The teams for the 2017 Super Bowl are set, as the New England Patriots were crowned AFC Champions for their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, shortly after the Atlanta Falcons claimed the title of NFC Champions in a convincing win against the Green Bay Packers. While plenty predicted that the Patriots would make it to yet another Super Bowl this year, the rise of the Falcons was not one that was easily foreseen. Regardless, Atlanta boasts a great roster and plenty of potential to put up a fight, which is why the Vegas oddsmakers see this as a close game on paper. They have set the spread with New England installed as a slight, three-point favorite to open betting with.

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With the Super Bowl being by far the most bet single event of the year on a regular basis, the oddsmakers are under a lot of pressure to get it right. There will be tons of money coming in, and lines will likely shift in one direction or another due to this. Largely due to their ability to move the line to balance out the action, Vegas has won money on 24 out of 26 Super Bowls since the statistics started being tracked by the Nevada Gaming Control back in 1991. Considering the countless prop bets and other ways to bet on a Super Bowl, there is a good chance that they’ll be on the right side of Super Bowl LI as well.

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The books are sure to do well with their Super Bowl bets, but many casual bettors cannot say the same. Before blindly betting on the Falcons or Patriots, or the over or the under, it’s worth it to consult with an expert on the subject. Fortunately, The Sports Geek—one of the top handicappers in the industry—has been kind enough to provide his take and analysis on the recently released Super Bowl odds. Before getting to his thoughts, here is a quick look the kick-off time, television information, odds and more for Super Bowl 51.

The Sports Geek’s Take: The sportsbooks released the initial Super Bowl 51 lines (or betting odds) during the secondhalf of a lopsided 2017 AFC Championship Game, after it became clear that the Patriots would be advancing to Super Bowl 51. New England was installed as three-point favorites over the Falcons, with the game total being set between 58 and 58.5, depending on the sportsbook.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is congratulated by Matt Ryan... <+> #2 of the Atlanta Falcons after their 30-23 win at Georgia Dome on September 29, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The three point spread may move before Super Bowl 51 kicks off on February 5th, and early indications show that it would be more likely to move in the Patriots direction than towards the Falcons. Roughly 70% of the early wagers are coming in on the Patriots -3. Sportsbooks may eventually adjust and make New England 3.5 point favorites if money continues to pour in on the favorites, but the books will most likely prefer to stand pat at the 3 point spread if they can.

Since 2004 there have only been two Super Bowls that landed on a spread of -3 at kickoff. The latest was Super Bowl XLVI between the Patriots and New York Giants in 2012, where New England was a three-point favorite and ended up losing straight up, 21-17. Super Bowl XLV a year prior also a three-point favorite in Green Bay, a team that went on to win 31-25 over the Steelers, covering the spread in the process.

It has been somewhat rare to see small Super Bowl spreads, with just four games since 2004 closing with a spread of three points or fewer. The favorites have gone 2-2 against the spread (ATS) in those contests. Super Bowls with small spreads have provided fans with some of the more entertaining matchups, with three of the four having finished with a game decided by six points or less. The only disappointing game that was projected to be close during that span was when the Seattle Seahawks overwhelmed the Denver Broncos in 2014 with a 35 point blowout.

Since 2004, the Patriots have been a favorite of three points or fewer in only four of their postseason games. They have gone 2-2 ATS in those games. The Falcons have not played nearly as many playoff contests as the Patriots have in recent years, but they have participated in two games as three point or fewer underdogs since ’04. In that span, Atlanta went 0-2 ATS, with the losses stemming from a 22-point disappointment against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Giants in 2012, and a six-point loss to the Arizona Cardinals in 2009.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has played in a total of six Super Bowls prior to this upcoming one. Although he has won a ring in four of his trips, he has covered the spread for bettors in just two of the six appearances. He has been a favorite in each of his last five Super Bowls, going a meager 1-4 ATS as a favorite.

This year’s Super Bowl total of 58 is historic, as it is the highest over/under ever set for a Super Bowl. The next highest total was set at 56.5 points in 2010 for Super Bowl XLIV between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. That game finished 31-17 for 48 total points scored, far below what oddsmakers expected. Since 2004, eight Super Bowls have had a total set at 47 points or more, with the Under hitting in five of those games.

This NFL season has been kind to over bettors. There were many high scoring games, as evidenced by the Over going 21-15 in contests with totals closing at 50 points or more. The Falcons and their top-ranked offense were involved in eight of those games, with all eight soaring over the total. That includes both playoffs game with totals of 51 and 59.5 that finished with total scores of 56 and 65, respectively. The Patriots played in just one game with a total at 50 or higher, and that game finished with 47 total points scored.

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Projected high scoring and close Super Bowl match ups usually provide the best entertainment value for fans, and Super Bowl 51 is expected to be both high scoring and a tight game. It should be an entertaining Super BowlSunday, and it looks like the over could be a great play right now, but check back for an official play as it gets closer to Super Bowl kickoff.


I"ve been working in the realm of sports my entire career, starting as a breaking news writer right out of Arizona State University. After three years of writing, I

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I"ve been working in the realm of sports my entire career, starting as a breaking news writer right out of Arizona State University. After three years of writing, I jumped to the business side of the industry as a senior research analyst for two major corporations. I"m now combining both of these experiences together to come up with some great content for you to enjoy at!