The Patriots are no strangers to being the favorite in the Super Bowl—they’ve been given the edge four of the last five times they appeared in the big game. This year, they've opened as a three-point favorite in Super Bowl LI against the NFC champion Falcons at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Atlanta will try to become the sixth consecutive Super Bowl underdog to win outright.
New England’s last Super Bowl win two years ago actually came as a one-point underdog. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28–24 in Super Bowl XLIX, the only time they have covered the spread in their past five Super Bowl appearances.
Every game quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have teamed up for with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the line have been decided by four points or less, with four of them decided by exactly three points.
What does that mean? Well, bettors should probably expect another close matchup between the team with the top scoring offense in the Falcons versus the team with the top scoring defense in the Patriots.
Whether or not that will also translate to the highest-scoring Super Bowl of all-time as oddsmakers expect with the highest over/under total ever remains to be seen, although New England has the offense to match Atlanta.
The two best offensive coordinators in the league certainly will be tested, but each of them figures to find some advantages facing defenses with a few holes. Kyle Shanahan of the Falcons is expected to be the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers next season, (a job that Patriots OC Josh McDaniels removed himself from consideration for) and Shanahan will sorely miss NFL MVP favorite Matt Ryan when he gets to the Bay.
Ryan is expected to attempt to become the first regular-season MVP to win the Super Bowl the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999, something not even Brady has done. However, Brady will be looking to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls.