Breaking Down The Early Super Bowl Odds
By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports gambling analyst
Super Bowl LV might be better billed as the Greatest of All Time versus his heir apparent because all you’re going to hear about for the next two weeks is six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady vs. 25-year-old marvel Patrick Mahomes trying to go back-to-back.
The Chiefs opened as 3-point favorites at FOX Bet on Sunday for the first Super Bowl in which a team will have home-field advantage, with the total over/under set at 56.5.
I already bet the Chiefs, even at that number, and I’ll explain why.
Yes, the Bucs will be playing at Raymond James Stadium, and thus, they have the good fortune of sleeping in their own beds and eating home-cooked meals for two weeks.
There’s no way to quantify what that’s really worth, though. Remember, the Super Bowl is a very corporate affair, and it’s not like the stadium is going to have 90 percent Tampa fans.
To me, there’s something with much more value: These teams' Week 12 meeting two months ago.
Kansas City rolled in a bloodbath, but the final score (27-24) will make people think the game was close. That game showed just how difficult this matchup will be for Tampa, and that – plus one coach I’ll get to shortly – is why I’m all over K.C.
In Week 12, the Chiefs leapt to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter on the strength of Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. Tampa Bay made the mistake of attempting single coverage – Carlton Davis – on Hill, and Mahomes attacked him early and often. Hill caught seven passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the opening quarter.
The Chiefs mostly played with their food in the second half, but they still led 27-10 heading into the fourth quarter before two late Tampa TDs offered a deceptive final score.
Here's the other thing: Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles loves to blitz – second most in the NFL this season – but Mahomes is impervious to the blitz.
The Ravens, for example, attempted that this season. It was a colossal failure because Mahomes is so accurate (31-of-42, 385 yards and four TDs) and decisive. He finished top-eight in passing yards (1,226) and TDs (8) under pressure this season, per Pro Football Focus.
The best strategy is to rush four defenders and play zone, keeping the speedy Hill in front of you. The 49ers did that successfully in last year’s Super Bowl before wearing down in the final eight minutes as Mahomes delivered.
Spagnuolo’s Chiefs defense completely befuddled Buffalo’s efficient offense in the AFC title game, blitzing Josh Allen repeatedly and holding Buffalo to one touchdown in the game’s first 55 minutes. Allen was sacked four times and had a paltry 5.2 yards per play.
Tampa has slayed a few narratives during this playoff run. The Bucs became the first team in a decade to win three straight road playoff games and get to the Super Bowl, and they beat future Hall of Famers Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in back-to-back weeks.
What people aren’t saying: The Bucs scored 21 points off turnovers in New Orleans and 14 in Green Bay. Theirs has been a very fortuitous run. Mahomes has two interceptions in seven career playoff games (252 pass attempts).
The run for the Bucs ends at home, and my early guess at the score is 34-24 Chiefs.