First TD scorer at 16/1 with Paddy Power and Coral
0.5pt Taylor Gabriel - First TD scorer at 20/1 with Skybet and Boylesports
In summary we’re looking at a relatively low scoring, run heavy, but Chris Hogan inspired, narrow Patriots win.
And Finally -
For those of you who bet on everything come Super Bowl Sunday please remember –
The coin toss in the previous 50 Super Bowls, “tails” holds the edge over “heads” by a 26-24 margin. Additionally, “tails” has come up in each of the last three Super Bowls. You can back both at evens if you just want a winner!!!
Falcons fans will be glad to know: The underdog has covered the point spread in an impressive 13 of the last 16 Super Bowls. Additionally, the underdog has won outright in the last five and eight of the last nine Super Bowls.
The Super Bowl has never gone to overtime. Never. It must be due….
15/8 for a field goal to be missed seems a little high (without reading any stats on it)
I’ve no idea who Luke Bryan is but he sings the National Anthem and when he did the same at a MLB baseball game it was 1min 59sec. That may help.
Lady Gaga to have over 1.5 costume changes at half time seems fairly solid also. Surely each song