Giant killing isn’t a new phenomenon
Jack famously did it with a little help from a beanstalk, while few fight fans gave David a prayer when he squared up to Goliath in the biggest mismatch in Biblical history. However, size isn’t everything and our plucky underdogs both eventually came out on top.
Victory for the Falcons over the Patriots in Houston’s NRG Stadium this Sunday would rival either victory in terms of shock value.
New England are American Football royalty
The AFC champions will be making their ninth Super Bowl appearance this weekend – no team has made more – and with four wins in the last 16 years, Bill Belichick’s side have been the dominant force of the 21st century.
Atlanta in contrast have never been crowned champions, while their only previous Super Bowl outing back in 1999 ended in defeat to the Broncos.
The Patriots, then, have the pedigree and also the edge when it comes to recent form. Their 14-2 record in the regular season was the best in the NFL while Dan Quinn’s Falcons were beaten five times en route to the NFC Championship.
As a result, New England are clear favourites in Houston at 13/20 to claim a fifth crown while Atlanta are 27/20 to break their Super Bowl duck. A Patriots victory by seven to 12 points is priced at 5/1 while a seemingly unlikely Falcons’ success by the same margin is 23/4.
Immovable object vs Blount force
The race to register the first touchdown on Sunday is a tight one. Running back LeGarrette Blount top scored for the Patriots with 18 in the regular season and is 8/1 to be the first to unlock the Atlanta defence, but you can get the same price on his opposite number Devonta Freeman after his 11 six-pointers for the Falcons.
The battle between the two quarterbacks should be an epic one and there’s nothing to choose between the Patriots’ veteran Tom Brady, aiming for his fifth Super Bowl ring and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, a four-time Pro Bowl pick.
Both playmakers are 9/10 to throw over 320.5 yards in the NRG Stadium this weekend and the pair are also deadlocked at 9/10 to make 25.5 or more completed passes. Ryan however just edges it to have the most overall passing yards, priced at 3/4 to edge out his older rival Brady who is 19/20.
The sack race
The quarterbacks will be in the crosshairs of the opposing defence and Falcons’ linebacker Vic Beasley is the red hot favourite to make the first sack of the game at 3/1. The shortest priced Patriot in the betting is defensive end Chris Long at 5/1.
The Super Bowl’s coveted Most Valuable Player award is the one they all want and after winning in 2002, 2004 and 2105, Brady could make history by becoming the first man to collect the gong for a fourth time. Brady is currently tied with the legendary Joe Montana on three and is priced at 9/10 to rewrite the record books.
Only one player has ever been named MVP after finishing on the losing side in the 50-year history of the Super Bowl. That was Cowboys’ linebacker Chuck Howley back in 1971 and you can get a tempting 33/1 on a repeat performance this Sunday.
Kick off for Super Bowl LI is at 23:30 GMT, and you can catch every pass, rush and touchdown at any of our 53 local casinos in the UK.