Super Bowl LI Details
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date/Time: February 5, 2017 at 6:30PM EST
Site: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
AFC Champion: New England Patriots
NFC Champion: Atlanta Falcons
Point Spread: New England -3 (favored by 3 points)
Referee: Carl Cheffers
National Anthem: Luke Bryan
Halftime Show: Lady Gaga
Announcers: Play-by-play man Joe Buck and color-commentator Troy Aikman, with sideline reporting from Chris Myers and Erin Andrews.
Milestones: Atlanta goes for its first-ever Super Bowl win in their second franchise appearance. New England is in their ninth Super Bowl and seventh in the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era. Both Brady and Belichick, who are 4-2 in Super Bowls, look to become the first to win 5 Super Bowls.
Notes: The 51st Super Bowl will be played in Houston. It's the third time the Super Bowl has been staged in Houston, with the last two being in Super Bowl VIII and Super Bowl XXXVIII, which came in 2014. The decision to hold the Super Bowl there was decided in the 2012 owner meetings. At the time, the stadium was called Reliant Stadium, changing in 2014 to NRG Stadium. Practice facilities will be at the University of Houston and Rice University.
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The first male singer in a decade will sing the National Anthem, with country star Luke Bryan assigned to the duties. Last year's Super Bowl anthem was sung by Lady Gaga, who will perform the halftime show. The game will be presided over by eight officials, led by chief Carl Cheffers. Though it's the 51st Super Bowl, this commemorates the 50th anniversary of the NFL's first Super Bowl, played in 1967.
What Teams Did to Get Here: The Patriots, the best team of the decade so far, has won at least 12 games every season in this decade. In 2016, they were 14-2 in the regular season, only losing one game after Tom Brady rejoined the team in week five after a 4-game suspension. In 2016, they were the league's third-highest scoring team, while also allowing fewer points than any team in the NFL. They locked up the top seed in the AFC and entered the playoffs as the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl.
Nothing much has changed that perception. The Pats may not have looked all that great to open their postseason with a divisional playoff round win over the Houston Texans. They won fairly convincingly and covered the spread, but it was a one-score game until the 4th quarter and Brady equaled his entire season total with two interceptions. The Patriots were far more convincing in their AFC Conference Championship win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 36-17. The game wasn't competitive and Brady was electric with a big statistical day. Despite being without Rob Gronkowski, the offense has continued looking good and their defense will be depended on heavily to beat the likes of the high-flying Falcons.
Atlanta was the number-two seed in the conference, without many people really pegging them as a viable conference representative. But people began to see the true worth of the Falcons as the postseason wore on. First was a dominant 36-20 win over the Seahawks, where the high-flying Atlanta offense racked up 422 yards against the tough Seattle defense. They were even more-impressive in the NFC title game; shutting down a streaking Green Bay team and making them look ordinary.
The reservations with the Falcons have been dispelled heading into the 51st Super Bowl. First, we see that their offensive success is no mirage. They've made it work at the top level and the depth, explosiveness, and variety they have on that side of the ball might end up being good enough to make them champions. And the defense, considered a major liability heading into the postseason, has shown itself to be an aggressive and playmaking unit with a lot of team speed. They are looked at as being a very legitimate threat in Super Bowl LI.
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Betting on Super Bowl LI: The point spread as of press time is New England minus 3 points. The total (over/under) is 58.5 points. The line and the total suggest two things that fans like—offense and a competitive game. The total of 58.5 is the highest posted total in Super Bowl history. And only four Super Bowls have featured a narrower point spread. And as some may already know, there are any number of prop bets you can make on the game. The wagers span the whole spectrum, from who will be the Super Bowl MVP to an over/under bet on how long it will take to sing the National Anthem. When it comes to Super Bowl betting, if your mind can conceive it, someone is probably offering it.