Super Bowl LV is finally here on Sunday with a 6:30 P.M. Easternkickoff on CBS from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with six-time champion Tom Brady, are the first team ever to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium, and they take on Patrick Mahomes and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are (-3), and the game total is 56 points, with the Buccaneers a +140 moneyline underdog.
The Chiefs won 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium back in November, building a 20-7 halftime lead. Mahomes threw for 462 yards in that game, including 203 yards to Tyreek Hill in the first quarter alone. Brady threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those scores going to Mike Evans.
Kansas City Chiefs – Keep Mahomes Protected
The Chiefs offensive line will have a big challenge in this contest against a formidable Bucs front seven. Both starting tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz are out, as is guard Kelechi Osemele. The Chiefs shifted players around in the AFC Championship Game, and they’ve had two weeks to come up with a plan to slow down Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett, who combined to sack Aaron Rodgers five times in the Bucs NFC Championship Game win.
Mahomes will likely help himself, running when needed to escape and by getting rid of the ball quickly as he did against the Buffalo Bills. He was sacked four times in last year’s Super Bowl as San Francisco built a 20-7 lead before the Chiefs scored 21 unanswered in the fourth quarter to win.
If Mahomes can get the ball out quickly, look for wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce to be a big part of the game plan. Hill led the Chiefs with 15 regular-season touchdown catches, and Kelce scored 11 times. Hill had three touchdown receptions in the November game with 13 total catches for a career-high 269 yards. Kelce meanwhile caught eight passes for 82 yards as the Chiefs ran for only 87 yards.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Control the Clock
Sure Brady gets all the headlines, but if the Buccaneers can run the ball with Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, they will keep Mahomes and the Chiefs offense off the field. Brady was masterful in the NFC Championship Game, going 9-for-14 on third down, including seven conversions in the first half as Tampa Bay built a 21-10 lead. He will need to manage third down again on Sunday to keep the Buccaneers moving downfield and not pressuring his own defense.
Evans led Tampa Bay with 13 touchdown catches on the season, and he scored twice in the regular season matchup. However, his partner Chris Godwin caught eight balls for 97 yards in November while tight end Rob Gronkowski went for 106 yards on six catches.
In the three playoff games, Fournette has 211 rushing yards with two touchdowns plus 14 catches for 103 yards and another score. Godwin has 14 catches for 223 yards in those three games, while Evans has 10 catches for 173 yards and two scores. Tight end Cameron Brate has seen more of the action than Gronk in the playoffs with 11 catches for 149 yards.
The 56 point total is the third highest in Super Bowl history behind the 58 point total for the Patriots/Falcons game in Super Bowl LI and the 57 point tally for Super Bowl XLIV between the Saints and Colts. The Chiefs are 8-10 ATS this season, and the Buccaneers are 11-8 with two straight covers as the underdog.
Eight of Brady’s nine Super Bowls have been decided by one possession, with the Patriots 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII as the exception. This one will be close throughout, and the under is a strong play.
FREE BET: Under 56 points (-110)
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