This article previews and provides betting tips for Super Bowl LV, which features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Super Bowl LV will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Kick-off is at 10:30 AM on Monday, February 8 AEDT.
This Super Bowl is unique in that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Due to COVID-19 health restrictions the stadium capacity has been reduced to 22,000 fans. The usual available capacity for Raymond James Stadium is 65,618, which is expandable to 75,000. A huge percentage of the fans will be either Chiefs fans or neutrals so home advantage is diminished for this clash.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Head Coach:
Bruce Arians (68) has been the head coach at Tampa Bay since 2019. Prior to that he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-2017.
Arians’ NFL coaching career dates back to 1996 and has included roles as tight ends coach, quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator. His college football coaching days date back to 1975. Arians is known for his willingness to take risks and for his strong relationships with players, particularly his quarterbacks.
- Starting Quarterback:
Tom Brady (43) will be making a record 10th Super Bowl appearance. He has won six Super Bowls and four Super Bowl MVPs in his previous nine appearances. This is Brady’s first Super Bowl with the Buccaneers. He spent the previous 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.
- 2020-21 Regular Season Record:
The Buccaneers finished the season with an 11-5 record and earned a wildcard spot as the 2nd placed team in the NFC South and the 5th ranked team in the NFC.
- Post Season:
Beat Washington 31-23 in the Wild Card round, New Orleans 30-20 in the Divisional Playoffs and Green Bay 31-26 in the NFC Championship.
Including the regular season and playoffs, the Buccaneers enter this clash on a seven-game winning streak.
- 2020/21 Pro Bowlers: 1
Kansas City Chiefs
- Head Coach:
Andy Reid (62) has been at the helm of the Chiefs for eight seasons. Prior to that he was the head coach of the Eagles from 1999 to 2012. Reid’s NFL coaching career started in 1992 and his college football coaching career dates back to 1982. Like Bruce Arians, all of Reid’s non-head coach roles were on the offensive side, e.g. offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Andy Reid has won two Super Bowls previously, XXXI (1997) as assistant coach and LIV (2020) as head coach. Reid is regarded as being more cautious and conservative than Arians.
- Starting Quarterback:
Patrick Mahomes (25) has been in the NFL for four seasons but he only played one regular season game in his first season. Mahomes won the Super Bowl last year as well as the Super Bowl MVP award. He holds the following QB NFL records:
Most consecutive 300-plus passing yard games: 8 (tied)
Consecutive double digit deficits overcome including playoffs: 6
Fastest to 10,000 career passing yards: 34 games
Fastest to 100 career touchdowns: 40 games
Career quarterback rating (minimum 1,500 attempts): 110.7
Career passing yards per game (minimum 1,500 attempts): 307.6
- 2020-21 Regular Season Record:
The Chiefs finished the season as the 1st seed in the AFC with a 14-2 record.
- Post Season:
Beat Cleveland 22-17 in the Divisional Playoffs and Buffalo 38-24 in the AFC Championship.
The Chiefs lost their final regular season game but they had rotated the squad for that fixture. Prior to that the Chiefs had won ten straight games. They have won their last eight consecutive away games.
- 2020/21 Pro Bowlers: 7
Using the NFL Elo Ratings tool at our sister site and setting the “Previous Season Weighting” to 0 to account for just this season, we get the following Elo ratings for the various methodologies:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4th in the NFL)
Kansas City Chiefs (1st in the NFL)
Every methodology rates the Chiefs as the stronger of the two teams. This ties in well with their superior season record and the fact that they had 7 players selected for the Pro Bowl, compared to 1 for the Buccaneers.
The two sides played in Week 12 in Tampa Bay. The Chiefs prevailed 27-24 with the scoreline flattering the Buccaneers. The Chiefs raced out to a 17-0 first quarter lead and led 27-10 before the Buccaneers scored 14 points in the final quarter to add respectability to the scoreline. Notable player stats for that game are:
QB Tom Brady: 27/41 passing for 345 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions
WR Mike Evans: 2 TDs receiving
RB Ronald Jones: 1 TD receiving. He lead the team in rushing with 66 yards from 9 carries.
TE Rob Gronkowski received 6 passes for 106 yards and 0 TDs
QB Patrick Mahomes: 37/49 passing for 462 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions
WR Tyreek Hill: 15 targets, 13 receptions for 269 yards and 3 TDs
No Chiefs player rushed for more than 37 yards
It should be noted that the Buccaneers have already turned around a regular season defeat in the playoffs. They lost 23–34 (Week 1) and 3–38 (Week 9) to the Saints before defeating them 30-20 in the Divisional Playoffs. The Buccaneers’ Week 12 loss to the Chiefs was their 3rd defeat in four games, so it’s fair to say that Tampa Bay were in a slump at the time. Since then they have won seven straight games.
For those who like prop betting, below are selected player stats.
QB Tom Brady: 4633 yards, 40 TDs, 12 interceptions, 102.2 QB rating
– Ronald Jones: 978 yards, 7 TDs
– Leonard Fournette: 367 yards, 6 TDs
– Tom Brady: 6 yards, 3 TDs
– Mike Evans: 1006 yards, 13 TDs
– Rob Gronkowski: 623 yards, 7 TDs
– Chris Godwin: 840 yards, 7 TDs
– Antonio Brown: 483 yards, 4 TDs
– Scott Miller: 501 yards, 3 TDs
QB Tom Brady: 22/40 passing for 381 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions
RB Leonard Fournette rushed for 93 yards and 1 TD
WR Mike Evans received for 119 yards and 0 TDs
WRs Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown each received 1 TD
Their opponents passed for 306 & 1 TD and rushed for 86 yards and 2 TDs
QB Tom Brady: 18/33 passing for 199 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions
QB Tom Brady rushed for 1 TD
RB Leonard Fournette and WR Mike Evans each received 1 TD
Their opponents passed for 190 yards & 2 TDs and rushed for 104 yards & 0 TDs
QB Tom Brady: 20/36 passing for 280 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions
RB Leonard Fournette rushed for 55 yards and 1 TD
WRs Mike Evans, Scott Miller and TE Cameron Brate each received 1 TD
WR Chris Godwin received for 110 yards and 0 TDs
Their opponents passed for 346 yards & 3 TDs and rushed for 67 yards and 0 TDs
QB Patrick Mahomes: 4740 yards, 38 TDs, 6 interceptions, 108.2 QB rating
– Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 803 yards, 4 TDs
– Patrick Mahomes: 308 yards, 2 TDs
– Tyreek Hill: 123 yards, 2 TDs
– Le’Veon Bell: 328 yards, 2 TDs
– Tyreek Hill: 1276 yards, 15 TDs
– Travis Kelce: 1416 yards, 11 TDs
– Mecole Hardman: 560 yards, 4 TDs
– Demarcus Robinson: 466 yards, 3 TDs
– Sammy Watkins: 421 yards, 2 TDs
QB Patrick Mahomes: 21/30 passing for 255 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions
QB Patrick Mahomes rushed for 1 TD
WR Tyreek Hill received for 110 yards and 0 TD
TE Travis Kelce received for 109 yards and 1 TD
Their opponents passed for 204 yards & 1 TD and rushed for 112 yards and 1 TD
QB Patrick Mahomes: 29/38 passing for 325 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions
RBs Darrel Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire each rushed for 1 TD
WR Tyreek Hill received for 172 yards and 0 TDs
TE Travis Kelce received for 118 yards and 2 TDs
WR Mecole Hardman received for 1 TD
Regular Season Team Stats
The following regular season figures are sourced from ESPN. The team with the better stat is highlighted in green.
YPG = yards per game.
|Points per game||30.8||3rd||29.6||6th|
The Chiefs have the better yardage stats but the Buccaneers scored more points per game during the regular season. What’s clear is that both sides are predominantly passing teams.
The Buccaneers have the better overall defensive stats, however the points conceded per game are very similar, with the Buccaneers averaging 22.2 points compared to 22.6 for the Chiefs. A cause for concern for the Buccaneers is they were only ranked 21st in pass defence and they’re taking on the NFL’s best passing team.
UPDATE (Feb 6):
The latest injury report is:
QUESTIONABLE: WR Antonio Brown (knee), TE Cameron Brate (back)
Both Jordan Whitehead and Antoine Winfield Jr. were full participants in practice on Friday.
OUT: T Eric Fisher, LB Willie Gay
QUESTIONABLE: WR Sammy Watkins (calf)
WR Antonio Brown (knee) and S Jordan Whitehead (shoulder & knee) are listed as doubtful. ILB Lavonte David (hamstring) and S Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle) are listed as questionable.
The biggest injury story for the Buccaneers is the health of their two safeties Jordan Whitehead and Antoine Winfield Jr. They can ill-afford to be under-strength in the secondary against the top passing team in the nation.
Left offensive tackle Eric Fisher is out after he suffered an Achilles injury during the Divisional Round. This is the biggest injury story for the Chiefs because it has forced them to reshuffle an already underwhelming offensive line.
Linebacker Willie Gay, Jr. is out after he tore his meniscus in practice.
RB Le’Veon Bell (knee), CB Rashad Fenton (foot), DB L’Jarius Sneed (concussion) and WR Sammy Watkins (calf) are listed as questionable.
Third Party Picks
At CBS Sports seven of the eight analysts have picked Kansas City to win and cover the -3.0 line.
At Rotoworld Hayden Winks has taken under 57.5 total points and the Chiefs -3.0.
At Sporting News the analyst predictions are:
Vinnie Iyer: Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 27
Bill Bender: Chiefs 35, Buccaneers 32
Mike DeCourcy: Chiefs 33, Buccaneers 24
Matt Lutovsky: Chiefs 30, Buccaneers 24
Joe Rivera: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 24
Billy Heyen: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 24
The ESPN Football Power Index rates the Chiefs as 0.7 points stronger than the Buccaneers on neutral soil. They give the Chiefs a 52.1% chance of winning the Super Bowl. Of the twelve ESPN analysts surveyed, ten have picked the Chiefs to win.
Pickswise rates the Chiefs -3.0 as a 3 (out of 3) star bet and under 56.5 as a 2 (out of 3) star bet.
FiveThirtyEight rates the Chiefs as a 53% chance of winning the Super Bowl.
In favour of the Buccaneers
- The Buccaneers are in season-best form with a seven-game winning streak coming into this clash. They have scored over 30 points in each of their last six games, averaging 35.7 during that stretch.
- The Buccaneers only lost by 3 points to the Chiefs in the midst of a slump in Week 12. They have already turned around two regular season defeats to the Saints by defeating them in the Divisional Playoffs. Of the 13 previous Super Bowls featuring two sides that had already played each other, only 6 were won by the team that won the regular season fixture.
- The Buccaneers offence is led by six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.
- The Buccaneers are playing in their home stadium and due to covid-19 restrictions the Chiefs are only permitted to arrive within 48 hours of the game.
- The Chiefs have lost left offensive tackle Eric Fisher to an Achilles injury. This has forced them to reshuffle an offensive line that already isn’t highly regarded. This may reduce the time that Mahomes has in the pocket. Tampa Bay pass rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett will attempt to put the same pressure on him that they did in the Conference Championships, where they sacked Aaron Rodgers a combined five times.
- The Buccaneers were rated in the top 5 for red zone offence this year, scoring a touchdown in almost 70% of their opportunities.
- While the Buccaneers’ defence has given up a lot of passing yards, they finished the regular season tied for third in interceptions.
In favour of the Chiefs
- The Buccaneers’ pass defense is their biggest weakness, which plays into the strength of the Chiefs, who have the best pass offence in the nation. This issue is compounded by the injury clouds over safeties Jordan Whitehead and Antoine Winfield Jr.
- The Buccaneers 24-27 Chiefs scoreline in Week 12 flattered the Buccaneers. The Chiefs raced out to a 17-0 first quarter lead and led 27-10 before the Buccaneers scored consolation 14 points in the final quarter. WR Tyreek Hill put up more than 200 yards in the first quarter alone in that game.
- Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes boasts excellent passing stats when under pressure, which partially alleviates the issue of losing offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
- The Chiefs have been the best and most consistent team this season. One of their two defeats came when they rotated the squad with the first seed in the AFC already secured.
- Both coach Andy Reid and QB Patrick Mahomes have excellent records coming off a bye. In his career as a starter, Mahomes has a 7-0 record coming off a bye and the Chiefs averaged 35.7 points per game in those seven wins.
- You could argue that the Buccaneers relied heavily on turnovers to win their playoff games against the Saints and Packers. Those turnovers gave them good field position and their quality red zone offence did the rest. Brady threw 3 interceptions against the Packers but was bailed out by Packers’ errors.
- Only one of the Buccaneers’ eleven wins during the regular season was over a team that finished with a winning record.
- The Chiefs had seven players selected for the Pro Bowl this season, compared to just one for Tampa Bay.
Super Bowl LV Betting
Head to Head
Of the two sides I fancy the Chiefs’ chances the better. I don’t expect them to provide the Buccaneers with the same quantity of mistakes that the Saints and Packers did, which was a major factor in the Buccaneers’ upset wins. The Chiefs have gone 16-1 in games that QB Patrick Mahomes has started this season.
The Chiefs have been installed as 3.0 to 3.5 favourites, depending on the bookmaker.
The Buccaneers have gone 4-1 at the line as the underdog this season and 2-0 at the line as the home underdog. The Chiefs, meanwhile have gone 4-4 at the line away from home and 3-4 as the away favourite.
Since their heavy Week 1 defeat, three of the Buccaneers’ four defeats were by margins of 3 or less. To show how crucial the 3.0 vs. 3.5 line is, 5 of the last 21 Super Bowls were won by 3 points but no game was won by 1 or 2 points. In the entire 54-year history of the Super Bowl only one game was won by 1 or 2 points. For this reason if you choose to back the Buccaneers at the line I recommend the +3.5 selection, even though you will get lower odds compared to +3.0. Likewise if you choose to back the Chiefs at the line I recommend the -3.0 selection. The drop in odds compared to -3.5 is definitely worth it.
Due to the prevalence of 3-point winning margins in the Super Bowl and the fact that the Buccaneers’ last two defeats were by exactly 3 points, I recommend the Chiefs in the head-to-head rather than the -3.0 line selection.
Super Bowl LV MVP
A noteworthy stat is that 10 of the last 14 Super Bowl MVPs were awarded to quarterbacks. The other four recipients were wide receivers (2) and linebackers (2).
Both sides are stronger on offence than defence with multiple attacking weapons rather than a heavy reliance on a single receiver or running back so it’s of little surprise that the quarterbacks are the shortest-priced favourites this year.
If the Buccaneers win, two long-shots for the MVP are Jason Pierre-Paul at 91.00 (Sportsbet) and Shaquil Barrett at 46.00 (Sportsbet). With starting Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher ruled out a key to Tampa Bay’s chances is the pass rush of Pierre-Paul and Barrett as they try to prevent Patrick Mahomes from linking up with Tyreek Hill & co. The two combined for five sacks on the Packers’ QB in the NFC Championship game, while Brady recorded three interceptions. A repeat of that result could put them into the frame for recognition.
First Touchdown Scorer
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill both lead the market at 7.50 (bet365). Of the two I prefer Travis Kelce given he has scored 3 TDs in the postseason compared to none for Hill. Hill did score three times the last time he played the Buccaneers but no doubt they will have worked hard in the drawing room to try and limit his chances.
Mike Evans is the shortest favourite for Tampa Bay at 11.00 (PlayUp) and rightly so given he scored in both the Divisional and Conference Championships to go with his team-leading 13 TDs for the regular season.
One interesting tidbit (thanks to Hayden Winks) is that while most teams opt to defer if they win the toss (so that they instead receive the first kickoff of the second half), in recent games the Buccaneers have opted to receive the opening kickoff. This means that regardless of who wins the toss there’s a good chance the Buccaneers will receive the ball first. This adds a bit of value to Tampa Bay players in the first TD scorer market (not to mention the first team to score market!).
Two cheeky longer odds selections are Patrick Mahomes at 21.00 (PlayUp) and Tom Brady at 31.00 (PlayUp). Both QBs have already rushed for a TD this postseason and Mahomes rushed for 2 TDs during the regular season while Brady rushed for 3.
Anytime Touchdown Scorer
Chiefs in the head-to-head at 1.59 (BlueBet). The Chiefs have gone 16-1 in games that QB Patrick Mahomes has started this season.
Travis Kelce anytime touchdown scorer at 1.62 (PlayUp). Kelce scored a TD in each of his last six games.
Mike Evans anytime touchdown scorer at 2.10 (PlayUp, Sportsbet). Evans has scored in 2 out of 3 post-season games as well as in 10 out of 16 regular season games. Evans scored 2 TDs the last time these two sides met and he scored the first TD in Tampa Bay’s last two games.
Tyreek Hill receiving yards: over 92.5 at 1.88 (PlayUp). Hill received for 269 yards the last time he played Tampa Bay. He notched up 110 yards in the Divisional round and 172 yards in the AFC Championship. Hill is taking on a defence that was ranked 21st in pass defence this season and that could have one or two safeties absent or at least hampered by injury.