Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. For extensive betting analysis and line move updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m. ET to noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll also be joined by an All-Star cast of guests including William Hill, Frank Caliendo, Amal Shah, Mike Palm and Thomas Gable.
Until then, let's discuss where the money is flowing for Super Bowl 55...
6:30 p.m. ET: Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers (14-5 SU, 11-8 ATS) are back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002 and enjoy rare home-field advantage as they become the first team to ever play the big game in their home stadium. The Chiefs (16-2 SU, 7-10-1 ATS) return to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row and look to become the first back-to-back champions since the Patriots in 2003-2004. Tom Brady is making his 10th Super Bowl appearance while Patrick Mahomes is making his 2nd. Brady is 6-3 in the Super Bowl while Majomes is 1-0. Tampa Bay has won seven straight games, including a perfect 3-0 in the playoffs. In the Wild Card round, the Bucs beat Washington 31-23 but failed to cover as 10-point road favorites. In the Divisional round, Tampa Bay took down New Orleans 30-20, winning outright as 2.5-point road dogs. Then the Bucs upset Green Bay in the NFC Championship game 31-26, winning outright as 3-point road dogs. After receiving a first round bye as the top seed in the AFC, the Chiefs beat the Browns 22-17 in the Divisional Round, although they failed to cover as 8-point home favorites. Then Kansas City beat Buffalo 38-24 in the AFC Championship game, easily covering as 3-point home favorites.
This line opened with Kansas City listed as a 3.5-point favorite. Early on, respected money pounced on the Bucs getting the hook (+ 3.5), which dropped the line down to the key number of 3. We've remained at 3 for over a week at this point. The Chiefs are the popular public bet, receiving roughly two-thirds of tickets across the market. Despite this lopsided support, the books have been reluctant to raise this line back to 3.5, which signals a reluctance to hand out the hook again to contrarian Bucs wiseguys. In fact, if any books go to + 3.5 they immediately get hit by Bucs support. We've also seen the juice even out on the key number of three. For much of the past week the Chiefs -3 was juiced up to -120. But over the past 24-hours several books are now down to Chiefs -3 at -110. This signals further liability on Tampa Bay.
The Bucs are in a historically profitable spot. Playoff dogs with a line move in their favor (like the Bucs going from + 3.5 to + 3) are 4-1 ATS this postseason and 15-3 ATS (83.3%) over the past four postseasons. Also, line moves have been highly predictive of success in recent Super Bowls. Since 2010, the team receiving a line move in their favor has gone 7-2 ATS (78%), including 3-0 ATS over the past three Super Bowls. The Bucs also have elevated contrarian value as they are only receiving about one-third of tickets in the most heavily bet game of the year. The hook could end up being crucial in this game. Back in Week 12, the Chiefs beat the Bucs 27-24 but Tampa Bay covered as 3.5-point home favorites.
We've also seen some respected money hit this under. The total opened at 57.5, one of the highest ever for a Super Bowl. The public sees a shootout and is hammering the over, yet the line has fallen to 56. Some books are even down to 55.5. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the under. Historically, taking the under with "super high" Super Bowl totals has been profitable. Over the past decade, there have been five Super Bowls with high totals of 50 or more. The under is 4-1. This game will also be played outdoors. The forecast at Raymond James Stadium calls for mid-to-high 60s with 5-10 MPH winds. The Bucs are 11-8 to the over this season. The Chiefs are an even 9-9 with over/unders.
One big injury to keep in mind here: Chiefs startling left tackle Eric Fisher left the AFC Championship game with an achilles injury and will miss the Super Bowl. Kansas City will now be down both starting tackles after losing Mitchell Schwartz earlier this season. However, Kansas City is likely to return offensive weapons Le'Veon Bell and Sammy Watkins. The Bucs are expected to welcome back wide receiver Antonio Brown along with safetes Antoine Winfield Jr. and Jordan Whitehead. However, tight end Cameron Brate is questionable with a back injury.