Super Bowl oddsmakers are pulling for the Atlanta Falcons to win the big game over the New England Patriots, as preseason action was limited on the NFC Champions.
Sportsbooks in Nevada say wagering on Atlanta prior to the first kickoff of the year was extremely minimal. According to various reports, the dismal Cleveland Browns even received more bets to win Super Bowl LI last summer than the Falcons.
Listed as long as 40-1 in August, few fans took the Falcons to reach this weekend’s championship in Houston, Texas. After losing their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, those odds become even worse.
However, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, the Dirty Birds would go on to win their next four and 11 of 15. They captured the NFC South title, and advanced to Super Bowl LI by eliminating the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in the NFL Playoffs.
The Patriots, a team that’s reached the Super Bowl seven times since 2001, expectedly received its fair share of preseason title wagers. Vegas wants to reduce the amount of season-long bets it has to pay out on, which is why oddsmakers will be rooting for the Falcons.
“We’d actually do better on the Falcons than the Patriots,” CG Technology sportsbook director Jason Simbal told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “In fact, before the season started, they were the second-least bet team.”
The line on Super Bowl LI in Vegas is New England giving Atlanta three points on the spread. Straight bets at the Westgate SuperBook are currently selling at -155 on the Patriots, and +135 on the Falcons.
Year of Underdog
Super Bowl oddsmakers are hoping 2017 gets off on the same foot that 2016 ended on. Over the past 12 months, Cleveland won its first major professional sports title in 52 years, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908, and Leicester City overcame 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League championship.
Atlanta’s three major sports franchises, the Falcons, MLB Braves, and NBA Hawks, have one combined title. The Braves won the World Series in 1995, but the city hasn’t welcomed a championship parade since.
Ryan’s high-powered offense is hoping to end that drought, but he’ll need to overcome perhaps the best quarterback to ever play the position.
Betting Against Brady
The Patriots were the preseason Super Bowl favorite in Nevada, and remained the golden child throughout 2016. With a record of 16-2, it’s hard to go against New England and legendary coach Bill Belichick.
Like the oddsmakers, the few who took the Falcons last August are positioned for huge wins if Atlanta can pull off the upset.
Simbal revealed his company took a $5,000 bet on the birds at 40-1 odds. That would give the risk-taker a cool $200,000 should Ryan win his first ring this Sunday.
Super Bowl LI kicks off at 6:30 pm ET this Sunday.