2017 Super Bowl Picks: Sharps biding time, eyeing Under

Senior analyst Larry Hartstein takes a close look at the Over/Under for Patriots-Falcons, which will close as the highest total in Super Bowl history.

 

Super Bowl LI is guaranteed to kick off with the highest Over/Under in Super Bowl history.

Nearly every Vegas sportsbook is dealing 59, while most offshore books are at 58.5 or 58.

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New England -149 O/U 57.5
vs. Atlanta +125 +3
C
C
C
NE
ATL
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Super Bowl XLIV between the Colts and Saints set the record seven years ago, closing at 57. (The game stayed Under as New Orleans won 31-17).

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So far, most bettors are going Over. William Hill's 108 Nevada sportsbooks have taken 80 percent of the money on the Over. At BookMaker.eu, nearly 75 percent of the cash is on the Over.

The public loves to root for high-scoring, entertaining games. And Patriots-Falcons features two of the league's three best offenses. Atlanta led the NFL with 33.8 points per game, while New England ranked third with 27.6.

Each of their playoff games went Over. The Falcons in particular are an Over machine, having gone 15-2-1 to the Over.

All the early Over action caused some books to briefly move as high as 60. Each time they did, professional bettors hammered the Under.

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Now that Vegas is about to get overrun by Super Bowl tourists, most sharp bettors are sitting back.

"After the public has gotten all they want of the Over, pushing the total as high as it can go, we're expecting sharp players to come in on the Under late Sunday," said Scott Cooley, odds consultant for BookMaker.eu.

Most casual bettors parlay their side to the Over. Books will have so much liability on the Over, they'll have to raise the total to attract Under money.

And that's when the sharps will pounce.

While there's clearly value on the Under now, and there should be even more value Sunday, it's hard to see Super Bowl LI becoming anything but a shootout.

The Falcons look unstoppable with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Taylor Gabriel, not to mention a sturdy O-line. They also happen to own the NFL's worst red-zone defense.

Opponents have scored TDs on 72.1 percent of their red-zone trips.

SportsLine expert Mike Tierney, a national sportswriter who went 22-8 on Over/Under picks this season, has released a strong play on the Super Bowl total. Get all SportsLine expert picks here.