February 5, 2017
There is one pick on Sunday.
Take New England Patriots -3 spread against Atlanta Falcons for 3% of the bankroll.
This year's Superbowl has all of the makings of a classic matchup between two high powered offenses. The Atlanta Falcons surprised many this season as Matt Ryan is a legitimate MVP candidate and was the catalyst on the way to propel his offense to the number one scoring offense in the league. It was an amazing turnaround for a couple of disappointing seasons, however all of the credit cannot simply fall on the shoulder of Ryan, as the Falcons have an extremely balanced offense in both the running game with Devontae Freeman and Tevin Coleman and also in the passing game with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Balance has been what has brought the Falcons to the promised land this season.
Meanwhile, the New England Patriots seem to be perennial contenders in Championship games and there is not a lot of speculation why. The Patriots have arguably the best QB / Coach duo that the league has ever seen in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick! These two have played worked together side by side for nearly two decades and have developed an in-game chemistry that is surely hard to match. Brady seems to only get better with age and is arguably playing some of the best football of his career. Like their counterparts, the Patriots have been getting things done with a ton of balance. Their running game is one of the most diverse in the league, whether using powerback LeGarrette Blount, scat-back Dion Lewis or receiving back James White, the Patriots have become masters at mixing up game plans and identifying mismatches on the field.
While these two teams are similar in offense, there is a major discrepancy in how both of these teams play defense. Atlanta was the 4th worst defense in the league this past season. Only the Jets, Chargers and Saints were worst. Their inability on the defensive end may not have been as noticeable since their offense was simply lighting up the scoreboard, however we expect that it will play a role in this final matchup of the season. While Atlanta was struggling, what many may not realize is that that the Patriots had the number 1 scoring defense in the league this season, holding their opponent to just 15.6 points per game. They also held the #3 rushing defense, allowing opposing offense to gain just an average of 84 yards per game on the ground. It's this type of defense is what is likely going to be the difference in this matchup.
Bill Belichick has been known as a master of game plans for several years. His focus has always been to take away an opponent’s best player and force others to step up on the team and make plays. We expect Julio Jones to be their primary target and we would agree. Jones is a game-changer! We saw what the Patriots were able to do with Antonio Brown in the Conference Championship game and we expect them to roll out a similar game plan for Jones. The Patriots have been solid against the run and if they can contain Freeman and Coleman, as well as limit Jones in the passing game, players like Sanu and Gabriel are going to have to step up big time for ATL to win this game. We simply believe their inexperience on the big stage and inability to adapt in-game on defense is going to cost them in this matchup.
For a number of years, the Patriots have been a team that has survived and prevailed because of their offensive ability. That is the reason they have won as many conference championships and Superbowls as they have. They have never been a team that has had the luxury of having a solid defense, until now. The Patriots are the more experienced, more polished, better coached and have a better defense. Atlanta is the trendy pick as, let’s face it, a lot of people are rooting against the Patriots because of their success and want to see a more starved franchise like the Falcons win it all. While it certainly would be a feel-good story to have the Falcons topple the perennial 'Giants' of the league, it's simply not a practical bet. When it comes to the biggest game of the year, where the pressure is at its highest, experience is a huge factor and gives the Pats who've been there and done that a distinct edge! The Patriots have decided advantages in nearly every facet of the game. This will likely be an entertaining game for fans around the world, the Patriots are the clear-cut favorites and should win this game by more than a field goal.
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