New England Patriots (14-2 SU) vs. Atlanta Falcons (11-5 SU)
Super Bowl 51
Date/Time: Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 6:30 PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:NE -3/ATL +3
Over/Under Total: 58
Congratulations to the New England Patriots on making their record ninth Super Bowl. As a longtime Miami Dolphins fan, it pains me to see them do so well each and every year. That said, I’m neither blind nor delusional. Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in football, probably of all time, and with all due respect to Dan Marino, Tom Brady is likely the same in the quarterback category (though I think arguments can be made for Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Joe Montana.
Likewise, congrats to the Atlanta Falcons on making it to the big game. Matt Ryan surprised a lot of people, myself included, and deserves to be the NFL MVP. Meanwhile, he is surrounded by a talented roster of players and coaches led by Dan Quinn. Their excitement and drive to win the franchise’s first title for owner Arthur Blank is palpable. Also, how about Blank’s generosity of sending every single Falcons employee to Houston for the Super Bowl. That’s a boss I’d like to have.
So, who do I like come Super Bowl Sunday? Well, if you read any of my previews throughout the season, you know I like to look at the numbers. Let’s start with the QBs.
Fittingly, Ryan and Brady went No. 1 and 2 this season. With total QBR ratings of 83.3 and 83.0 respectively. In the regular season, the former went 373 of 534 (69.9 CMP%) for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. That gave him a 117.1 QB rating to end the season. Meanwhile, Brady went 291 of 432 (67.4% CMP%) for 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. He finished with a 112.2 QB rating.
Both QBs are not only good, they’re great. So little separates the two, but as you can see “Matty Ice” edged out Brady in 2016.
Offensively, the Falcons were top dog averaging 415.8 total yards per game (YPG), including 295.3 passing YPG and 120.5 rushing YPG. The Falcons also scored an average 33.8 points per game (PPG) and converted 42.1% of third downs.
For the Patriots, they were third in the league averaging 386.2 total YPG, including 269.2 passing YPG and 117 rushing YPG. They scored an average of 27.6 PPG and converted 45.8% of third downs.
Defensively, the Patriots finished eighth in the league holding opponents to an average of 326.4 YPG (237.9 passing YPG and 88.6 rushing YPG) and 15.6 PPG. As for the Falcons, they were 25th allowing an average of 371.2 YPG (266.7 passing YPG and 104.5 rushing YPG) and 25.4 PPG. That’s a big difference and suggests the Patriots are the more balanced team while the Falcons have to make up for their defensive woes with offensive firepower.
Chad Holloway's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is going to be one hell of a game. Fundamentally, the Patriots are a force. Teams plan for one thing, then they throw something new at you like Chris Hogan in the AFC Championship Game. Belichick is a formidable foe, and Brady is a surgeon. There’s a reason they’re the favorites.
That said, I like the Falcons in this game. They’ll need to fire on all cylinders, and the coaching staff is going to have to have to take a page out of the Patriots’ playbook by doing the unexpected. They need to find a way to use their talents in such a way that the Patriots couldn’t possibly prepare for it. They’re talented enough both on the ground and through the air that they have options to accomplish that.
As corny as it sounds, the real difference maker for me is heart. The Patriots are a cold, calculating team, and it’s worked wonders. This isn’t their first rodeo so to speak, and in some sense, it’s Super Bowl business as usual. Meanwhile, the Falcons are in the Super Bowl for just the second time. They bid adieu to the Georgia Dome in spectacular fashion, and there’s just an excitement about them.
I like the Falcons at +3, and even if they lose, I know they’ll leave it all on the field. Also, given the high-powered offenses, I like both teams to combine for enough points to cover the over.
Bet your Super Bowl 51 pick at BetOnline Sportsbook and deposit at least $50 and get a 25% BONUS of up to $1000 FREE. Great In-Game betting and more check them out!
Need some help with your handicapping? Our NFL betting tips will help the begineer to novice bettor improve their bottom line.
Editor's Picks - Each week our in house pro's tackle the week's card and make predictions on the week's games ATS! Best bets, top plays, premium selections, etc. FREE!
Expert NFL Picks - Free premium plays from the "real" expert football handicappers from around the web. Don't fall for second rate picks from ESPN, the NFL Network, Hank Goldberg or the screaming touts on TV.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We forecast the loudest barking dog of the week. Expect a 60% winning percentage with these plays.
Favorite of the Week Play - We examine "the chalk" and determine the safest bet in which who you should lay the points with. Forecasting winning favorites long term isn't easy, but we've had some pretty good luck with it over the years.
Line Movement Plays - We report all the major line moves from the gridiron and forecast whether it's public money or sharp action causing the move. Who will cover the spread this week? Our line move plays!
NFL Consensus Picks - See what the general public is betting on. We use this info to fade the public to the tune of big profits over the course of the season.
Bookies Picks - Each week, we'll post which side the bookies are on. Please note: These are not OUR picks. We're simply reporting the teams the bookies need to cover the spread in order for them to win. Games receiving equal action on both sides will not be factored into these records.
Office Pool Picks - You asked for it and you got it! Each week, we'll post our predictions to win each game straight up so that you can RULE your pick'em league!
NFL Trends - Don't ever let anybody tell you that the trend is your friend. These picks make great fades which is exactly what we do with them.
NFL Computer Picks - We enter the statistics into the database and the computer crunches the numbers and gives final score predictions. These should be used for entertainment only!
Monday Night Football Picks - The ultimate bailout play. Our MNF picks are golden and have hit 62% or better 3 out of the past 4 years. (Last season was a disaster!) Did we mention that their FREE?
2016 NFL Predictions - Badger breaks down each division and gives his picks on which teams he thinks will win the AFC and NFC Conferneces (plus Super Bowl winner prediction).
Super Bowl Picks - Everybody here in the Predictem office takes their best preseason shot at predicting the winner Superbowl 50. Pride is on the line here! Oh, and LOOT too!
5Dimes - Bet your NFL football picks at -105 odds every day of the week! 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Pleasers and huge point buying opportunities as well!
Bovada - Tired of deposit hassles? Bet on football using your credit card at a sportsbook where your Visa CAN and WILL work for deposits! Offers a 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 FREE!
MyBookie - Credit cards work GREAT here! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $1000 in free cash!
Bookmaker - Watch the game for a bit THEN make a wager! Yes! You can jump in after the action has started using their awesome live betting feature! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $300 in FREE bonus cash OR take advantage of their enormous 15% bonus up to $2500 in free cash! The best sportsbook for highrollers!
Super Bowl Betting - We explain all the different types of wagers you can making including point spread bets, totals, moneylines and prop bets. No need to go to Vegas! You can bet the big game online!
Weekly Fantasy Football - If you drafted a crappy team or the injury bug has bit you and wrecked your season, we've got something really cool to turn you on to that will change the way you play fantasy sports forever!
Famous Football Quotes - From the inspirational to the greatest touchdown calls of all time. We've got them!
Pro Football Hall of Fame - A full list of NFL players who have been inducted into the NFL HOF.
The Spread - Offers free NFL football predictions, matchups, stats including both offensive and defensive and more!
Fantasy Football Sites - Get recommendations on where to find weekly updated player news, depth charts and legit websites that offer the best stat and record tracking for your fantasy football league.