Written By Billy Attridge
Despite lots of pessimism at the beginning of the season and many thinking Covid-19 would win its battle against the NFL, we have made it to February and Super Bowl 55 is just days away. Thankfully an excellent title game looms with the “Old Goat”, Tom Brady and his uber-talented Buccaneers’ squad against Andy Reid and the “Young Goat”, Patrick Mahomes. For this edition of Market Moves I project where the game will head both spread and total, and provide a few prop bets from my portfolio. I appreciate you hanging out with me this season and hopefully you’ve picked up a nugget or two along the way. Now onto Super Bowl LV…
Kansas City -3 Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Over/Under 56:
FanDuel sports book opened Kansas City -3 (-128) with a total of 57.5 seconds after the AFC Championship game concluded. FanDuel was also one of the few operators that didn’t come off the “3”; instead they adjusted their juice down to the current price of -120 on Kansas City. Shops that opened Kansas City -3.5, or went there over the last 10 days to help grab Tampa action and balance the book, quickly saw the hook disappear with an appetite for the Buccaneers +3.5 from professional bettors.
One of the larger early moves was on the UNDER 57.5 and 57, with the latter being a semi-important number in the totals market. We’re now seeing 56 at Fanduel and even 55.5 offshore, and remember, 55 is a key number. We’re expecting morning rain in Tampa on Sunday with a large front heading in from the West, and at the time of publication there’s a 45% chance of rain at kickoff. Wind is currently projected at 7mph with gusts reaching 12mph. Monitoring the weather situation is vital for how we could see this game play out from a side, total, and props perspective. My hope is for absolutely no weather, as we want to see who the best team is without unrelated football elements impacting and changing the game.
I don’t expect to see much movement on the spread, but the total will come down if rain rears its ugly head. If this number ticks back up to 3.5, there would be more Tampa Bay support, and the same can be said for an unlikely move down to 2.5, as we would definitely see some professional money lay it back with Kansas City. The “3” is so important; since 2015 NFL games have landed on that exact number 14% of the time. Because of that, it would take some kind of anomaly for books to open themselves up to a middle on the largest key number for the largest volume game of the year.
Props I have personally Bet and are in my Super Bowl portfolio:
A quick word on props before starting. First, wager responsibly and understand what kind of hold percentage the offering you’re betting into has. Second, line shop. The pricing disparity and amount of books that lag behind in updating their prices is staggering. Finally, and maybe the most important, If you find yourself betting similar type props that all correlate to the game playing out one specific way, like Kansas City in a blowout, or Tampa Bay winning straight-up in a low-scoring game, you’re possibly building a massive position on one side which could end up crushing you if the outcome deviates drastically. Certainly, many props should correlate to how you project the game, but my point is you don’t want to build a props portfolio that has every single receiver from one team going OVER receptions, yards, and touchdowns then a torrential downpour materializes.
#1 – Kansas City Team Total Over 30 (-105):
The full game total coming down along with support for Tampa Bay pushed this number into striking range. The Buccaneers got shredded by Taylor Heinicke, and Aaron Rodgers threw for 346 last week. Despite Tampa being given the “elite” tag on defense, they’re vulnerable through the air. If Bowles continues with his blitz-heavy scheme, that spells trouble for Tampa’s defense. Mahomes passing attempts sit between 40.5 and 41.5 depending on where you shop, hinting at what we should expect to see Sunday night: A Pass-heavy Chiefs attack. Kansas City has taken their foot off the gas many times this season, but with the likelihood of them struggling to run, if they do get ahead, they might not have a choice but to press the action. In the first meeting Week 12, Mahomes attempted 49 passes despite the Chiefs never trailing. In fact, Kansas City led by 17 in the 4th quarter. If by some chance Kansas City is down in the second half, we could see a repeat of what happened in the Super Bowl last year when Mahomes exploded in the 4th Quarter. I would bet this up to 30.5.
#2 – Tyreek Hill Under 7.5 (-115) Rush Yards:
As mentioned above, I expect Kansas City to pass the ball at a higher rate than they have all season, though it won’t be shocking to see the Chiefs try to manufacture rushing yards. That said, Hill had 9 games this season where he didn’t reach this number, and the strength of Tampa’s defense is the speed their ends and backers possess from sideline to sideline. Offenses have also graduated to the “push pass” in front of the quarterback when trying to get receivers the ball as they motion across the field to negate the potential for a fumble. If Andy Reid decides to get Hill the ball behind the line of scrimmage, that’s the likelier method.
#3 – Tampa Bay 4th Down Conversion “Yes” (-120):
I’ll be short and sweet here. It’s the Super Bowl. Kansas City’s an offensive juggernaut. Buffalo provided the blue print of what happens when you’re conservative against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Any time Tampa crosses midfield they should seriously consider going for it on most 4th and short situations, there’s no need to wait until you’re behind. However, there’s another way to cash this. With the Chiefs favored and a high total, one could surmise that Tampa might trail late needing to play catch-up. Either way gets us there. I would play this up to -155 hoping Bruce Arian’s “No Risk It, No Biscuit” montra comes to fruition.
#4 – Highest Scoring Quarter Under 21 (-115):
This bet largely hinges on the game being competitive; allowing Tampa Bay to do the thing they should probably avoid doing against most teams: run the ball on early downs. The Buccaneers offensive line is a strong group that’s shown an ability to provide running lanes for both Fournette and Jones. On the other side of the ball we could see Tampa play more of what worked after the first quarter in the Week 12 matchup when Bowels went with a Cover 4 to keep things in front. If weather becomes a factor it’s an added bonus.
#5 – Mike Evans Longest Reception Under 25.5 (-115):
This is one you must line shop as prices range from 27.5 to as low as 23.5. I played it at peak but would be willing to play it down to the posted price above. Kansas City’s secondary is the strength of their defense, and whether its Bashaud Breeland or L’Jarius Sneed who draws the match-up, one thing we know is that it’s a clear upgrade from Packers corner Kevin King. Jabs aside, Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo has done well defending outside receivers, and Spags also understands the importance of pressuring Brady to keep him off his spots. We should see more dump-offs to tight ends and running backs than deep shots to Evans.
Worth a Nibble: Cameron Brate ANY TIME Touchdown (+370)