The Super Bowl 51 line opened at New England -2.5 on Sunday night of Championship Weekend and quickly moved up to -3. Since then 67% of bets have come in on New England but sharp bets on the Falcons have made 54% of the money count on Falcons +3. Arguably considered one of the most even matched Super Bowls of the last ten years, here’s what both teams need to do if they’re going to come out on top:
1. Prevent the deep pass on defense. New England will give up yards inside the 20s but as long as they prevent Julio Jones from breaking deep on their double team and limit Taylor Gabriel’s chances deep down field they can live with Atlanta moving the ball in short spurts inside the 20s and letting their tackling take care of the dirty work. New England owns the #7 redzone defense in the NFL and with a solid run defense can prevent scores in the redzone.
2. Chip block Vic Beasley. If Beasley consistently wins his matchup and the pocket collapses for Brady it will be tough on the New England offense . Block Beasley and you afford Tom Brady extra time in the pocket to operate.
3. Play physical at the line with Atlanta’s receivers. Atlanta’s offense can’t be slowed down with conventional coverage. New England needs to bump the Falcons receivers and throw off their timing to force Matt Ryan to hold on to the ball longer and hope it leads to a mistake.
1. Establish the run early and then use Coleman in the passing game. Atlanta needs to get themselves in 2nd + 3rd and short situations to open their playbook up. As physical as New England can be with the Falcons receivers if they have cover Coleman out wide on short down & distances it’s going to be tough for the New England defense.
2. Win the line of scrimmage. Atlanta’s defensive line has come on strong during the playoffs and if they want any shot at taking down the Patriots it will start with the front 4 getting into the backfield just like the Texans did in the Divisional Round (only with more offense when the defense makes stops).
3. Convert in the redzone. They’re going to get inside the 20 a lot and have their chances. What they do inside the 20 when Julio is double covered and Gabriel is matched up with a bigger corner will be all the difference.
Prop Bets to look at…
Julian Edelman 5:1 to have the most receiving yards. These are the second shortest yards only to Julio Jones. Brady’s going to have to rely on Edelman a lot in this game and without Gronk in these playoffs we’ve seen the lion’s share of Brady’s passes target Edelman and Hogan. If the Patriots complete their gameplan of not letting Julio break deep for a big play and Ryan is spreading the ball around then Edelman will have a shot at this for good money.
Will the Falcons score in every quarter: Yes +140: They have the ability to get up the field in a hurry. I’ll take this positive payout
Will there be 3 unanswered scores: No +155: This happens often but I don’t see either defense locking down and stringing together multiple stops. The redzone won’t be easy but inside the 20s both teams can move the ball
Longest completion by Matt Ryan: Under 43.5 yards +105. The Patriots are going to give up yards underneath but are going to be focused on not letting anybody break deep. Easier said than done but 44 yards is still a huge play and the Patriots tackle well enough on limit homerun plays after the catch.
Just for fun…
Will the word “lacrosse” be mentioned?”: Yes -300. I feel like this is stealing even at this terrible odds.