After a bizarre season of NFL football, Super Bowl LV arrives with mixed fanfare. On one hand, there is less buzz this time around, simply because of the logistics surrounding the event. On the other, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady are involved, and 100 million people will watch the festivities. In this space, we are centrally focused on the handicapping world and, after a reasonably solid season, Championship Week ended with a split for us. Of course, it probably should have been 2-0 (and we’re still cursing Kevin King and Green Bay’s defensive approach), but there is no time to talk about the past.
As usual, the menu of Super Bowl wagering options is vast and, while we could give out 20 picks, we’ll pivot back to our normal lane with five offerings. Before we get into the final card of the season, let’s take a look at where we are for the full campaign.
- Championship Week: 1-1
- 2020 Season: 51-44-2
Come get these winners.
Leonard Fournette OVER 3.5 receptions
The Bucs have two running backs, Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. and they split carries to some degree. It’s been a bit of an adventure trying to project Tampa Bay’s usage patterns when it comes to carries but, if there is one thing that seems clear, it is that the Bucs don’t trust Jones in passing situations, either as a pass-catcher or a pass-blocker. As such, Fournette is a bigger part of the passing game than you might think, and he’s exceeded 3.5 receptions in all three playoff games to this point. Throw in a game script that could require Tampa Bay to throw to keep up with Kansas City, and this is a prop that seems juicy.
Longest touchdown of the game UNDER 46.5 yards
Tyreek Hill is really fast. So is Mecole Hardman. The Chiefs are also terrifying and, of course, the Bucs could break a big play too. With all of that out of the way, this number is really high and people love to root for big plays. We’ll be rooting for the opposite and people to be tackled inside the 10.
Mike Evans UNDER 64.5 receiving yards
Evans isn’t a full-blown “boom or bust” guy, but he has a lot of variance. In short, if he beats this number, it might be by a lot and that perception (especially his mean/average outcome) pushes this number higher than it should be. Because we’re really betting on his median outcome, the Under is the side, and Evans has only exceeded this number in 7 of 19 games this season. It’s a little bit scary that the Bucs may be trailing and playing catch-up, but maybe they’ll throw the ball to Fournette instead.
Mecole Hardman OVER 24.5 receiving yards
I considered giving out either the full game or the first half total in this game. In the end, I’d lean Under there, but it’s not enough for a play. With Hardman, there is nuance involved, but he is explosive and could cover this with one catch. Hardman could benefit from a shovel pass. He could benefit from a deep ball. There are many ways to get this done. Furthermore, there is noise about Sammy Watkins making an impact but, according to play-by-play data, that would rub off on other options considerably more than Hardman, and he should be on the field plenty, all while Kansas City is slinging the pill.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We don’t like to be square in this space, so this pains me. I still think it’s the right side. If the number was 6, or even 4.5, it starts to get interesting, and there is the angle of home-field advantage (if it exists) in Tampa Bay’s favor. However, securing -3 with the best team in the league is the move here. We were square last week on Kansas City and it’s time to run it back. I will give the final caveat, though, that this would not be a play that would’ve made it into “Winners” on a normal week. The line is probably about right because, well, it’s the Super Bowl.