LEADOFF: Vegas favors Patriots over Falcons in high-scoring Super Bowl


LEADOFF: Vegas favors Patriots over Falcons in high-scoring Super Bowl

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Falcons owner Arthur Blank hoists the NFC championship trophy with (from left) Rich McKay, Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones looking on. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Good morning. This is Leadoff, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

The New England Patriots opened as a three-point favorite to defeat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Vegas oddsmakers made that call Sunday, when both teams won their conference championship games handily at home — the Falcons beating the Green Bay Packers 44-21 for the NFC title and the Patriots beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 for the AFC title.

The sports books set the opening over/under for total points in the Falcons-Patriots matchup at 57.5, the highest ever for a Super Bowl but not surprising given the teams’ offensive firepower.

On Sunday, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 392 yards and four touchdowns, while Patriots QB Tom Brady had 384 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Being only a three-point underdog to New England underscores how far the Falcons have come this season.

In Week 1 of the season, the Falcons were an 80-1 longshot to win the Super Bowl while the Patriots were the favorite at 6-1, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

The Patriots will be seeking their franchise’s fifth Super Bowl championship, while the Falcons will be trying to win their first.

New England is in the Super Bowl for a record ninth time and Atlanta for the second time.

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