Everybody has an opinion on the Super Bowl.
The Big Game turns casual observers into experts and people come out of the woodwork to make their opinions known. In fact, the American Gaming Association reported 23.2 million American adults plan to bet on Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.
An estimated $4.3 billion will be wagered on the game across the country.
A championship game with Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes at quarterback should be a perfect bow on top of a wild and wacky NFL season that some believed would never get this far.
Let’s go to work.
Super Bowl LV: Chiefs (-3, 56) vs. Buccaneers
This is a very tough Super Bowl side to pick. Kansas City -3 is an extremely tight point spread and that’s usually the case in the final game of the NFL season. I could easily make a case for both teams to cover.
Game script is extremely important when it comes to handicapping a game. I believe this is a game that starts slow and speeds up late. The Chiefs will be without starting tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, which should give that monstrous Buccaneers’ defensive line a definite edge out of the gate.
Brady is a notorious slow starter in Super Bowls. Believe it or not, he’s never thrown a first-quarter touchdown pass in nine title games. Pretty wild, huh? Brady has also been a part of three scoreless first quarters (Pats-Seahawks, Pats-Falcons, Pats-Rams) in the last six years.
That’s not exactly the largest sample size in the world, but if Brady wasn’t lighting up the scoreboard in his prime, I really don’t like his chances to do it at 43 years old. One would also believe that the Bucs would prefer to maintain possession, melt the clock and keep the rock away from Mahomes.
Going “Under” in the first quarter and first half just makes sense.
Speaking of “Unders,” shorting the game’s longest touchdown has been very profitable as of late. Most Super Bowl touchdowns are scored inside the red zone and the odds are definitely in my favor. This bet should cash barring a long return or a defensive score.
Longest touchdowns L/7 Super Bowls:
LIV: Damian Williams — 38-yard rush
LIII: Sony Michel — 2-yard rush
LII: Alshon Jeffery — 34-yard reception
LI: Robert Alford — 82-yard interception return
50: C.J. Anderson — 2-yard rush
XLIX: Rob Gronkowski — 22-yard reception
XLVIII: Percy Harvin — 87-yard kickoff return
Bookmakers have slowly shaded this number down over the last few years. I remember it being O/U 50.5 yards for the Patriots-Rams Super Bowl and there was only one touchdown in the entire game. This year’s number (47.5) is still too big and I’ll gladly go “Under.”
At the end of the day, I like Kansas City to win and cover the three points because I’ve loved them all year. They were my preseason pick to run it back, and you’ve got the wrong guy if you think I’m changing that prediction.
Mahomes can make any throw at anytime and this Chiefs offense has shown their ability to flip the switch. It’s almost impossible to keep them down for four quarters with all the weapons that No. 15 has at his disposal. Good luck holding down Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for long.
It might take time and the necessary second-half adjustments for Mahomes and Andy Reid to crack this Tampa Bay defense, but I’m rolling the dice with the best player in the universe to take care of business at Raymond James Stadium.
Chiefs 28, Buccaneers 23
Chiefs -3 (-115)
1Q Under 10 points (+100)
1H Under 27.5 (-110)
Longest TD U47.5 yards (-110)
RECORD: (16-9-1, +6.0)