Super Bowl LV guide: Pick, preview, prop bets
The end of the long, strange trip that has been the 2020 NFL season is finally here. Super Bowl LV pits the Kansas City Chiefs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Bucs’ home stadium.
It’s a compelling matchup to be sure. The defending champion Chiefs and QB Patrick Mahomes look to capture the elusive back-to-back titles against the QB who last accomplished the feat, Tom Brady. Of course, Brady accomplished that with the Patriots back in 2003-2004, back when Mahomes was in grade school.
Old school vs. new school. Classic dropback vs. progressive RPO style. A Bucs team built to compete in pretty much any era against the hyperdrive Chiefs, arguably the fastest team in NFL history all over the field. It’s a game I’m interested in watching despite not being a partisan for either team.
Much of the media focus is on the QBs. I get it. The GOAT vs. the kid growing into a contender to be a GOAT challenger. Brady and Mahomes are both likable, marketable guys with considerable football accomplishments under their belts. But I see another facet of the game as the most important to the outcome.
The battle between the Chiefs defense and the Bucs offense is the most critical to deciding the game in my eyes. Can Tyrann Mathieu, L’Jarius Snead, Daniel Sorensen and the Chiefs secondary handle Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and the bevy of weapons at Brady’s disposal?
My money is on Mathieu making a big play, perhaps created by some pressure from DT Chris Jones, who has been quiet of late. Brady is more reliant than most QBs on getting strong OL play, and even though the Bucs unit has been better, it’s still vulnerable to the quickness and variability of the Kansas City defense. If Brady puts one up for grabs, there’s not a better player in the NFL than Mathieu at making the impact play on it.
I do think the Bucs defense could find some success at rushing Mahomes, especially without LT Eric Fisher in the lineup. But Mahomes can create outside the pocket with either his arm or his legs. That’s not a dynamic the Bucs defense can handle with their iffy back end. As much as I love Antoine Winfield Jr., it’s hard to see the impressive rookie doing enough to stymie the speedy Kansas City attack.
Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 28
One of the reasons the Super Bowl is so popular is because you can bet on pretty much everything associated with the game. Here are a few of my favorite prop bets (courtesy BetOnline) and how I see them playing out…
Will the Super Bowl combined team record of 75 points be broken?
Yes: +800 (8/1)
No: -2500 (1/25)
Even though I picked a lower total, it’s feasible this one could break the record. The payoff here is worth a small investment on “yes” even if it requires a lot of good fortune to happen.
Will the Super Bowl field-goal record of 54 yards be broken?
Yes: +200 (2/1)
No: -300 (1/3)
I like the “yes” on this one. Harrison Butker was 4-of-4 from beyond 50 yards this year for the Chiefs, including a 58-yarder. Andy Reid won’t hesitate to let him try the long one if the opportunity arises.
Combined penalty yards in game
Carl Cheffers is the referee with an all-star crew of officials that includes Sarah Thomas, the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl. Expect the officials to stay out of the game as much as they possibly can. I like the under.
Coach to have nostrils seen first during game
Bruce Arians: -200 (1/2)
Andy Reid: +150 (3/2)
New for this year! Two cantankerous guys fighting with their masks. I love it. Reid forgetting about his and pulling it down to yell in a play while hiding his face behind the IHOP menu he uses as a play sheet is where my money would be at.
Will “LeBron” be said during broadcast?
No: -550 (2/11)
Doesn’t this seem staged? Like, is LeBron James going to be part of a guest segment? Could The Weeknd be in on the bet and make himself a tidy sum by letting a “LeBron” fly during his halftime set? Something smells fishy here…I’m rolling with “yes”
Will The Weeknd first be seen with sunglasses?
Yes: EVEN (1/1)
No: -140 (5/7)
A quick image search on the internet revealed a return of 47 of the first 50 photos of the halftime artist wearing sunglasses. I’m only marginally familiar with him, so I’ll go with the results: yes.
Enjoy the game, the ads, the food and the halftime show!