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February 03, 2017

Jimmy Kempski's Super Bowl LI pick

One last time this year, for the gambling degenerates, I'll make my Super Bowl pick. I'll save you the suspense. It's the New England Patri*ts. When the season began, I predicted a Seahawks-Patri*ts Super Bowl, with the Seahawks winning it all, so I may as well stick with the team I at least had making it to the big game. Also, they cheat.

Before the start of the season, I did not have the Falcons in the playoffs. In fact, I had two teams from the NFC South, the Panthers and the Saints, making the playoffs. In hindsight, what a dumb pick the Saints were.

But the Falcons proved to be among the best teams in the NFL, with a high-octane offense, and a defense that got consistently better throughout the season. In my view, the Falcons' offense will be the best unit on the field on Super Bowl Sunday, led by MVP candidate Matt Ryan, the best wide receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones, and a pair of very good running backs in Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

Atlanta has a six-game winning streak heading into the Super Bowl, averaging an extremely impressive 39 points per game. Conversely, the Patri*ts have a nine-game winning streak heading into the Super Bowl, as they have allowed just 13.3 points per game over that span. Obviously, something has to give. I believe the Falcons will be able to put points on the board in a dome setting, no matter who they play.

But ultimately, The Patri*ts are an extremely experienced and playoff-seasoned team to not pick straight up. Plus, again, as noted above, they cheat. That said, I do like the Falcons' chances to steal this game. If the Falcons and Patri*ts played this game 100 times, I would contend that the Falcons would win at least 40 of those matchups.

While I don't like either team based on the three-point spread, I love the Falcons as a +135 money line pick, meaning that you win $135 on a $100 bet if the Falcons win the game outright. That would be my play if I were into such evils.

• Money picks: Falcons money line +135.
• 2016 season, straight up: 170-94-2 (.643)
• 2016 season, ATS:  41-34 (.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

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