The Super Bowl brings the world many things. It's the largest single-game sporting event on the planet, yet it transcends sports. There are entertainment acts, commercials galore and a plethora of gaming opportunities.
This year's title game, between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, is widely expected to be one of the highest-scoring Super Bowls in history.
We're going to take a look at Super Bowl LI and the latest odds, per OddsShark. We'll make our predictions for the game and examine some of the top picks and props for Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl LI
What: Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston
When: Sunday, February 5
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
National TV: Fox
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Line: NE -3
Prediction: New England 27-24
Picks and Props
This year's Super Bowl has a high over/under. In fact, the largest over-under for a Super Bowl before now was set at 56 in 2009, according to Will Brinson of CBSSports.com.
There's good reason for this over/under being set so high this year. The Falcons offense averaged an NFL-best 33.8 points per game during the regular season, and the Patriots weren't too far behind at 27.6 points per game.
If these two teams meet their season averages, the total would be roughly 61.
However, we're going to take the under here, especially if the over/under stays in the 59-60 range. There are a couple of reasons for this, including the stellar Patriots defense we have seen this season.
New England is rated first in overall defense by Pro Football Focus and allowed an average of just 15.6 points per game during the regular season. No team allowed fewer points this year. The Patriots allowed more than 25 points only once this season, to the Seattle Seahawks.
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As good as the Atlanta offense has been, expect New England to limit the opposition to 21-27 points. When the Falcons faced the Denver Broncos in the regular season—Pro Football Focus rated Denver third in overall defense —Atlanta scored 23 points. We expect a similar performance here.
The other reason we're going with the under is because Atlanta's underrated defense is playing well. The unit allowed an average of just 19.3 points per game over the last four weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.
"These guys are young, they have energy and they can run," Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney said, per NFL Media's Jeffri Chadiha. "If we could get them on the right page and understanding what they need to do fast, we could be dangerous."
Expect defense to play a bigger part in this game than a lot of folks are anticipating.
LeGarrette Blount Over 58.5 Yards Rushing
While we do expect a fair amount of defense in this game, we're not sure the Falcons will hold Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount in check for four quarters. This is why we're taking the over in a prop found at Oddschecker.
This prop has the over/under set at 58.5 yards rushing for Blount. The 30-year-old hasn't rushed for more than 58 yards since Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens, so there is some risk here. However, he is due a big game, and it could come against Atlanta.
The Patriots are likely to lean on Blount and the ground attack in an effort to keep Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the rest of the explosive Falcons offense on the sideline. His size and physicality should also help to combat the speed of Atlanta's defense.
We expect Blount to see a minimum of 20 carries against an Atlanta defense that Pro Football Focus rates just 26th against the run.
Matt Ryan Under 316.5 Yards Passing
Another interesting prop Oddschecker details involves Ryan and the number of passing yards he produces. The over/under is set at 316.5 yards passing.
Take the under here for two primary reasons.
The first is the Patriots defense we mentioned earlier. New England is rated first in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus and allowed an average of just 237.9 yards passing per game during the regular season. We're not sure Ryan would pass for more than 300 yards, even if the Falcons' game plan was simply to air the ball out.
This brings us to our second reason: We don't believe the Falcons will sell out with the pass on offense. In a plan similar to what we expect the Patriots to install, Atlanta should give a lot of work to running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
Leaning on the ground game will allow the Falcons to have options offensively while keeping Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the sideline.