Super Bowl LV Betting Preview - Podcast 2 February 2021
It’s finally Super Bowl week and there were certainly times where it looked doubtful it would happen. But fans have been rewarded with a matchup of the reigning GOAT Tom Brady against the rising GOAT Patrick Mahomes as the Buccaneers and Chiefs square off in SB 55.
Here’s how our podcasters break it down:
This is a rematch from Week 12 when the Chiefs won at Tampa, 27-24. That’s not necessarily a plus for KC. On 13 other occasions, the Super Bowl has been a contest between two teams that faced each other in the regular season. The record in the big game for teams that won the first matchup: 6-7.
That’s close and so is the record between Brady and Mahomes to date. This will be their fifth contest after splitting the first four, 2-2. The combined score of those four games also couldn’t be closer: 121-120 in favor of Mahomes.
There is one unique fact that separates this Super Bowl from all the others – it will be the first “home” game for one of the teams as the game is being held in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. While that would seem to benefit the Bucs, the fact that it is a road game for Kansas City should also benefit the Chiefs. KC has gone 21-4 on the road since Mahomes took over at QB, and that includes a perfect 8-0 record this year. The offense hardly skipped a beat either as it averaged 31.6 ppg in those road games.
The Bucs got a good look at that prolific offense in the first encounter as Tyreek Hill put up 200 yards in the first quarter alone and finished with a 12-263-3 stat line. Mahomes finished 462 yards passing even while the Chiefs played ball control for most of the fourth quarter to protect a sizable lead. Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is going to have his hands full trying to contain Mahomes again, even with left tackle Eric Fisher out with a torn achilles suffered in the AFC Championship game.
Of course, the Chiefs D faces its own challenge in stopping Brady. He took a team that was 7-9 last year and 5-11 two years ago to the Super Bowl. I guess we can start debating who’s more responsible: Brady vs. Bruce Arians. But there’s no denying it’s remarkable that he’s playing in his 10th Super Bowl at the age of 43. Only one team – New England – has more SB appearances than he does (11), and he was responsible for 9 of those. But the KC defense does have one distinct advantage with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was the Giants D coordinator in 2007 when NY ruined the perfect season, 17-14. Brady’s strength and weakness this year has been deep balls to his talented receivers. He led the league with 36 completed passes of over 20 yards, but also led the league with INTs on long balls with 9. He threw 3 more picks in the NFC Championship against Green Bay. That should play to KC’s strength as the Chiefs secondary led the league with 8 INTs on deep throws. While the Packers could not take full advantage of the turnovers, we expect the Chiefs to be more opportunistic.
The Bucs are not as strong in pass defense either, ranking just 21st in the league while giving up an average of 246.6 ypg. They’re also dealing with injuries to safety Jordan Whitehead (listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury) and safety Antoine Winfield Jr (questionable with an ankle). Considering Mahomes & Company led the league in passing at 303.4 ypg and coming off a big game against the Bills in the AFC Championship (439 yards), a repeat of those Week 12 numbers look attainable.
The Chiefs come in 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after recording more than 350 yards in total offense in the previous game; KC is also 11-5 ATS in their last 16 against a team with a winning record. Andy Reid’s team is trying to become the first repeat champs in 16 years, which has been hard to do in an era of player movement. But this team has the core of last year’s team back and has that look of Denver in the 90s, San Francisco in the 80s and Pittsburgh and Miami in the 70s – all repeat champions.
Dunkel’s Pick: Kansas City (-3; Under).