Here we go! The biggest sporting event of the season is here, as the Chiefs who’re looking to go back to back travel to Tampa to take on Tom Brady and the Bucs who make history as the first team to play in a Super Bowl at their home stadium. Will Mahomes and the Chiefs run it back or will Brady hoist the Lombardi for the 7th time as the Bucs claim the second Super Bowl win?
The Chiefs secured their place in back to back Super Bowls with a dominant performance on both Offense and Defense against the previously red hot Buffalo Bills. Patrick Mahomes was at his usual brilliant best as he carved up the Bills Defense to the tune of 325 passing yards, 3 TD’s and yet another game without an interception thrown, Mahomes has only thrown six INT’s this season, those INT’s came in four games, and those four games came against only three opponents and has thrown an interception on only 1% of his pass attempts this season which unsurprisingly leads the NFL. The Chiefs Defense also did a fantastic job of containing the Bills with sticky coverage down the field, making sure Stefon Diggs had an uncomfortable night as well as keeping Josh Allen in check for a large part of the game, and whilst Frank Clark and especially Chris Jones were lucky not to face disciplinary action from the NFL after some of their actions during the game they succeeded in being physical and doing their job up front to match what the Linebackers and Secondary players were able to do, but in my opinion credit must go to Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (Spags) who for the second time this season dialled up a near perfect game plan to stifle MVP candidate, Allen. Spags has given Tom Brady trouble before, not only in the week 12 game between these sides that we’ll touch on later, but in multiple games throughout Brady’s career, most famously in Super Bowl XLII where as the Defensive Coordinator for the New York Giants, Spags kept Brady and a potent Patriots Offense to only 14 points as the Giants beat the undefeated Pats to claim a Super Bowl upset.
The Bucs defeated the Packers in Green Bay to claim the home field advantage on Super Bowl Sunday with a great team performance. Tom Brady got a lot of the plaudits for leading Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl but in actual fact it wasn’t a vintage performance from the six time Super Bowl winner as he threw 3 TD’s but matched that number with his INT’s as the Packers Defense seemingly adjusted well in the second half. Brady should have a full compliment of weapons on Sunday after being without Antonio Brown in the NFCCG, and with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette it is an enviable group of weapons at Brady’s disposal. Tampa’s Defense has been legit all season boasting the number one ranked run Defense in Football, but they have been a different level in the post season, still stifling against the run but also making plays against the pass with Devin White in particular impressing during this playoff run, and his partnership with Lavonte David is going to be an important aspect of Tampa’s defensive game plan especially when it comes to stopping Travis Kelce.
Let’s dive into the Week 12 matchup between these two sides a little, KC came out victorious at The Raymond James Stadium in that game winning 27-24, but that doesn’t really tell the full story as Kansas City jumped out to an early start with Patrick Mahomes taking advantage of some questionable Defensive play-calling as Todd Bowles elected to man up Tyreek Hill with Carlton Davis, but after seven catches for 203 yards and two TD’s in the first quarter that game plan was quickly rectified, unfortunately it proved too little too late for the Tampa Bay Bucs as the damage was already done and Tyreek would finished the game with thirteen catches for 269 yards and three TD’s. The Buccaneers offense seemingly found out how to attack the Chiefs Defense in the second half, after being outscored 20-7 in the first half they dominated the second, outscoring the Chiefs 17-7, and whilst you could put that down to the Chiefs taking their foot off the gas and struggling to take back the momentum I personally think it had more to do with the adjusted Defensive game plan from Todd Bowles and the Offensive adjustments made by Bruce Arians, Byron Leftwich and Tom Brady as they attacked the Chiefs where they’re struggle and that’s defending against TE’s and Receivers working in the Slot, allowing for Chris Godwin to have one of his best games of the season, and that Chiefs weakness is something I expect the Bucs to exploit early and often which will allow for the fun to really begin as we see the constant adjustments and traps set by both the Bucs Offense and Chiefs Defense in what I expect to be the defining battle between in this game.
We know the Chiefs are going to have Offensive success, they’re going to get theirs and its just a question of if you can limit them to a score in the high twenty’s instead of giving up 30+ as that’ll give you a chance but it’s also easier said than done considering the Chiefs have scored 30+ points in 10 games this season, but the Bucs have kept them under that total once this season and with their Defense playing inspired throughout this playoff run, with the Defense posting 5 Sacks of Aaron Rodgers in the NFCCG and importantly all 5 Sacks came when only rushing four, we know that blitzing Mahomes is asking to give up a big play so showing they can get pressure to the QB with front four pressure is extremely promising, especially when you consider the Chiefs will likely be without both of their starting Tackles, with all this considered I like them to keep the Chiefs under 30 points once again.
I’m really struggling to pick a winner here, The Chiefs are the best team in Football for my money and Mahomes having the opportunity to avenge his only playoff loss by beating Tom Brady in his back yard to run it back seems the most likely but only foolish men write of Brady and everything about him and this Bucs side feels like destiny, so whilst I’m worried about the Chiefs Offensive firepower and a Defense designed by a DC who’s already shut Brady down in a Super Bowl I still find myself here and picking the Bucs. I’d like to take 27-24 as the score and not pick a winner but that’s not how we play it at FBA so gimme the Bucs and Brady to win his 7th! Bucs to win – 29/20 with BET365
As for my best bet I’m struggling to look any further than Leonard Fournette or “Playoff Lenny” as he’s seemingly been dubbed by Tampa Bay fans, the Running Back has gone over his 3.5 Receptions line in three straight games (which all happen to be win or go home playoff games) and against a Chiefs Defense which gave up more receiving yards to RB’s than anyone else in the regular season I expect Playoff Lenny to see some action in the passing game. Fournette over 3.5 receptions – 8/11 with SkyBet
A few other stat bets I like for the big game are;
Rob Gronkowski over 2.5 Receptions – The big TE is a long time favourite of Brady and I find it hard to believe he isn’t more than just a blocker in the Super Bowl as he has at least 6 receptions in three of four Super Bowl appearances with Tom Brady throwing the football. The Chiefs also allowed the 5th most yards to TE’s in the NFL this season with Gronk having his best game of the season in the week 12 meeting with 6 receptions for over 105 yards. Gronk over 2.5 receptions – 10/11 with William Hill
Ronald Jones over 8.5 Rushing Attempts – RoJo has had 9 or more rushing attempts in seven straight games and in a game where scoring points is important but keeping Mahomes and Co off the field is just as important I can see the Bucs keeping the Offense somewhat balanced and testing a Chiefs run defense which hasn’t been the best this season, If this game is close, as most Super Bowl games are then this should hit relatively easily.
Patrick Mahomes over 28.5 Pass Completions – The best passer in the game completed 37 passes in the week 12 game against the Bucs and with the Bucs boasting the league’s best run Defense I don’t expect to see the Chiefs get away from what works for them and that’s throwing the ball, there’s a chance if the Chiefs are blowing the Bucs out that the under hits but most Super Bowl’s are close games and with him beating this number by nine completions in the first meeting between the two sides I like our chances here.
And it wouldn’t be a Super Bowl without a fun prop bet or two so here’s our fancies for the National Anthem U/O & Gatorade Bath;
National Anthem under 120 seconds – This’ll either get the night started the right way or the wrong way, but everything points to this version of Star Spangled Banner going under 120 seconds. Firstly the average length of America’s National Anthem is 115 seconds and the last three Super Bowls have gone under the 120 seconds line, and this year we have a never before seen duet as Eric Church & Jazmine Sullivan will get ‘Merica in their feelings before the big kick-off, a first time duet between two artists who’re far from household names I would imagine their game plan is to get it done without any hiccups, short and sweet wins the day, It’s also worth noting that Jazmine Sullivan performed the National Anthem at the 2004 NHL All-Star Game and wrapped it up in under 120 seconds. National Anthem under 119.5 seconds – 4/5 with SkyBet.
Colour of Gatorade Bath – Orange / Purple – It’s crazy that we even get to bet on a market like this so It’s an opportunity to have some fun with it, last year I fell into the trap of “both teams wear red so it’ll be red Gatorade” That colour hasn’t been the choice in 5 straight Super Bowls so we’ll move on and I think superstition plays a part in little things like this so with that in mind we like Orange which is the most popular colour and the Chiefs choice last season, but with that being the favourite at 6/5 and maybe a little bit of a cop out how about Purple for your money? It was the colour when the Bucs claimed their only Super Bowl and at a best price 17/2 we like it for a fun punt.
That’s it! The last game write up of the season! It’s been a blast. Enjoy the game and hopefully we’ve provided some winners for you to make the game a little more interesting for the neutrals..
PREDICTION: BUCS 27 – 24 CHIEFS
BEST BET: Fournette over 3.5 receptions & Gronkowski over 2.5 receptions – 9/4 with SkyBet. 1 point bet.
NEXT BEST: Fournette over 3.5 receptions, Gronkowski over 2.5 receptions, Jones over 8.5 rushing attempts & Patrick Mahomes over 27.5 pass completions – 12/1 with SkyBet. 0.5 point bet.
The best odds for all our bets mentioned in the article:
Gronkowski Over 2.5 Receptions 10/11 (Betfair, William Hill)
Ronald Jones Over 8.5 Rushing Attempts 5/6 (Sky Bet, Bet 365)
Fournette Over 3.5 Receptions 8/11 (Sky Bet)
Patrick Mahomes Over 28.5 Passing Completions EVENS (Betfair)
National Anthem under 119.5 seconds – 4/5 (SkyBet)
Winning Coach Gatorade Shower Colour- PURPLE 8/1 (Sky Bet)