Defending Super Bowl champions own an edge in Super Bowl rematches the following seasons. Most recently the Denver Broncos won and covered their rematch with the Carolina Panthers last season, which means defending champs are now 5-2 both straight up and against the spread in immediate Super Bowl rematches. The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night.
NFL point spread: The Patriots opened as 3.5-point favorites; the total was 53.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Falcons vs Patriots Game Info-
When: Sunday, 8:30 PM ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
Point Spread: Patriots -3
Live Stream: Watch NFL HD Stream Free Here
Why the Falcons can cover the spread
The Falcons began this season 3-0 but are now trying to rebound following back-to-back losses, most recently taking a 20-17 hit against Miami last week. Atlanta led the Dolphins 17-0 well into the third quarter but gave up 20 straight points to fall behind. The Falcons then drove inside Miami territory late but had what looked like a completed pass down to the six-yard line stolen for an interception with less than a minute to go, and that was it.
On the day, the Falcons outgained the Dolphins 339-289, but they also missed a field goal, botched a punt and committed a crucial roughing penalty that negated an interception on an eventual Miami touchdown drive.
Two weeks ago, Atlanta lost to Buffalo 23-17 thanks in part to a fumble returned for a Bills touchdown. The Falcons outgained Buffalo that day 389-281, so they’ve now outgained four of five opponents on the season.
Why the Patriots can cover the spread
Since taking that three-point loss to Carolina three weeks ago, the Patriots have won two straight, including a 24-17 decision over the Jets in New Jersey last week. New England spotted New York the game’s first 14 points, rallied to take a 24-14 lead and held on from there. The Patriots got a little lucky on a Jets fumble at the pylon, and in the end, they clinched the victory with a defensive stand just inside their own territory.
On the day, New England outrushed New York 118-74 and won the turnover battle 3-2. And that one-turnover differential basically decided the game.
Two weeks ago, the Patriots won at Tampa Bay 19-14, winning that ground battle by a 113-90 margin.
Atlanta had New England down 28-3 in the Super Bowl last year but gave up a Patriots rally and lost in overtime. Revenge isn’t always a reliable handicapping factor, but it could be in this spot. Also, New England’s defense ranks dead last in the league, allowing 441 yards per game. The smart money here favors the Falcons plus the points on the NFL lines.
NFL betting trends
The Falcons are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games against the Patriots.
The total has gone over in three of the Falcons’ last four games against the Patriots.
The Patriots are 18-7 ATS in their last 25 games.