In looking for betting value during Super Bowl week, the player and team props are normally where people start to look. With the highest total ever for a Super Bowl, these props take on additional interest this year. There are so many options to consider and so many different lines and vigs, so it’s important to shop around for the best price and find the bets that make the most sense.
We’ve already taken a look at some intriguing Super Bowl LI game props and have also looked at the player props for the New England Patriots. The Patriots have been here before, so bettors may feel a little bit more comfortable playing things on that side, but what about the Falcons? Atlanta had one of the best offenses in NFL history and has one of the best play designers in Kyle Shanahan. That adds a lot of intrigue to this Super Bowl.
For the purposes of this exercise, we will compare at three sportsbooks – BetDSI, 5Dimes, and BetOnline. There are obviously a lot of other sportsbooks out there, but this represents a good variety and a large enough sample size of books to get the point across that shopping around is the best way to go about the game. All three lines will be given, if available, for those specific prop bets.
Let’s take a look at what’s out there for the Atlanta Falcons:
Matt Ryan to Win MVP
Let’s face it. If the Atlanta Falcons are going to win the Super Bowl, it’s going to be because of the right arm of Matt Ryan. Anything that Julio Jones does will be facilitated by Matt Ryan, which is why quarterbacks have won seven of the last 10 Super Bowl MVP awards and two of the three non-quarterback winners were defensive players.
That price at 5Dimes looks pretty good. When you consider that you can play Atlanta +130 on the money line, but get Matt Ryan +200 to win the MVP, that’s an exceptional price. Betting the MVP is often an alternative way to bet the money line. Because of how often a quarterback wins, it’s a pretty sound investment strategy. Ryan has thrived with Kyle Shanahan this season and has one more chance to take the field with an elite offensive coordinator. You can bet that he’ll be ready after two weeks off.
Devonta Freeman Yards
DSI: 35.5 receiving (+120/-140); 53.5 (-115/-115)
BOL: 33.5 receiving (-130/100); 55.5 rushing (+110/-140)
It’s interesting to see the yardage totals juiced to the under for Devonta Freeman. My guess is that Kyle Shanahan sees Devonta Freeman as a mismatch. The Patriots allowed 101 receptions to running backs this season. Malcolm Butler will be on Julio Jones and the Patriots have enough depth to put on Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu. Freeman caught 54 of his 65 targets during the season and was also a 1,000-yard rusher. Freeman has had 18 touches in each of his first two playoff games and he seems to have put those regular season injuries in the rearview mirror.
If Freeman gets 18 touches in this game, it’s hard to see him falling short of any of these options. The Patriots allowed 4.6 yards per touch to running backs this season, which would only be about 83 yards, but the Patriots have faced a lot of weak offenses this season. Atlanta has a terrific offensive line and a wide receiver that can really open up the field in Julio Jones.
Honestly, as far as I’m concerned, if you wanted to roll the dice on Devonta Freeman for MVP at +2956 at DSI or +3300 at 5Dimes, I don’t think it’s a bad play. You have to go back to Terrell Davis in Super Bowl XXXII to find a running back that won the MVP, but Freeman’s versatility is huge in a game like this. It’s all about making smart decisions with the football and varying up the offense. Freeman is a great fit in that regard.
We know that Bill Belichick’s teams do an exceptional job of taking away focal points, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that focal point was more about Julio Jones than Devonta Freeman.
Julio Jones Receiving Yards
DSI: 98.5 (105/-135)
5D: 98.5 (100/-120)
BOL: 95.5 (110/-140)
We all want to see the best players shine on the biggest stage, but I really don’t know if we’re going to get that with Julio Jones in the Super Bowl. Matt Patricia and the defensive staff of the Patriots are really good at taking away the other team’s best player. Antonio Brown had seven catches for 77 yards in the AFC Championship Game. That was even with Le’Veon Bell dinged up most of the night. Malcolm Butler does a lot of special things and he’ll certainly get some help on his side of the field. It wouldn’t be surprising to see New England drop some linebacker spies to prevent Jones from getting physical leverage on the inside on slant routes.
It seems like the betting markets are in agreement with regards to Jones and his production. The Falcons are going to get big games from other people. Jones is an elite talent and has big game possibilities for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Kyle Shanahan was planning his aerial attack around Jones being more of a decoy than a primary option. Going under the receiving yards total seems like the smart play here. Hence why loading up on Freeman isn’t a bad idea.
Will Atlanta make a fourth-down conversion?
Remember, it’s always best to shop around for the best prices. In a game like this, where possessions are going to be extremely important, I’d have to think that Atlanta goes for at least a couple of fourth down tries. They have the services of one of the best offensive coordinators in the game and giving the ball back to Tom Brady is not a real great idea.
Surprisingly, Atlanta was only 22nd in fourth down attempts per game this season with 0.8, but things change a little bit in the Super Bowl. The Falcons have a tremendous punter that they have relied on, but the Falcons should find success with both running backs and that could encourage some aggressiveness later in the game. When Atlanta did go for it, the Falcons were ninth at 57.1 percent.
Total number of players with rushing attempts
DSI: 3.5 (-115/-115)
5D: 3.5 (-115/-105)
BOL: 3.5 (-135/105)
Devonta Freeman. Tevin Coleman. Matt Ryan. Terron Ward hasn’t had a carry in either of the two playoff games. Taylor Gabriel had one try against Green Bay, but that probably won’t happen again. Matt Ryan will try to stay in the pocket as much as possible. Now, the problem with this prop bet is that the Falcons taking a knee to end the game will count as a rushing attempt, so if somebody does happen to get the ball in that capacity on a jet/fly sweep, that would be a problem.
Kyle Shanahan is creative and may want to give New England a different look, but I don’t think he’ll do it like this. Maybe there will be something like Tevin Coleman in the slot with Devonta Freeman in the backfield to give a unique look, but that would be about it. It would be really surprising to see any sort of gimmicky wide receiver run when the Falcons have an historic offense that put up huge numbers without doing that. Going under would be the way to go here, though the juiced 3.5 at BetOnline on the over does seem a little bit suspicious. Sanu and Gabriel both had rushing attempts in the NFC Championship Game, but those didn’t really work all that well.