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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Impact Sports Staff Picks Super Bowl LI


Sunday, February 5, 2017 — 6:30 p.m. ET — FOX
NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

New England Patriots (14-2, 5-1 AFC East) vs Atlanta Falcons (11-5, 5-1 NFC South)

Betting Line: New England (-3)
Over/Under: 59

Zachary Swiecicki (@zachswies)

New England 34, Atlanta 27
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because all things point to a Pats win and I’m not going to overthink this one.

  1. Defense wins championships (No. 1 defense is 4-1 against the No. 1 offense in the Super Bowl)? 1-0 New England
  2. 11 of the last 12 Super Bowl winners have worn white? 2-0 NE
  3. Dion Lewis is playing (Patriots 16-0 when he starts)? 3-0 NE
  4. No team has won the Super Bowl giving up 25.4 points/game? 4-0 NE
  5. The Falcons have allowed the most yards after the catch this season and the Patriots have allowed the fewest? 5-0 NE
  6. The greatest quarterback of all time will be on the field (Seventh Super Bowl, possible fifth ring)? 6-0 NE
  7. Eli Manning won’t be playing for the Falcons? 7-0 NE

Bold Prediction: Julian Edelman will have more receiving yards than Julio Jones.

(P.S. Bolder prediction: If I had picked Atlanta, I would’ve taken Matt Bryant as MVP with 66/1 odds. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits one from 60. Guy has a boot.)

Prop Bet to Watch: What will Luke Bryan be wearing when he starts singing the U.S. National Anthem? Blue jeans 1/2, Any other pants or shorts 3/2 — Give me blue jeans all day. It’s Luke Bryan…I mean, c’mon. That’s free money. Easiest bet of 2017.

Ryan Cole (@ryan_cole9)

New England 37, Atlanta 34
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because they are the league’s most premier franchise, led by two of the greatest leaders in league history. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been on this stage many times before, and they won’t lose to a team with little Super Bowl experience. As much as they’ve won before, this is a huge legacy game for both — especially Brady. He’ll step up to barely outduel Matt Ryan and Atlanta’s high-octane offense.

Bold Prediction: The game will go to overtime (+894 betting underdog to happen), the first such game in Super Bowl history. Tom Brady cements his status as GOAT with a tying comeback drive in the 4th quarter, then the game-winning drive in extra time.

Prop Bet to Watch: Over/under number of Lady Gaga wardrobe changes during the performance? 2 — Over. By a ton. She’ll change her outfit three times just while singing “Bad Romance.” I feel guilty for stealing such obvious money.

Brendan Wilner (@b_wilner16)

New England 28, Atlanta 24
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because they are the greatest dynasty in NFL history. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have too much time to prepare for the Atlanta Falcons. I think New England will get down early, but make a surge late in the 4th quarter for what would be the game-winning drive. New England’s defense will be able to hold the Falcons in the red zone, which may be a more relient first half on kickers than what most fans expected.

Bold Prediction: There will be a an opening kickoff touchdown return. That’s right, the game will start out with a blast and whoever it is will have a quick advantage and momentum forcing the other QB to fight back early.

Prop Bet to Watch: How many times will “deflate” or “Deflategate” be said on TV during live broadcast? 1.5 — I will be taking the over.

Andy Chmura (@andy_chmura)

New England 31, Atlanta 30
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because they can get it done on both sides of the ball. Although Atlanta has the No. 1 offense in the nation, the New England defense ranks No. 1 in points allowed. The Patriot defense knows how to bend without breaking. They will give up plenty of yards, but know how to keep offenses out of the endzone. On the other side of the ball, is there anything left to be said about Tom Brady that has not already been said? He can put up any number of points he needs and unlike last year’s playoffs, Brady will have help from a competent running game.

Bold Prediction: Roger Goodell will be “honored” to hand the Lombardi Trophy to Tom Brady, and pose for an awkward picture that will infect social media until the next Super Bowl.

Prop Bet to Watch: Over/under number of political statements Lady Gaga will make during her halftime show? 2 — Definitely over. I expect her to get in a twitter war with Donald Trump by the end of the game.

Jacob Herbert (@jacobherbert)

Atlanta 31, New England 28
MVP: Matt Ryan

Atlanta will win because no one else before me on this staff seems to want to give the best offense in the league a chance, and I love a good underdog story. I’m perfectly aware that Brady and Belichick are the GOAT at their respective positions, but Julio Jones and the red hot Falcon offense just seem like too much to stop. Yes, the Pats have the No. 1 defense in terms of points allowed, but the Falcons haven’t scored under 24 points in a single game all season long. One of those games, they put up 36 on a Seattle defense who is admittedly down from years past, but still a Seattle defense nonetheless. Falcons win a close one and deny Brady his fifth ring.

Bold Prediction: Mike Vick will come out of retirement for one last play donning the ol’ No.7 jersey that we all know and love (I owned one as a kid). He will score the game winning touchdown on a QB sneak with no time on the clock, Madden ‘04 style.

Prop Bet to Watch: How many times will J.J. Watt be mentioned on the broadcast? 1 — Taking the over on this one.

Matt Mika (@themattmika)

New England 38, Atlanta 35
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because Tom Brady has never thrown an interception when blitzed in the Super Bowl. The Falcons will try to apply pressure early on but Tom Brady and the Patriots offense will start rolling early. The best offense versus the best defense usually favors the defense. Remember Super Bowl XXXVII and XLVIII? Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will struggle to get going in the first half. The key for the Falcons is the ground attack. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will begin to gash the Patriots in the second half but Tom Brady will march his team down the field late in the fourth for a game-winning field goal (sound familiar?). The game will be very similar to the last Super Bowl held in Houston when the Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Bold Prediction: Someone will run onto the field during the game holding a political sign.  

Prop Bet to Watch: According to the Huffington Post in 2015, 325.5 million gallons of beer was consumed by Americans, and to put that into perspective 500 Olympic sized pools could have been filled. Two years later I’m guessing more Americans will dive into their alcoholic beverages on Sunday and I don’t know which is more appalling — the beer consumed or how many chicken wings are devoured during the Super Bowl?

Ian Hawley (@ianhawley12)

New England 35, Atlanta 31
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because Atlanta doesn’t have the defense to match their offense, but New England does. The Patriots have the top-ranked defense in points allowed, a category in which Atlanta ranks 27th…not a comforting statistic facing Tom Brady. Also, Atlanta ranked dead last in run defense DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) during the latter half of the regular season. They have a particularly small defense, meaning the Patriots will be able to push them around and control the run game, bleeding the clock and keeping Matty Ice on the sidelines. This will open huge holes, into which Brady will put his deflated balls. I still think the game will be close because Atlanta’s defense has been better this postseason, but Bill Belichick will reach these needs, and they’ll bring home another Lombardi to add to their disgustingly large collection.

Bold Prediction: Vic Beasley will be a non-factor in the Super Bowl. Continuing in their long tradition of underhanded tactics and “accidental” infractions, the Pats will try to land an early cheap shot to the knees of Beasley, rendering him useless and sack-less.

Prop Bet to Watch: Coin Flip, Heads or Tails? Heads (-102), Tails (-102) — I always pick tails, but it’s always a toss-up whether it goes my way.

Austin Short (@RealAustinShort)

Atlanta 36, New England 32
MVP: Matt Ryan

Atlanta will win because the Patriots defense has not seen an offense this efficient all season. I know the Patriots have the best defense in the league in terms of points allowed, but their competition has been less than stellar. The list of quarterbacks to go up against the Patriots this year includes Bryce Petty, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Moore and even “Clipboard Jesus” himself Charlie Whitehurst got playing time against them. Ben Roethlisberger may have been their biggest test and he’s been bad on the road all season. Atlanta’s defense was putrid during the regular season, but during the playoffs they’ve been stellar. Their ability to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers was a big key to that game and I expect the defense to make enough plays to win this game.

Bold Prediction: Tom Brady will turn into a Crying Jordan meme.

Prop Bet to Watch: What color will the liquid be that is poured on the winning coach? — If the Patriots win, blue would be a nice pick at 15/2 since that was the color of choice when the Patriots won Super Bowl 49. But, since I have the Falcons, I’m going with yellow at 3/1. The Falcons went with yellow gatorade after winning the NFC Championship.

Zach Manning (@isportsZach)

Atlanta 27, New England 24
MVP: Matt Ryan

Atlanta will win because they won in the Madden ‘17 game I played last night. If that’s not enough proof, I think their offense will overpower the New England defense. New England’s defense is one of the best, but they have yet to see an offense of this caliber and I think they will struggle to defend Julio, Sanu and Gabriel. The Falcons don’t just have a passing game either, they have a two headed monster in Freeman and Coleman, so the Patriots can’t sell out to stop just the pass or the run. The Patriots also have a good offense, but Atlanta’s defense has stepped up in the playoffs. If you’re looking for an example, just take a look at what they did to Green Bay a couple of weeks ago. Atlanta’s offense is way too good for the Patriots to keep up.

Bold Prediction: Tom Brady threw only two interceptions in the regular season, but he will throw two interceptions in the Super Bowl, leading the the Falcons to victory.

Prop Bet to Watch: Which song will Lady Gaga perform first at the halftime show? —  This is a tough one for me because there are so many good choices, but my gut tells me it will be Edge of Glory at 6/1. Both teams are on the edge of glory so why not start the halftime show with a song somewhat relatable to the game. Just Dance is a sleeper pick at 10/1.

Davey Segal (@DaveyCenter)

New England 35, Atlanta 28
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because they have the G.O.A.T. Plain and simple. This will be Brady’s seventh Super Bowl for a reason: he’s pretty good. Experience can only go so far when it comes to the big game, but Brady has more than experience. He has a head coach in Bill Belichick who is also appearing in his seventh Super Bowl for a reason: he’s pretty good too. Oh, and their defense is also ranked No. 1 in the entire league. In the battle of No. 1 defenses vs. No. 1 offenses (which Atlanta has), the defense wins more often than not. Four of the last five times since the merger, the “defense wins championships” mantra has been proven true. After Sunday, it’ll be five out of six.

Bold Prediction: There will be a play of 100+ yards. Be it a kick return, punt return, or even a missed-FG return (hint: I think this is what it’ll be), there will be a big play that may shift the momentum for either team. Be sure to watch out for any long missed FG’s.

Prop Bet to Watch: How many times will “Gronk” or “Gronkowski” be mentioned on the live television broadcast? 3 — Yes, three. THIS IS THE LOCK OF THE CENTURY. He obviously isn’t playing, and will most certainly be in attendance. Here are four examples of when he’ll be mentioned:

  1. He is shown on TV with Robert Kraft. TV mentions his name.
  2. Martellus Bennett catches a touchdown/drops a pass/makes a block/etc. Broadcasters talk about how the Pats have/haven’t missed Gronk this season.
  3. When the Patriots win, they will mention how NE is going to party all night. Gronk has to be mentioned, as he is known as a part animal, dating back to his college days.
  4. TV will cut away to an image of Kraft and Gronkowski celebrating when the clock hits 0:00, and they will say his name. So there, you go. Congrats and you’re welcome for making you some extra money on this wonderful Super Bowl Sunday that we have.

Kyle Turk (@KyleTurk5)

Atlanta 31, New England 28
MVP: Matt Ryan

Atlanta will win because it’s too easy to pick a tandem as good as Brady and Belichick in the biggest game of the season. Atlanta’s one of the best teams in the league in terms of putting up points in bunches, and I think they’ll start out flying (pun intended) in the first half. That said, I think the Pats will work their way back into it before all is said and done, and Brady will have a chance to win the game before the underrated Falcons defense takes charge.

Bold Prediction: Brady will be picked off in the last minute with a chance to win the game.

Prop Bet to Watch: First TD scorer: Mohamed Sanu — The man is underrated.

Andrew Birkle (@andrew_birkle)

New England 31, Atlanta 27
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because giving Belichick two weeks to prepare is a recipe for success (unless the Giants are involved). I think that New England is going to take advantage of their size mismatch on the offensive line and really try to establish the run with LeGarrette Blount. As explosive as Atlanta’s offense is, the best defense is a good offense. I would say that I trust New England and Atlanta’s offense about equally, but I trust New England’s defense far more than Atlanta’s. While I think that New England leading the league in points allowed is a little bit of a phony statistic, Belichick is definitely a stout defensive game planner and will be able to slow down Atlanta’s offense enough to give New England the win.

Bold Prediction: Chris Hogan will have more receiving yards than Julio Jones. A steaming hot take, but I think that the Patriots are going to double team Julio and make the rest of the Falcons team beat them. Many other teams have tried this strategy and it hasn’t exactly proven to be successful, but most other teams aren’t the Patriots

Prop Bet to Watch: LeGarrette Blount Rushing Yards, Over/Under 56.5 — I think that Blount will be a massive part of the New England game plan in trying to keep the ball out of the Falcons hands and if they can successfully do so, Blount will almost certainly break 56.5 yards. While it’s not the most flashy prop bet, it’s one I feel really confident in.

Brent Hughes (@_bhizzy)

Atlanta 34, New England 27
MVP: Matt Ryan

Atlanta will win because: Matt Ryan is having the best year of his career. The Atlanta Falcons offence is very explosive, and more importantly, it is very well balanced. Bill Belichick is known for taking away your best offensive threat and forcing you to beat them with others. Obviously, he will plan to take away Julio Jones. The Falcons know this and their roster is filled with other stars who can step up and beat them. Sanu, Gabriel, Coleman, and Freeman are all fantastic offensive players, and the two headed backfield is bound to pick up the pace on the ground. One of these RBs could easily become MVP, but it is more likely to be Matty Ice. Their versatile offense, and improving playoff defense will be enough to get the win this Sunday.

Bold Prediction: Julio Jones still goes for 100 yards receiving, but Malcolm Butler believes he can guard him one on one.

Prop Bet to Watch: Longest reception by Julio Jones: Over/Under 25.5 yards — I like Julio Jones’ longest reception to be over 25 yards. Nobody can guard this man one on one. I think the Patriots will plan to stop him, but he is bound to break free for a big gain.

Joey Ellis (@jellis1016)

New England 35, Atlanta 31
MVP: Tom Brady

New England will win because if it weren’t for Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin and a couple unbelievable late game catches, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick would be playing for their 7th Super Bowl ring. Matt Ryan is having an MVP season and the Falcons team is by far more talent heavy, but Tom Brady and Belichick know how to win big games. They’ve showed it their whole careers and Brady in February is a different animal.

Bold Prediction: Matt Patricia and this dynamic Pats defense will find a way to take Atlanta’s best player out of the game like they do to every opponent…they’ll find a way to hold Julio Jones to under 100 yards.

Prop Bet to Watch: Tom Brady will pass for more than five TD’s — I’m not exactly sure what a prop bet even is.

Aidan Hunt (@TheAidanHunt)

Atlanta 27, New England 24
MVP: Matt Ryan

Atlanta will win because I, like most football fans, am sick of the Patriots and refuse to ever pick them to win; on a more objective note, Matt Ryan has had the season of his career and seeing how he has performed these playoffs, it is hard to bet against him. New England’s standard offense of short passes from Tom Brady progressively downfield will have to keep up with Atlanta’s high-flying offense. The Falcons will be able wear down the Pats’ defense alternating between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman bulldozing through their D-line and Ryan airing it out to Julio Jones for an absurd number of yards.

Bold Prediction: The Patriots are still the Patriots though, so don’t count them out until the very end when Tom Brady turns the ball over twice in the fourth quarter.

Prop Bet to Watch: How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown on TV during the broadcast? Over/Under 1.5 — Gisele will get camera time at least once per Patriots touchdown, so definitely over.

Consensus Impact Sports Staff Pick (@WDBM_Sports)

  • From the 15 staff members that made picks, nine chose New England and six chose Atlanta.
  • Of those that picked New England, they favored the Patriots to win by an average of 4.1 points.
  • Of those that picked Atlanta, they favored the Falcons to win by an average of 3.8 points.
  • ALL NINE New England picks also predicted Tom Brady as Super Bowl MVP.
  • ALL SIX Atlanta picks also predicted Matt Ryan as Super Bowl MVP.

The rounded average of all 15 predictions gave us a final score of:

New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 31

With our exact score averages resulting in a 2.8-point New England win, we will put our money on Atlanta against the spread [+3].

As for the average predicted final score — ours totaled 65, so we will have to bet the OVER [59].

Prop Bets we like:

  • How long will it take Luke Bryan to sing the National Anthem?
    • Over 2:09 (-120)
    • Under 2:09 (-120)
  • Which song will Lady Gaga play first during the halftime show?
    • Born this Way 9/4
    • Bad Romance 5/2
    • Edge of Glory 6/1
    • Poker Face 10/1
  • Will a roughing-the-passer penalty be called in the game?
    • Yes +120 (6/5)
    • No -150 (2/3)
  • Super Bowl LI MVP?
    • Tom Brady (NE) 7/5
    • Matt Ryan (ATL) 5/2
    • Julio Jones (ATL) 9/1
    • LeGarrette Blount (NE) 16/1
    • Julian Edelman (NE) 16/1
  • Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first?
    • God 2/1
    • Team/teammates 2/1
    • Coach 9/1
    • Family 9/1
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