The Atlanta Falcons were the highest scoring offense during the regular season (33.8 points/game) and they haven’t slowed down during the postseason. In two playoff games, the Falcons have tallied 80 total points including Sunday’s 44-21 victory over the Packers in the NFC Championship. On the flip side, Atlanta’s defense ranked 27th in scoring defense (25.4 points/game) and 28th in passing defense (266.7 yards/game). This combination of offensive firepower and defensive ineptitude has allowed the Falcons to be the most profitable ‘over’ team (15-2) this season.
Their opponent, the New England Patriots, ranked third in scoring (27.6 points/game) while boasting a well-balanced attack that included a top-five passing offense (269.3 yards/game) and a top-ten rushing offense (117.0 yards/game). On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots led the league in scoring defense (15.6 points/game) and were actually one of the most profitable ‘under’ teams (10-6) during the regular season. For what it’s worth, the over has hit in both of New England’s playoff games.
With two of the league’s top offenses squaring off, the Super Bowl 51 total opened at 57.5 at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook. Although this is lower than last week’s NFC Championship total, this marked the highest Super Bowl total in NFL history — just a point higher than Super Bowl 44 between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts (opened 56.5).
The table below displays the closing total for every single Super Bowl matchup.
|Super Bowl||Final Score||Total||Over/Under|
|XLIV||New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17||57||UNDER|
|XLII||N.Y. Giants 17, New England 14||55||UNDER|
|XXIX||San Francisco 49, San Diego 26||53.5||OVER|
|XIX||San Francisco 38, Miami 16||53.5||OVER|
|XLVI||N.Y. Giants 21, New England 17||53||UNDER|
|XXXVI||New England 20, St. Louis 17||53||UNDER|
|XXXIII||Denver 34, Atlanta 19||52.5||OVER|
|XXX||Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17||51||UNDER|
|XXVIII||Dallas 30, Buffalo 13||50.5||UNDER|
|XXVI||Washington 37, Buffalo 24||49||OVER|
|XXXI||Green Bay 35, New England 21||49||OVER|
|XXXII||Denver 31, Green Bay 24||49||OVER|
|XXIV||San Francisco 55, Denver 10||48||OVER|
|XVIII||L.A. 38, Washington 9||48||UNDER|
|XVI||San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21||48||UNDER|
|XLVII||Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31||48||OVER|
|XXIII||San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16||48||UNDER|
|XLVIII||Seattle 43, Denver 8||47.5||OVER|
|XLIX||New England 28, Seattle 24||47.5||OVER|
|XXII||Washington 42, Denver 10||47||OVER|
|XLI||Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17||47||UNDER|
|XL||Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10||47||UNDER|
|XXIX||New England 24, Philadelphia 21||46.5||UNDER|
|XLIII||Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23||46||OVER|
|XXXIV||St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16||45||UNDER|
|XLV||Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25||45||OVER|
|XXVII||Dallas 52, Buffalo 17||44.5||OVER|
|XXXVII||Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21||44||OVER|
|II||Green Bay 33, Oakland 14||43||OVER|
|L||Denver 24, Carolina 10||43||UNDER|
|XXV||N.Y. Giants 20, Buffalo 19||40.5||UNDER|
|XXI||N.Y. Giants 39, Denver 20||40||OVER|
|III||N.Y. Jets 16, Baltimore 7||40||UNDER|
|XII||Dallas 27, Denver 10||39||UNDER|
|IV||Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7||39||UNDER|
|XI||Oakland 34, Minnesota 14||38||OVER|
|XXXVIII||New England 32, Carolina 29||37.5||OVER|
|XX||Chicago 46, New England 10||37.5||OVER|
|XV||Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10||37.5||UNDER|
|XIII||Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31||37||OVER|
|XVII||Washington 27, Miami 17||36.5||OVER|
|V||Baltimore 16, Dallas 13||36||UNDER|
|XIV||Pittsburgh 31, L.A. Rams 19||36||OVER|
|X||Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17||36||OVER|
|VI||Dallas 24, Miami 3||34||UNDER|
|VII||Miami 14, Washington 7||33||UNDER|
|IX||Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6||33||UNDER|
|VIII||Miami 24, Minnesota 7||33||UNDER|
|XXXV||Baltimore 34, N.Y. Giants 7||33||OVER|
|I||Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10||N/A||N/A|
Although there wasn’t a total posted for Super Bowl 1, you can see that Super Bowl overs have gone 25-24 overall and the closing totals have been steadily increasing. Bettors love high-scoring games and naturally gravitate towards the over — especially in a matchup of two elite offenses. In our historical database, which goes back to 2003, the over has never received less than 46% of tickets in the Super Bowl.
Not surprisingly, bettors have been hammering the over for Super Bowl 51. According to our public betting trends, 66% of tickets and 79% of total dollars wagered have taken the over. This one-sided public betting has caused the total to increase from 57.5 to 58.5 at Pinnacle.
[click image below to enlarge]
It’s interesting to note that Pinnacle was the last offshore sportsbook to move their Super Bowl 51 total to 58.5. It’s also worth noting that Sunday’s total actually reached 60 at Jerry’s Nugget for 90 minutes on Thursday, although it has dropped to 59 since that time.
“Given the efficiency of these offenses, we did not hesitate making this the highest total in Super Bowl history,” stated Scott Cooley, a spokesman for Bookmaker. “The public bettors won’t think twice about betting the over, but we do expect to see some smart money on the under.”
This isn’t only the highest total in Super Bowl history, but also one of the highest totals that we have tracked, including both regular season and playoff games. Dating back to 2003, there have been six regular-season games and two playoff games with a total of greater than 57. At least 60% of spread tickets have taken the over in each of these games, and public bettors have been rewarded with the over going 8-0 despite these lofty totals.
- December 25, 2004, Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs, O/U 60, Chiefs won 31-30
- January 22, 2017, Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, O/U 59.5, Falcons won 44-21*
- January 7, 2012, Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints, O/U 59.5, Saints won 45-28*
- January 1, 2017: New Orleans at Atlanta Falcons, O/U 58.5, Falcons won 38-32
- November 16, 2014: New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts, O/U 58, Patriots won 42-20
- October 27, 2013: Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos, O/U 58, Broncos won 45-21
- November 8, 2004, Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts, O/U 58, Colts won 31-28
- September 29, 2013: Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos, O/U 57.5, Broncos won 52-20
Last week’s Packers/Falcons game featured the highest total of the season, and the highest total since December 25, 2004, when the Chiefs/Raiders total closed at 60. In fact, this season’s three highest totals have all included the Falcons and all three have gone over.
There are only eight NFL teams that play in domed stadiums, but it’s interesting to note that five of these high total games have taken place indoors. Using our historical database, I found the average total at domed stadiums has been roughly three points higher than it has been in outdoor stadiums. That’s a significant development given that the Super Bowl will be played at NRG Stadium, which features a retractable roof. Although there hasn’t been an official announcement yet, it seems safe to assume that the roof will be closed.
Since 2003, NFL regular season overs have gone 411-379 (52%) when the game is played in a dome and 1,360-1,370 (49.8%) when the game is played outdoors. During the postseason, that edge is even more apparent with indoor overs going 24-8 (75%) and outdoor overs going just 50-66 (43.1%). That said, it’s important to realize that oddsmakers account for this edge when setting their total. “In most cases, we’re going to tick the total up a notch when teams are playing indoors,” stated Cooley.
Assuming public money continues to hammer the over, it will be interesting to see whether sportsbooks increase the total. The Super Bowl is the most heavily bet sporting event every year, and this causes public money to have a greater impact on the line movement. We still haven’t seen sharp money pick a side on the total, so it will be interesting to monitor this total throughout the week — especially when the limits are increased closer to kick off.
Bettors may be interested to know that there have only been nine Super Bowl games with more than 58-points scored, led by Super Bowl 29 when the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers combined to score 75. For what it’s worth, there has only been one Super Bowl matchup featuring the Patriots in which the teams combined to score more than 58-points (New England 32, Carolina 29 in Super Bowl 37).
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