The National Football League season is coming to a close and we are celebrating the crowning of a champion by making some Super Bowl 55 betting predictions!
Super Bowl Sunday is routinely the busiest day of the year for not only New Jersey online sportsbooks, but betting sites located in any of the growing number of states that allow legal wagering on sporting events.
There are a seemingly endless number of options to choose from when it comes to betting on this game every year. Whether you're interested in the coin toss, the actual winner of the Super Bowl, or anything in between, there is no better outlet than mobile sportsbooks.
Here, we'll preview the game itself and provide some predictions including the spread, total and a same-game parlay.
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2021 Super Bowl Storylines And Preview
What is the big game without a few storylines? With just one matchup to focus on and two whole weeks until it arrives, there's always room for narratives in the time leading up. Here are just a couple of the Super Bowl storylines and key factors in and around this game:
Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes II
This Super Bowl pits the greatest quarterback of all time (by far) and the best quarterback in today's game (by far) in what should be a wildly entertaining championship contest. Brady and Mahomes' teams have faced one another on four occasions, with each side getting two wins.
Earlier this season was the most recent meeting but the one we all remember best was a thriller in the AFC championship game two years ago, which saw the Patriots narrowly escape and go on to win Brady's sixth championship.
Mahomes is trying to follow in those footsteps and put together a legendary career on his own that none of us will soon forget. He's well on his way, also. But this game is a stepping stone to potential GOAT status for Mahomes, whereas Brady's legacy couldn' be more set in stone.
Brady Rewriting Record Books & Beating Father Time
Even before Brady left New England for Tampa Bay, he had put together a career for the ages. In 19 seasons he appeared in nine Super Bowls, winning six of them. But for some reason, 10 appearances in 20 years and just sounds so much better even though it's only the latest addition to a remarkable legacy.
Tom Brady, now 43, has been in the league for two decades and made the Super Bowl half of the time. Just let that sink in. Besides the Patriots, no team in the NFL has appeared in more championship games than Brady.
Tampa's Defense vs. KC's Offense
From an X's and O's standpoint, this matchup is the most interesting without diving into individual player matchups. This is because we've got the most dangerous offensive team in football against a defensive unit that has stepped up its game in the postseason and helped put points on the board in a major way.
We know what the Chiefs' offense is capable of, as we've seen it for multiple seasons. This year, they scored over 30 points on 10 occasions. In the AFC title game, they put up 38 points and probably could've had more. Against Tampa in November, Kansas City totaled 543 yards including 462 passing from Mahomes, who completed 37 of 49 passes and tossed three scores.
Tampa Bay has had the best one of the best run defenses in football all season and the numbers bear that out. It also was a top-five team in takeaways per game, but things have reached a whole new level this postseason.
The Bucs have forced seven turnovers in three games including six in the last two against Green Bay and New Orleans. They've made opponents pay the ultimate price for those transgressions by scoring 35 points off those turnovers in the past two games alone.
A big turnover and a subsequent score could be exactly what Tampa needs to win this game, but will the Kansas city offense provide that opening?
Tampa Hosting The Super Bowl
For the first time in history, the team whose stadium is hosting the Super Bowl is playing in the game. While it makes for a fun storyline, I'm not exactly sure how much of an advantage it really is.
The Super Bowl is more of a corporate crowd and it's not like fans of the teams are given a ton of tickets. Plus, Raymond James Stadium will not be close to full capacity for this game anyway. So while it's worth noting that Tampa doesn't have to travel and gets to enjoy the friendly confines, don' let this influence your bet too much.
Birth Of A Dynasty?
In the past three seasons, the Chiefs have appeared in three AFC title games, winning two, and are four quarters away from back-to-back championships. And if not for an offsides penalty on Dee Ford late in the fourth quarter of the 2019 AFC title game, we could be looking at three Super Bowls in a row.
Even if Kansas City does win, it would probably need a third Super Bowl to cement itself as the most recent sports dynasty. But Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes don' look like they're slowing down anytime soon, so I wouldn' bet against it.
Super Bowl 55 Betting Predictions | Chiefs Enter Big Game As Favorites
At the time of writing, the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs are 3.5-point favorites over the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at BetMGM, while the total has settled in at 56.5 points.
The 3.5 number is where things opened but it was quickly bet down to three points at many sportsbooks. BetMGM having a three-point spread strays from most of its peers but the truth is that with alternate lines available at all of these sites, it doesn't really matter what the spread is showing. If bettors want to buy or sell points for either side, that will always be an option.
Bucs vs. Chiefs Betting Picks | Super Bowl 55 Betting Predictions
For what it's worth, both teams are expected to be healthy. Tampa Bay will get Antonio Brown and Antoine Winfield Jr. back to get some help on both sides of the ball. Kansas City will get more weapons for its offense when Le'Veon Bell and Sammy Watkins return, plus Mahomes has two more weeks to rest up his turf toe injury.
So if both teams are all systems go, who wins the Super Bowl? Taking the Chiefs last February was an easy pick for us but admittedly, it's a bit tougher to call this time around.
Kansas City has made a habit of not covering the spread this season. Leading up to the AFC title game, the Chiefs hadn't covered since early November. Tampa Bay has won the last two weeks as three-point underdog and faces the same situation this week after covering nine of 16 regular season games.
How each team runs its potent offense against an inferior defense is of great interest. We'd expect the Chiefs to throw it around a ton and attempt to expose a mediocre Bucs pass defense. On the other side, the Bucs could establish its ground game against a mediocre run defense in Kansas City.
If the game plays out a bit how we expect, we lean toward the defending champs going back-to-back. And since the 3.5-point spread leaves an opening to Kansas City to win but not cover, we're buying down the half-point just in case.
The Bucs' line has done an excellent job keeping Brady clean and the Chiefs were an awful red-zone defense this year, but we're relying on Kansas City bending while not breaking. It's a concern, but the Chiefs stepped up in big spots throughout last year's postseason and on a couple of occasions this year as well.
Besides, the main thing for us is on the other side of the ball. Let's face it, this Bucs defense has been relying on turnovers all postseason long. Both New Orleans and Green Bay were excellent at avoiding giveaways during 2020 but that all changed once they played Tampa in the playoffs.
We'll credit Todd Bowles and the Tampa defense for that, while also making the point that we don' see a third team that does a great job at avoiding turnovers to suddenly start coughing up the ball in the Super Bowl.
A healthy Mahomes with a full complement of weapons is a truly scary sight. The Chiefs have proven they can flip the switch at any time and even with the Bucs having that extra juice that comes with playing in its home stadium, we don't think the corporate crowd makes a massive difference here.
The Chiefs win the Super Bowl again, and they do it by a field goal or more.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -3 (-120)
For information about additoonal betting options, check out our Super Bowl prop betting page!
Bucs vs Chiefs Totals Pick | Super Bowl Over Under Bets
At 57.5, this was the highest opening total for a Super Bowl in history. But in the time since this line was released, the number has settled at 56.5 at most sites including BetMGM.
Nearly everything we've seen from these two teams screams 'over' right in your face. There's tons of weapons on both offenses and we've seen these two put up points in a hurry. Plus, points are more fun to root for than stops.
With all that said, I still lean toward the under at 56.5 here, and would consider buying a point to cover another somewhat key number of 57. While turnovers and explosive plays could very well blow this strategy to bits, there are reasons to believe this one may not be quite as high-scoring as some expect.
The total closed at around 56.5 points when these two played in November, and there were 51 points in that contest. Even with 17 points in the first quarter, that game managed to stay under by a few points. Another thing to consider is the Bucs' strategy, which is likely to involve running the football.
The way you keep great offenses from putting up points on your defense is by keeping it off the field. The Chiefs dominated time of possession in the last matchup and won the game, but that will likely be Tampa's strategy this time around. The Chiefs' run defense is worse than its pass defense, and carving out yards with the run game is very likely.
This is the strategy that San Francisco attempted to employ in last year's game, which also managed to stay under the total. In the end, we think that eats some clock and forces this game under.
Pick: Under 57.5 Points (-120)
Super Bowl 55 Parlay Picks
Parlays are one of the most popular bet types there is throughout the NFL season, and for good reason. These multi-event wagers are exciting, they can provide a rooting interest that lasts all day, and they can be quite lucrative despite their difficulty.
But with just one game left on the schedule for this season, bettors won' be able to build parlays in their natural form. They can, however, create same-game parlays with multiple markets from Super Bowl LV thanks to several sites that offer them including FanDuel Sportsbook.
Same-game parlays are perfect for days like Super Bowl Sunday, where there's only one game on and bettors are seeking some long odds. These bets enable you to put multiple markets into the same wager, enhancing the potential payout with each added event and providing several points of interest throughout the game.
In many cases, a low risk can mean a big reward, and it's a great way to enjoy the last game of the season as a champion is crowned.
Photo Credit: Associated Press