It’s officially Super Bowl Sunday, and there’s not much time left to place your bets for the big game. Just hours ahead of the game, the Chiefs are favored -3 with odds at -113, while the Bucs sit at +3 at -108.
ATS Pick: Bucs +3
There’s only one thing scarier than betting against Tom Brady on any given Sunday, and that’s betting against Patrick Mahomes. In Super Bowl 55, we’ll get to see two of the greatest quarterbacks of the era go head-to-head in what hopes to be one of the most entertaining Super Bowls in the modern era. These teams just competed in Week 12 of the 2020 season, but there are several differences this time around that have me leaning toward the Bucs at +3.
First and foremost, we have to point out the health of some key playmakers. At the Chiefs-Bucs Week 12 matchup, the Buccaneers were without DT Vita Vea, a key playmaker for their defense. He’s been a monumental asset in stopping the run, allowing one fewer yard-per carry to opposing rushers. His presence on the defensive line will only help to open more lanes for the Bucs myriad of other playmakers on defense, including Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndomakung Suh and Devin White. This unit has held the Saints and Packers, ranked seventh and first in offensive DVOA, to 20 and 26 points, respectively.
The Chiefs, conversely, were a bit healthier back in Week 12. Since these teams last met, we’ve seen a number of key players take a hit — most notably, Patrick Mahomes, who has been managing a turf toe injury since their Divisional Round matchup against the Browns. Though he was left off of the final injury report, Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Mahomes is likely to require offseason surgery for the injury, indicating that he surely is operating at less than 100%.
Mahomes hasn’t played as well as he started the season as of late, either. Though he’s looking to clinch his 13th straight win in this SB game, it’s worth noting that he’s lacked as much consistency as he displayed early on. In his first eight games of 2020, Mahomes had an average passer rating of 115 to accompany his 21 passing TDs and 1 INT. In his last eight games played, however, Mahomes, despite the wins, has seen a small dip in performance— averaging a passer rating of 102.7 while totaling 17 passing TDs and 5 INTs.
Though it’s never a sure thing to bet against Patrick Mahomes, I think the benefit of a home game, health, and a number of defensive playmakers could be what helps the Bucs cover the spread in Super Bowl 55.
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