This Sunday, 5th February, the National Football League (NFL) will hold its 51st championship, Super Bowl LI, between the AFC's New England Patriots and the NFC's Atlanta Falcons. Each year in the early parts of February the Super Bowl engulfs American society as well as a huge portion of the international betting community.
The annual super-event touts over 100 millions viewers each year in the States alone, while taking in billions in wagers from around the world. The broadcast seems to set the TV ratings record every year as more and more interest around the game sky-rockets. In 2015, a company paid a record $4.5 million for a 30-second spot during half time of the game!
But what does all this popularity, viewership and coverage of Super Bowls mean for punters across the globe looking to make some money off this betting opportunity? It means Super Bowl LI betting markets (including the Super Bowl LI Props Bets) are seemingly limitless, with dozens of markets offered through topnotch bookmakers.
And most would agree, a robust betting market selection can equate to a wealth of betting opportunities to take advantage of, but with so many opportunities to win money, where do punters start? Fortunately, for those interested in placing some wagers on the big game, we've complied all the most lucrative betting opportunities for Super Bowl LI and where to find them!
To most of the world, betting outright is the most popular market offered for sporting events. Predicting, straight-up, who will win an event has long been the one of the staples of gambling but in the States, even some of the most avid punters would give a confused look when asked about outright betting; but why?
Well that's because in the US, punters call outright betting "betting the Money Line". Taking a look at the Money Line odds for Super Bowl LI, punters will notice most of the prominent online bookmakers are backing the New England Patriots despite Atlanta touting the expected NFL MVP in QB Matt Ryan.
Disregarding the pedigree of each franchise in the Super Bowl (Patriots having been 7 times, winning 4, while Atlanta has been only once, with no wins), why aren't the Falcons receiving more respect? After such a successful offensive season, why does it seem the bookmakers are taking New England's defensive prowess over Atlanta's offensive weapons?
The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFL in one of the most coveted statistical categories, 'Offensive Scoring', putting up 540 points or a little under 34 ppg. To put that into perspective, the next closest team, the New Orleans Saints, scored just under 470 points, almost 80 points less than the Falcons. That's pretty drastic considering the systems in place to ensure parody among the league.
But Atlanta and their high-flying offense lead by Ryan and his band of offensive weapons aren't the only squad in the game to find themselves atop a coveted statistical category; the New England Patriots defensive unit, led by head coach and defensive guru Bill Belichick, allowed the fewest points in the NFL this season (250 points allowed or 15.6 ppg).
So when considering which team to pick to win Super Bowl LI outright, do punters back the unpredictable offensive juggernaut or the steady defensive unit? Well, the convention among most NFL punters is this: defense wins championships; and the stats from the last five Super Bowl match-ups seem to agree.
Of the last 5 Super Bowl losers, 3 (including last year's losers, the Carolina Panthers) have finished in the top 2 in total offensive scoring. Of the last 5 Super Bowl winners, only one finished above #10 in offensive scoring (the 2012 winners, the Green Bay Packers, were 1st in scoring) with the 2 out of the last 3 winners finishing outside the top 15 in offensive scoring.
Considering all the statistics from the past 5 Super Bowls, it would seem defense certainly does win championships. But this year's Super Bowl LI should be the real test for this theory, though, as the league's #1 scoring offense looks to put up points on the NFL's defensive scoring leaders, hoping to put the idea of defensive superiority to rest!
It would seem the most popular online bookmakers are all-in on the 'defense win championships' mantra, with almost all major bookies backing the Patriots and their #1 scoring D over the Falcons and their high-flying offense but does that mean the punters should be looking for the best odds on New England? Some would say yes, so let's look at those first:
Paddy Power, one of the largest names in Irish bookmaking, is offering New England to win outright at 20/31, slightly lower than their UK-competitor, Ladbrokes, offering the Patriots to win outright at 4/6. NetBet agrees with Paddy Power on the Pats chances, offering New England to win outright at 20/31. So if you believe New England is destined to hold up the Lombardi Trophy this weekend, we'd suggest checking out one of the following bets.
But, backing New England outright might not be the best outright bet on the market. Atlanta's odds might suggest the bookies have no faith but backing the underdog in Super Bowl LI might be your best bet. If Atlanta can mimic the 2012 Green Bay Packers and their #1 offense by winning on Sunday, punters have a chance to bring home almost twice the winnings.
Considering Atlanta has taken down some formidable foes, dominated almost every defense it has played and put up numbers on pace to win their QB the MVP, those odds are pretty enticing. As of writing, Paddy Power was offering the Falcons to win outright at 13/10, while Ladbrokes agreed offering the same odds. NetBet is offering slightly lower odds of 5/4, so we'd suggest taking the odds from Ladbrokes or Paddy Power.
Individual stats are a huge part of the online betting industry; in the States they calls these odds 'Player Props'. Ladbrokes offers a massive selection of Player Prop Bets for Super Bowl LI but only a select few are worth a punt considering they all carry the same odds yet obviously do not carry the exact same chances of happening in reality. The following are the top Player Props available for Super Bowl LI:
Ladbrokes has placed the 'Over/Under' on Matt Ryan pass attempts at 38.5. Considering the NFL's move towards a pass-happy league as well as the Falcon's ability to put up points, some might assume the 'Over' here would be a solid bet but further review of stats show Ryan has only attempted more than 38 passes in 2 games this season meaning we suggest players take the 'Under' bet here!
Ladbrokes has placed the 'Over/Under' on Matt Ryan pass completions at 25.5. Despite Ryan rarely attempting more than 38 pass attempts, the Falcon's QB has completed more than 25 passes in 10 of 16 games including the last 4. These stats would seem to suggest Ryan is poised to complete more than 25 attempts so we suggest backing the 'Over' here!
Ladbrokes has placed the 'Over/Under' on Chris Hogan receiving yards at 55.5. Chris Hogan, once a cast-off in the NFL, has burst onto the scene as of late in New England. In his last two games the former Lacrosse star turned football pro has been targeted 16 times, hauling in 13 of those for 275 yards and 2 TDs. Those numbers lack in comparison to his previous 15 games but ignoring a hot-hand in any sport can certainly cause punter's remorse. Thanks to his rising stardom and Brady's recent propensity to target Hogan, we suggest backing the 'Over' here!
Ladbrokes has placed the 'Over/Under' on LeGarrette Blount rushing attempts at 14.5. Blount, similar to Hogan (for differing reasons) was once an NFL outcast following some off the field issues but has resurrected his career in New England. It comes as a bit of surprise Ladbrokes is offering a 14.5 Over/Under on rush attempts considering Blount has only come under that mark 4 times this season. Our experts would suggest taking the 'Over' here considering his relatively-heavy workload all year!
Ladbrokes has placed the 'Over/Under' on Tom Brady rush yards at 3.5. When evaluating Tom Brady, few find themselves looking at his rushing prowess let alone considering it for a punt but some deeper statistical analysis might suggest this bet worth taking. Considering Brady has only rush for more 3.5 yards 1 out of the last 8 games with 6 of those games ending with 0 or less yards for the Pats' QB, we suggest backing the 'Under' here!
The above sections layout some of the most advantageous wagers available for punters looking to capitalise on Super Bowl LI betting but not all of these fall into the category of the event's 'best' bets. The following bets are considered the best bets of Super Bowl LI, regardless of the format of the wager (outright bet or player prop, etc):
The New England Patriots have yet to defeat a fully-healthy, premier QB in the NFL this season. Their defensive success has come on the backs of back-ups and less-than-100% starters. USA Today even made a list of the all the low-quality QB's New England has faced in 2016. Atlanta's QB, Matt Ryan, has dominated the air this season and is favorite to win the NFL MVP. Taking all this into consideration, we believe backing Atlanta outright at 13/10 with Ladbrokes is the one of the best bets of Super Bowl LI!
The Play Prop bet regarding Tom Brady's total rush yards in the game is a great opportunity to make some money without much risk (if you believe the statistical trends). Brady has only rushed for more than 3.5 yards once in the last 8 games with 6 of those games ending with Brady rushing for 0 or less total yards. Considering Brady's lack of running prowess and Atlanta's ability to get after the QB (negative sack yards count towards QB total rush yards), we believe backing Brady to rush for under 3.5 total yards at 17/10 odds with Ladbrokes is one of the best bets available for Super Bowl LI!
Blount has had a propensity for grabbing headlines throughout his career for all the wrong reasons but this season he caught the attention of the media for his play on the field, which has been topnotch for New England. As the premier starter at running back for the Patriots offense, Blount has only received less than 14 rushing attempts in 4 out of 16 total games played which means we highly suggest backing Blount to get over 14.5 carries at 17/10 with Ladbrokes, one of the best bets we found for Super Bowl LI!
Betting on the NFL's Super Bowl can be an exciting way to win some money and embrace the American's "football". Despite some punter's inexperience with American football betting, sticking to the advice in this ultimate betting preview for Super Bowl LI should help punters ensure they walk away from the super event with a solid bankroll. To find all the latest odds on Super Bowl LI, head over to Ladbrokes today!