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The stage is set for Sunday’s Super Bowl LI in Houston. The Las Vegas and offshore consensus opening line was New England -3 and it has held save for a few shops adjusting on juice. 

The total opened 57 and has since been bet up to 58.5 offshore and 59 in Vegas. This is the sixth Super Bowl that will feature the league’s top scoring offense (Atlanta) against the league’s top scoring defense NFL (New England).The top ranked scoring defense won four of the five previous games; the most recent in 2013 when Seattle demolished Denver 43-8. 

As mentioned in previous columns, New England’s gaudy numbers were assisted in a big way by the league’s weakest strength of schedule. The Patriots also faced a slew of lower-tiered quarterbacks. But against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were projected to be their toughest offensive opponent to-date, New England allowed a modest 368 yards and 17 points en route to a dominating 36-17 win in the AFC Championship. 

Atlanta’s offensive output (420 ypg, 6.7 ypp) was in no way fluky. The Falcons faced one of the toughest defensive slates in the league and routinely were able to move the ball seemingly at will. The big question is can Atlanta’s defense put up any resistance? New England’s offense isn’t that far removed from Atlanta’s statistically and that’s with Tom Brady missing the first four games of the season due to a suspension. 

The beauty of the Super Bowl is that you don’t have to have a super-strong opinion on the side or total to make money. In fact, I know a lot of bettors who don’t even bother to wager on the game but instead take advantage of the endless amount of prop bet offerings. 

Last Thursday, Las Vegas’ Westgate SuperBook posted its complete list of approximately 400 props. Some offshore sportsbooks have even more including the ever-popular entertainment props. Lady Gaga’s halftime performance, Gatorade color, will there be mentions of President Donald Trump on the air, and how many times will Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen be shown during the live TV broadcast are just a few of many intriguing options. 

Some of the best opportunities come in the form of “cross sport” props. This allows bettors to not only get in on the Super Bowl action but combine it with other sports such as the NBA, College Basketball, NHL, PGA and soccer. 

One entertainment related prop worth mentioning is the number commercial appearances for Peyton Manning. The number opened 1.5 OVER +120 but has since skyrocketed to as high as -380. 

Considering Manning is a spokesperson for three different companies (Nationwide Insurance, Papa John’s and DirecTV) bettors rightfully viewed it as a “slam dunk.” Those types of “juicy” props don’t last long and even the quickest and sharpest players miss out on the “best of the number.” 

But while the value on a lot of props may be gone, the willingness to lay a little extra juice can still lead to big profits.

Enjoy Super Bowl LI and best of luck with all your wagers!

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