Some years, the Super Bowl is just about football, but this year, the Super Bowl 51 odds are about dynasty versus destiny. Let’s take a look at the two teams in the running in this historic matchup of one great dynasty and one unstoppable destiny, and the greatest quarterback matchup in NFL history.
The New England Patriots Dynasty
It has spanned 16 seasons and has included 16 straight winning seasons, 14 division titles, 11 showings in the AFC Championship Game, now seven trips to the Super Bowl and four Lombardi Trophies. No team – not the 90s Cowboys nor the 70s Steelers – have done anything of the sorts and been this good for this long.
The Atlanta Falcons Destiny
They’ve never been thought of as the best team in the NFC this year, and even when they were favored by nearly a full touchdown in two playoff games, they were always expected to ultimately be beaten by teams that ended up being incredibly inferior in the end.
Their old stadium is now a thing of the past, and it almost feels like destiny now that a team that has only reached this precipice one time in its history and has never ultimately held that Lombardi Trophy, could have its first act in its new stadium be the raising of the franchise’s first Super Bowl banner.
This is what is on display and is on the line in Super Bowl 51 in Houston.
The Most Anticipated Quarterback Matchup in Super Bowl History
In one corner, we have Matt Ryan. He’s likely to win the MVP award this year after throwing for 4,944 yards and 38 TDs with just seven picks on 534 throws. All he’s done in two postseason games is throw for 730 yards and seven TDs, averaging just under 10 yards per pass attempt, and he hasn’t been intercepted.
In the other corner, we have Tom Brady. He’s a surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s tied with the great Joe Montana for the most Super Bowl MVP awards, and he’s level with another of the greats, Terry Bradshaw with four Super Bowl rings. One more excellent game in this one could cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL.
Brady didn’t play in the first four games of this season due to his suspension over Deflategate, and he still threw for 3,554 yards and 28 TDs, numbers that would have been prorated to 4,738 yards and 37 scores in a full season.
Let’s Compare Their Game
There’s inevitably going to be a lot of talk in football betting about the matchup between the top offense and the top defense in the NFL. New England’s defense held teams to just 15.6 points per game this year, while Atlanta’s offense had its best season ever, averaging 33.8 points per game to pace the NFL.
The Falcons have scored at least 33 points in every single game they’ve played since December 4, and the last time they didn’t score 28 against a foe was on November 13. Since the team’s last loss to the Chiefs, Matty Ice has thrown for 18 TDs and not a single interception.
However, the Patriots have allowed 3, 3, 14, 16 and 17 in their last five games, and only one has scored more than 25 against this defense all season long. In fact, just three teams have eclipsed 17 since Brady’s return from suspension, Buffalo, Seattle and Baltimore.
But let’s not discount the New England offense or the Atlanta defense either. The Patriots have scored at least 34 points in four straight games dating back to Christmas Eve when they locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The Falcons might have allowed 20 and 21 in their two playoff games, but it’s worth remembering that most of those points have come with teams playing catch-up. In the first halves of their two postseason games, they’ve allowed a total of just 10 points to two pretty darn good quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers.
Patriots vs Falcons Super Bowl 51 Odds
What all of this adds up to is a pretty darn good game with a very tight NFL betting line to boot. The Patriots have opened up at -3 at Bookmaker.eu, while the total, if it closes at least this high, will be the highest in the history of the Super Bowl at 58.5.
Check out the latest Super Bowl LI odds on our NFL Odds Comparison page.