Super Bowl LI Guide
posted Feb 05 2017, 12:00PM
story by Risky Picks
posted in NFL, Betting

 The point-spread rarely comes into play with the Super Bowl, meaning you just have to pick the winner of the game. There have only been six instances where the favorite won the game straight up but failed to cover the number. Those outcomes occurred in 2009, 2005, 2004, 1996, 1989 and 1976.


New England Patriots (14-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)


NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

Sunday, February 5 - 6:30pm ET


Betting Notes

Matt Ryan last six games — 18 TDs, 0 INTs

The Falcons are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games in the playoffs as underdog

Tom Brady career numbers vs Falcons — nine TDs, one INT, 115.7 QB rating

The Falcons have covered the point spread in five of their last six games overall.

The Patriots have covered the point spread by an average of 9.4 points per game this season.

The quarterback with the higher 2016 regular season passer rating has gone 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS in the playoffs. 

Matt Ryan finished ranked first in passer rating (117.1), Tom Brady finished second (112.2). 

The Falcons are 6-2 ATS over their last eight games against teams with a winning record.

According to our good friend Marc Lawrence of, when a team scores 40 or more points in a playoff game, that same team is a shocking 11-18 straight up and 4-24-1 ATS in their next outing. Take note that the Atlanta Falcons scored 44 points in their NFC Championship round victory over the Green Bay Packers.

The Patriots are 16-4-1 ATS over their last 21 games after permitting fewer than 90 rushing yards in their previous game

Turf Play 

The home of the Houston Texans, NRG Stadium features an artificial playing surface known as UBU Sports Speed Series S5-M Synthetic Turf. Both the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons play their respective home games on artificial surfaces.

In 13 games played on an artificial surface this season, the Patriots went 11-2 SU and 10-3 ATS while scoring an average of 29.2 points per contest. In those 13 matchups, the over was 7-6. At home, New England was 8-2 SU and 8-2 ATS while scoring an average of 28.4 points per game (Over: 6-4). Playing on an artificial surface away from Gillette Stadium, the Patriots went 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS while scoring an average of 32.0 points per contest (Under: 2-1).

In 12 games played on an artificial surface this season, the Falcons went 8-4 SU and 7-5 ATS while scoring an average of 35.7 points per contest. In those 12 matchups, the over was a perfect 12-0. At home, Atlanta was 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS while scoring an average of 36.0 points per game (Over: 10-0). Playing on an artificial surface away from the Georgia Dome, the Falcons went 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS while scoring an average of 34.5 points per contest (Over: 2-0).

Spread Watch

In the six Super Bowls that the Patriots have played under head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the average margin of victory was a minuscule 3.3 points, with no matchup being decided by more than four points. In order, here are the scoring differentials for New England’s last six Super Bowl appearances: 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4.


In the previous 50 Super Bowls, “tails” holds the edge over “heads” by a 26-24 margin. “Tails” has come up in each of the last three Super Bowls.

The NFC representative in the Super Bowl has won 17 of the last 19 coin flips. Carolina won the coin toss last year, but went on to lose the game against Denver 24-10.

In the six Super Bowls New England has played under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Patriots have won the coin toss exactly one time, which came in 2012 when New England fell 21-17 to the New York Giants in Indianapolis.

Score First

The team to record the first score in the Super Bowl has gone on to win the game 34 times (34-16, 68%), which includes each of the last six Super Bowls.

PROP: Will the team that scores first win the game: YES -175, NO +155.

The Falcons are a rock-solid 9-1 this season when scoring first, but are 4-4 when failing to score first.

Dog Fight

The underdog has covered the point spread in an impressive 13 of the last 16 Super Bowls. Additionally, the dog has won outright in five straight and eight of the last nine Super Bowls.

History says "Defense!" 

Super Bowl 51 will mark the eighth time in history in which the No. 1 scoring offense (Atlanta) will face the No. 1 scoring defense (New England) for the right to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. In the previous seven instances in which the No. 1 scoring offense faced the No. 1 scoring defense in the Super Bowl, the No. 1 scoring defense has posted a record of 6-1 straight up and 6-1 against the spread.

Super Bowl 51 will mark the ninth consecutive year in which the NFL’s biggest game closed with a point spread of seven points or less. 2017 is expected to mark the 14th time in the last 15 years in which the closing number was seven points or less. The outlier of the group? Well, that would be the New England Patriots, who closed as 12-point favorites in 2008 against the New York Giants. 


The OVER is a staggering 15-2-1 in the 18 games played by the Atlanta Falcons this season (10-0 home, 5-2-1 road).

The highest closing total in Super Bowl history is 56.5 points, which came back in February of 2010 when the New Orleans Saints took on the Indianapolis Colts (the under cashed with a 31-17 Saints victory). At the moment, Super Bowl 51 features a total ranging from 58 points to 58.5 points, depending upon the sportsbook.

Of the 50 previous Super Bowls to be played, only two (Patriots-Giants in 2008 and Saints-Colts in 2010) featured a closing total of 55 or more points. In both instances, the under cashed. In addition, just nine of the previous 50 Super Bowls have featured a closing total of 50 or more points. In those nine games, the under is 6-3.


17-year officiating veteran Carl Cheffers has been tapped as the head referee for Super Bowl 51. This will be Cheffers’ first Super Bowl assignment as a referee. Cheffers didn’t officiate a single game this season that featured either the New England Patriots or Atlanta Falcons.

Cheffers - "The last thing the NFL wants is for its biggest game of the season, watched by millions around the world, to turn into a ref show complete with a plethora of yellow flags. So don’t be surprised if this officiating crew allows the Falcons and Patriots, especially on defense, to get away with an increased level of physical play. Over the last ten Super Bowls, the average number of total penalties enforced per game is 11.9. During the 2016 regular season alone, the average number of penalties enforced was 13.46. Cheffers already calls fewer penalties per game than the average ref, so the Patriots could have an edge here as they attempt to get very physical with superstar receiver Julio Jones."

The Roof

NFL is requesting that the retractable roof at NRG Stadium in Houston remain open for Super Bowl 51. However, the final decision will be made on Super Bowl Sunday based on the weather. For those of you who are curious, it takes approximately ten minutes to close the roof at NRG Stadium. As of the time of this writing, Sunday’s forecast in Houston calls for a high of 79 degrees and a low of 62 degrees with a 20 percent chance of precipitation.

Quarter Scoring
The Patriots have put points on the board in an astounding 31 consecutive quarters of football. For those of you scoring at home, the last time New England was blanked in a quarter occurred back on November 27 in New York against the Jets (first quarter). That’s a scoring streak that wound up one quarter shy of eight full games!

Some Props

The Super Bowl MVP was awarded to a quarterback 27 times, a wide receiver 6 times, a running back 6 times, a linebacker 3 times, a defensive lineman 3 times, a cornerback twice and a safety, fullback and specialist once apiece.

Through 50 Super Bowls, the first score of the game breaks down as follows: Touchdown 24 times, field goal 23 times, safety three times.

PROP: First score of the game will be: Touchdown -190, Any other score +170.

The Super Bowl has never gone into overtime.

PROP: Will there be overtime: Yes +700, No -1100.

Over/Under on length of time it takes Luke Bryan to sing the National Anthem: 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

- Be advised that when Bryan sung the National Anthem at the 2012 MLB All-Star game, he was clocked at 1 minute, 59 seconds.

- Last ten Super Bowl National Anthems have played out:
Super Bowl 41: Billy Joel at 1:30
Super Bowl 42: Jordin Sparks at 1:54
Super Bowl 43: Jennifer Hudson at 2:10
Super Bowl 44: Carrie Underwood at 1:47
Super Bowl 45: Christina Aguilera at 1:54
Super Bowl 46: Kelly Clarkson at 1:34
Super Bowl 47: Alicia Keys at 2:35
Super Bowl 48: Renee Fleming at 1:54
Super Bowl 49: Idina Menzel at 2:04
Super Bowl 50: Lady Gaga at 2:09 (somewhat controversial)


Betting Recommendations 

Play the longest completion by Tom Brady: Over/Under 39.5 yards (both options -110).

Play the OVER on total receptions recorded by Taylor Gabriel (O/U 3.0, Over -120, Under EVEN).

More Props

During the 2016 regular season, the New England Patriots defense surrendered a grand total of just six rushing touchdowns (fewest in NFL). Through two playoff games, this same defense surrendered only one rushing touchdown (vs. Pittsburgh).

 PROP: Will the Falcons score a rushing touchdown? Yes -230, No +195.

In the Super Bowl’s 50-year history, only six games (12 percent) have been decided by exactly three points. However, take note that five of those matchups have occurred since 2002 when Tom Brady and the Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI.

PROP: Will the Super Bowl be decided by exactly three points: Yes +425, No -550.


Nielsen Rating 

Super Bowl 50 (Broncos-Panthers): 46.6
Super Bowl 49 (Patriots-Seahawks): 47.5
Super Bowl 48 (Seahawks-Broncos): 46.7
Super Bowl 47 (Ravens-49ers): 46.3
Super Bowl 46 (Giants-Patriots): 47
Super Bowl 45 (Packers-Steelers): 46
Super Bowl 44 (Saints-Colts): 45
Super Bowl 43 (Steelers-Cardinals): 42
Super Bowl 42 (Giants-Patriots): 43.1
Super Bowl 41 (Colts-Bears): 42.6



Risky Picks
Heavy interest on daring parlay bets with (straight up, spread and o/u) my beer money. Follow My picks daily to see if I achieve gambling alcoholism. ...

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