Tom Brady should lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl win. Flickr/Keith Allison/

In a playoffs full of duds, the Super Bowl should actually be a compelling matchup.

Atlanta is better than everyone has given them credit for this year, and the Patriots…are, well, the Patriots. It’s the matchup of offense versus defense, but the Falcons have shown the ability lately to play some defense, while New England also can score on anybody.

But if you’re betting with the opening line, you should start hammering the Patriots.

The opening line is set at minus-3 in favor of New England, and with all the action expected for the Super Bowl, that number will likely rise in the coming weeks. At this point in the season, inexperienced gamblers bet on the NFL. They don’t generally follow the regular season, but they pay attention to the playoffs each year.

And while Atlanta has been absent during that time in recent years, New England is a household name. So no matter what the matchup holds, in the early going, New England holds the advantage, since that number should rise. So if you like the Patriots, now’s the time to start putting some money on New England.

To me, it’s not only about the value New England brings to the table. The Patriots are the smart play, especially as only a field-goal favorite. The Patriots are the better all-around team, with a quarterback who won’t be rattled. Matt Ryan has been fantastic this season and deserves serious attention as MVP, but there’s still the unknown of how he’ll do against a Bill Belichick defense. Ryan has only faced New England once in his career, losing that matchup at home years ago.

But even if you don’t like New England to cover in this game, don’t waste your time on the Falcons now. Wait a week to see where the line has moved. It should teeter closer to six points by that point, so the value for Atlanta will be highest before all the talking heads investigate every shred of this game.

New England has shown the ability to consistently keep teams out of the endzone and that will be the defining moment of the Super Bowl. Without the ability to find the endzone, the Falcons will fall short. And with a number this low, don’t delay in backing the Patriots.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. To see more, check out Against The Chalk.

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