Super Bowl favorites have struggled to live up to expectations in recent years and we delve into why the underdog Falcons is a bet you’d be wise to consider.
The Curse of Super Bowl Favorites
The New England Patriots are listed as three-point favorites to win Super Bowl LI. Understandable. After all, the Patriots are appearing in their record ninth Super Bowl.
Tom Brady is going for his record fifth win as a Super Bowl starting quarterback, looking to break the record he shares with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. Brady will also be seeking his fourth Super Bowl MVP award, which would shatter the mark he currently shares with Montana.
The Patriots have lost one game since Brady returned to the field from his four-game NFL suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal.
Sure, there’s a lot to like about the Patriots. There’s only one tiny, little issue.
Favorites just haven’t been winning the Super Bowl lately.
You have to go all the way back to Super Bowl XLV, when the three-point favorite Green Bay Packers downed the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, to find a Super Bowl where the favored team carried the day.
Five straight underdogs have come out on top on Super Bowl Sunday. Two of the last 15 Super Bowls have been won by the underdog.
Curiously enough, that streak began with Super Bowl XXXVI, when the Patriots, 14-point underdogs against the St. Louis Rams, beat the Rams 20-17 on Adam Vinatieri’s last-second field goal.
Luck often hasn’t been on New England’s, or the bettor’s side, when the Patriots arrive at the Super Bowl as the betting line favorites.
The Patriots were a prohibitive 12-point choice to overcome the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII but the Giants won 17-14, which was one of the biggest upsets in the game’s history. Four years later in Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots were 2.5-point picks over the Giants but lost 21-17.
Twice the Patriots have won the Super Bowl straight up as seven-point favorites, but they failed to cover the spread on both occasions.
The Brady/Bill Belichick-led Patriots have thrived when going into the Super Bowl as underdogs. Besides their win over the Rams, they defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks 28-24 as a +1 underdog in Super Bowl XLIX.
Which brings us to this year’s underdog, the Atlanta Falcons. A dynamic offense led by NFL MVP favorite Matt Ryan has averaged 33 points per game while turning the ball over only 11 times.
Atlanta is 6-0 straight up and 5-1 against the spread in the last six games, putting up an average of 39 points per game during that span.
The big question is whether the Falcons can continue the underdog’s success in recent Super Bowls and prolong New England’s misery as Super Bowl favorites.
Picking the Falcons to lose by less than three points is an attractive bet you’d be wise to consider.