Super Bowl LV capsule

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 unprecedented home-field advantage as they’re the first team to 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 2003-04. Tom Brady is making his 10th Super Bowl appearance while Patrick Mahomes is making his second. Brady is 6-3 in the Super Bowl while Mahomes is 1-0. Tampa Bay has won seven straight games, including 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 took down New Orleans 30-20, winning outright as 2.5-point road dogs, then 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 a 3-point home favorite. 

 

This line opened with Kansas City as a 3.5-point favorite. We've seen respected money pounce on the Bucs getting the hook (+ 3.5), which has dropped the line to the key number of 3. 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 some liability on the Bucs. In other words, the books don't want to give out the hook to Bucs backers again. 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 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 in the last three Super Bowls. The Bucs also have elevated contrarian value as they are receiving only 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 a 3.5-point home favorite.

 

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 56.5. Some books are even down to 56. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the Under. Historically, taking the Under with "super high" Super Bowl totals has been profitable. Over the last decade, there have been five Super Bowls with totals of 50 or more. The Under is 4-1. This game also will be played outdoors. The forecast at Raymond James Stadium calls for mid- to high-60s with a slight chance of rain and 5- to 10-mph winds. The Bucs are 11-8 to the Over this season. The Chiefs are 9-9 on 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 is now missing both starting tackles after losing Mitchell Schwartz earlier this season. The Chiefs could also be without wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and center Daniel Kilgore, who are in COVID-19 protocol. However, offensive weapons Le'Veon Bell and Sammy Watkins, who have been out with injuries, are likely to return for Kansas City. The Bucs are expected to welcome back wide receiver Antonio Brown and safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. and Jordan Whitehead. 

 

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