Itttttttttttt’s Superbowl weekend! For the first time in NFL history there will be a proper home-team in the Superbowl with the Bucs playing in their home stadium in Florida. They won’t be allowed to fire the cannons but they’ll be comfortable in the surroundings.
As with everywhere the main image on the post if from @GCHaggis on twitter, awesome work as always
The Chiefs were the #1 seed in the AFC, had the bye week before seeing off the Cleveland Browns in a game where Mahomes left with a worrying injury in the 3rd quarter, fortunately it didn’t look like concussion and he returned the following week with a good performance to take care of the “Chiefs lite” Bills, with a fairly comfortable 38-24 win.
The Bucs have had a tougher run to the big game, they came in as the 5th seed, had a nice draw with Washington, but have been on the road for all three post-season games winning against noodle-arm Brees in New Orleans before a team win in Lambeau a couple of weeks ago. Brady threw interceptions but the defense stepped up to seal the win for them and bring them home for this.
I’ve done a ton of work on sportsbookreview.com this week if you’re interested, a value picks post, who’s the better coach? What’s Tom Brady’s legacy? Will Homefield help, and why the Bucs have ZERO chance of winning the Superbowl. – Obviously my stuff on here is usually tinged with a bit of sarcasm and me messing about a bit, the “professional work” is just that, a little more thought through and less swear-y.
I do of course have a couple of Showdown slates set up for the final, a $10 Top two paid, and a $5 entry top 3 paid, both 20 players, and will re-size if needed. If you’ve not got an account and fancy giving it a go, use the banner below for a free $10 when you signup and deposit $10.
Chiefs -3 @ Bucs; 56
There are some 3.5 and some 56.5’s so make sure you look around
Viewable on BBC, Sky (401, 407 and 106), Gamepass
So I usually go through team by team, for Superbowls I tend to go through position groups and match them against each other. What to do, what to do…ok, team by team then a quick “this team has the better unit” at the end.
Kansas City Chiefs
What more is there to say about Patrick Mahomes? He has been starter for three seasons and if it wasn’t for a Dee Ford offsides he would probably be playing in his third consecutive Superbowl on Sunday. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Network hasn’t been shy in his love of him saying he’s the best players he’s ever seen play and I find it hard to argue with that. The matchup in this game is fantastic, the GOAT vs. the future GOAT. It’s got all you could want from a finalé.
Mahomes has lost 9 games in his career, he’s still never lost a game by more than one-score, so at the age of 25 he’ll have been to 2 Superbowls without losing a game by more than 8 points. That’s remarkable. He’s the most naturally gifted player in the league at the moment, can make passes that few others can and does it all with a sense of un-natural calm. Even after taking 25 yard sacks he shrugs it off and throws the next pass for 35 yards. He’s un-flappable and un-stoppable.
Stat-wise he probably would have topped 5,000 yards again had he been needed for the final game of the season, but was rested and finished 2nd in yards with 4,740 on the year, 3rd on TDs thrown with 38, he rushed in a couple of times in the regular season and found the endzone against the Browns in the divisional round game in the post-season. He finished the year with a QBR of 83.9 which had him ranked 2nd behind Aaron Rodgers.
Remarkably Mahomes was better when pressured than not pressured this year, on drop backs where he had less than 2.5 seconds to throw he had 77% pass completion, 18 TDs and just 1 INT, when he has more time than that in the pocket it dropped to 55%, 15 and 5. I’d imagine the Bucs will be blitzing a lot, taking advantage of a beaten up offensive line and that means quicker passes, and probably more scrambling from Mahomes.
There really isn’t a whole lot more to say about Paddy, everyone should know his greatness by now, and despite not being a fan of the team I’m honestly happy to see this become a dynasty and the Chiefs winning both games for years to come, they’re just so much fun to watch it’s hard to root against them.
The running back position isn’t quite as impressive. They drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the final pick of the first round last year, it was an interesting pick at the time supposedly “chosen” by Mahomes as a pass-catching back for him out of the backfield. He’s had an average first season in the league but his diminutive stature has made it a little tough to be a complete back in the big leagues, he finished the regular season with just 5 TDs in 13 games and I remember early on him having countless rush attempts at the goal-line without being able to get in. In fairness I also remember quite a few times him getting nudged out at the 1, so he might not be far doubling that TD line. His pass-catching was an area I expected him to excel and it’s been all right, 36 of 54 for 8.3 yards per catch, just 1 of those 5 TDs through the air.
Clyde missed the end of the season with hip/knee injuries and despite being active last week was second-fiddle, to Darrel Williams who took the place of RB1 in his absence, although Clyde did score a rushing TD his line of 6 for 7 yards isn’t exactly convincing. Williams though has run well averaging 5 yards per carry in the post-season and scoring at a nice price against the Bills in that last game, they went to him to run out the clock against the Browns after Mahomes went down and he did the job well.
I expect that Clyde will take the RB1 role back after his welcome back a couple of weeks back, he’s had an additional couple of weeks to further recover from his injury, although there’s probably a good chance it’s more of a split backfield between the two. Lev Bell may get a touch or two, I’m sure he’ll get a few snaps at least, and it wouldn’t shock me at all if Antony Sherman got a touch at full back.
I’ll do the pass-catching corps as a whole as it’s really two main men, Travis Kelce and tight end and Tyreek Hill at wide receiver, the ability of these two was highlighted impressively in the game against the Bills in the championship game, they accounted for 290 of the 325 yards thrown by Mahomes last week. Hill didn’t find the end-zone but his 71 yard run which was ended inside the 5 meant he finished with 172 yards from 9 receptions while Kelce had 118 yards and a 2 TDs from his 13 receptions last week. They really abused the Bills over the middle of the field with those two.
Kelce finished the regular season with the 2nd most receiving yards of all players, 14 TDs, while Tyreek was 2nd in receiving TDs with 15, and added a couple of rushing TDs as well. 203 yards and 2 of those TDs came in the FIRST QUARTER in the regular season game between these two teams where Hill destroyed the secondary and finished with a hat-trick of scores. They probably won’t have it as easy this week as the Bucs linebacker group is especially good, but the way they use both of them makes it tough to stop, Hill is probably the quickest player in the league when it comes to actual game-speed and as Romo highlighted in their games against the Browns, it’s not just using him downfield, they use him a lot in slants and crossers over the middle (his 71 yarder came from that last week) just get him quickly in space and let his talent do the rest. Kelce moves better than most for a man his size and gets open in the red-zone, unsurprisingly he and Hill led the team in RZ targets this season 22 and 23 respectively, the next closest for them was Sammy Watkins with 9.
Talking of Sammy Watkins he’s trending to being available for this game after quite a while out with injury, he’s officially on the injury report as Light practise with his calf injury, but I think he’ll come through it and he did very well in the playoffs last year, his deep catch in the Superbowl essentially turned the tide and they probably wouldn’t have won without him. Demarcus Robinson was on the covid list as he got his haircut by a barber who tested positive but he and center Frank Kilgore should both be fine to play having tested negative all week, he has contributed at times but has done very little in the post-season this year. Byron Pringle usually pops up with a few catches (yes I’m going to use that same joke every single time) he had 3 against the Bills last week, so plus money for o1.5 receptions for him is tempting, although he’s only had a max of 1 when Watkins plays.
Mecole Hardman is probably the one to look for in yardage markets, but he’s volatile, could be 3 catches and a rush for 100+ yards, or it could be nothing. He does get jet sweeps, he returns kicks as well, so it’s always a good idea to check his TD scorer price, he can take it to the house from anywhere and they showed last week their faith in him giving him the ball after he muffed a punt.
That’s about it from the offensive side of the ball, defensively the Chiefs are better than the numbers show. DVOA ranks them down at 31st against the run and 16th against the pass, but they always seem to make plays when they’re needed. Tyrann Matheiu was third in the league with 6 interceptions in the regular season, he made the pro-bowl and has had an interception in the post-season as well. Chris Jones and Frank Clark should be able to bring the pressure up front, Jones was the other defensive player who made the pro-bowl for them.
My main concern for the Chiefs is the loss of LT Eric Fisher to a blown achilles in the Bills game. It weakens a few positions on the offensive line as the RT probably moves over to LT, the RG to RT and then you’ve got to fill the RG spot. When you’re going against a pass-rush which was in the backfield for most of the game the last time they played it’s never going to be easy, with a pieced together OL it could be painful.
You can find TD scorer prices on oddschecker, I won’t bother posting them all here – They’re all quite short, obviously it’s expected to be a high scoring game and there’s a lot of weapons, the best value on the Chiefs for me? Probably Mahomes at 3/1 on Skybet and various others. If you think Clyde Edwards-Helaire takes the bulk of the RB work then 9/4 is reasonable, Mecole not a terrible shout at 3/1 either.
Player props –
- Mahomes – 329 (PP) up to 339 passing yards (365/Skybet/Hills), 19.5 (Ladbrokes) up to 23.5 rush yards (RedZone), Pass TDs o2.5 (4/6ish for the over)
- Clyde – 29.5 rush yards (365/Skybet/Hills) to 31.5 (Redzone) 15.5 (365/SB/WH) rec. yards to 18.5 (Redzone) – 1.5 recs on RZ (over at 4/9), 2.5 elsewhere (plus money for the over).
- Darrel Williams – 26.5 (365/SB/WH) to 29.5 (RZ), 13.5 (most) to 14.5 (RZ), 1.5 recs on RZ (5/7), 2.5 the rest
- Tyreek Hill – 5.5 (365/SB/WH) to 6.5 rush yards (RZ), 92.5 (Lads/RZ) to 94.5 (365/SB/WH) rec. yards, 6.5 receptions (under is plus money in most places)
- Travis Kelce – 97.5 rec. yards (Most), 7.5 receptions (under at plus money everywhere)
- Mecole Hardman – 26.5 (Lads) to 29.5 rec. yards (365/SB/WH), 2.5 recs
- Sammy Watkins – 35.5 (RZ) to 36.5 rec. yards (the rest) 3.5 recs.
- Byron Pringle – 12.5 rec. yards and 1.5 recs, only on RedZone
Tompa Bay Buccaneers
As with Mahomes there’s very little more to say on Brady than has already been said. He’s currently the GOAT, this is his 10th Superbowl appearance, in his 20th year as a starter, so he’ll have been to… er… calculator out… 50% of the Superbowls since he started in the league. Better than that he’ll have been involved in 18% of ALL Superbowls ever, 26% of all Superbowls since he was born. Unsurpirsingly he holds pretty much all post-season and Superbowl records. It’s safe to say he’s achieved quite a lot in his career.
He’s 43, he left the comfort of New England after the dynasty he created with Belichick and chose the Bucs as his location, they have a stacked roster and just needed someone safe to take them to the next level, Brady did that and more. He finished the season 2nd in passing yards, 3rd in TDs thrown with 38, and top 10 in QBR, it started a little rough with the lack of pre-season making it tough for him to form a connection and it slowed a little coming up to their very late bye week. But post-bye they easily win the remaining regular season games, and have racked up 7 in a row with a trio of post-season wins on the road. Brady threw for 19 TDs and 4 INTs in that span (3 of the INTs last game against the Packers)
The championship game against the Packers did provide a little worry for me, Brady played well first half against some terrible defensive play, but second half threw up 2 terrible INTs when under a little pressure and even the third was a poor throw behind his receiver. He’s had two weeks without his family at home between these games though, he’ll have spent all of that planning how to beat his nemesis Steve Spagnuolo (Chiefs DC) and figuring out the defensive looks coming his way.
Much like the Chiefs running back position, the Bucs committee is causing me issues trying to figure it out. For most of the season Ronald Jones was the RB1. He runs well and despite being poor catching the ball, he’s the better of the two main backs on the ground, but he was injured towards the end of the season meaning that “Playoff Lenny” had to step up, and that’s exactly what Leonard Fournette did scoring in all three of their post-season games this year, and catching at least 4 passes in each of them.
For me it’s similar to the last game, I think Jones is the better back and I think he should get more carries, but it seems my thoughts probably don’t match those of Bruce Arians for the Bucs. I can’t pick who will get more of the ball in this one, it’s 1a and 1b to me, with probably Fournette the 1a due to his third down abilities. My memory of their game against the Packers was to smash Fournette into the line on down 1 and 2, then let Brady throw for 13 yards on 3rd down with Fournette on the field. Every time they gave Jones a series to do something they were taking him out on 3rd downs, so they obviously don’t seem to trust him in pass protection. For the record it was 12-10 to Fournette in carries last game.
KeShawn Vaughn or Lesean McCoy will be the 3rd back, I’d guess Vaughn and McCoy being inactive, either way they’re not bet-worthy really, neither got a touch in the Packers game.
The pass-catching corps isn’t too much easier to figure out. It’s great for the team as a whole, but for us as gamblers it’s tougher. Mike Evans is the TD threat, Chris Godwin in the slot and Antonio Brown looks like he’ll be good to go.
Despite becoming the first player in history to top 1,000 yards in his first 7 seasons in the league there seemed to be more games where Evans had a TD or two and fewer than 30 yards than there were big yardage games for him. He finished the year with 13 TDs, good for 4th best in the league and has scored in the last two games they’ve played as well, 1 catch from 3 targets for a yard and a TD against the Saints is the epitome of my opinion of Evans this season.
Godwin and Brown are tough to figure out as well, both talented, and on a given day both could go for 100+ yards and a TD, but I’ve had no luck trying to place who will do it in any game and I can’t here. I’d say that Godwin will get the most targets of the three in the middle of the field, and should have a decent game, but because Brady spreads the ball around and generally aims for the open man it’s tough to figure out. Brown has been suffering with a knock but seems fine to go and will be looking for the Superbowl ring the Steelers couldn’t provide him with.
Outside of the main three you’re looking at the likes of Scotty Miller who socred against the Packers at a decent price, he’ll be the downfield threat for them probably get a target or two 20+ yards down the field. He’s got a good connection with Brady and I’m sure will be involved at some point. His line at 14.5 looks a teaser, if he gets a catch, it’s probably going to be over 15 yards down the field. The rookie Tyler Johnson may well get a catch, but he’s not one I’m looking at for much.
The tight end position seems at the moment to be a little more settled, in the last month or so they’ve been using Gronk to block more than as a pass-catcher. Will that continue? Fuck knows, I seem to remember him turning up in the last Pats Superbowl after playing largely as a blocking TE and putting up a big game. Cameron Brate has been good in recent weeks though scoring at a decent price last week, he’s had 149 yards in the post-season catching 4-4-3 passes up to last week. Gronk on the other hand has 2 catches for 43 yards in the playoffs. He may well turn up with a big game, but it seems more sensible to think Brate will do it.
The Bucs definitely have the better defense. They were ranked #1 against the run in the regular according to DVOA and 5th against the pass. A lot of the season was without Vita Vea a beast of a man who returned from a broken ankle last week to play against the Packers. He strengthened the rush defense which was already very good thanks to the likes of Devin White in the middle of the field.
The pass-rush has been good all year and was in the backfield all game last week with Shaq Barrett getting himself 3 sacks and 2 tackles for a loss, while JPP abused the LT all game and had 2 sacks for himself as well. They will be looking to do the same against a Chiefs OL which needs re-arranging after they lost Eric Fisher last week. They blitz the 5th most in the league, that’s not a good idea against Mahomes who is the best in the league in dealing with the blitz, so it’s going to be an interesting battle to watch.
I don’t rate their pass defense quite as highly, but CB Sean Murphy-Bunting became the 4th player with an INT in each of their first 3 playoff games when picking off Aaron Rodgers last week. Quite impressive as he was considered one of the weaker defenders in the slot this year.
Not a whole lot jumping out at me in terms of TD scorers, I’d say Cameron Brate again, but 10/3 isn’t exactly eye-popping value. Tom Brady can sneak one in but again, 9/2 is shit for him to do so – You can get Mahomes and Brady both to rush for a TD at 25/1 on Sky though which I put a few quid on earlier in the week.
- Tom Brady – 290.5 (Redzone) up to 301.5 (365/Hills), Rush yards – o/u 0.5, Pass TDs – o/u 2.5 plus money on the over.
- Fournette – 46.5 (RZ) to 49.5 (Lads) rush yards, 23.5 (Lads) to 26.5 (most others) rec. yards, 3.5 recs overs the fav. 75.5 (RZ) – 78.5 (365/WH/SB) scrimmage yards
- Ronald Jones – 35.5 (365/WH/SB) to 37.5 (PP/RZ) rush yards, o/u 2.5 rec yards, o/u 0.5 recs (yards better value on the over, Hills and 365)
- Mike Evans – 60.5 (365) to 63.5 rec. yards (everywhere else) o/u 4.5 receptions.
- Chris Godwin – 73.5 (365/WH/SB) to 76.5 (RZ), o/u 5.5 (everywhere)
- Antonio Brown – 41.5 (PP) up to 44.5 (365/WH/SB), o/u 3.5 (everywhere – plus money on over)
- Scotty Miller – 13.5 (Skybet) up to 21.5 (RZ), o/u 1.5 recs (plus money on over) o/u 0.5 rush yard at 5/1 (365)
- Cameron Brate – 28.5 rec. yards (everywhere), o/u 2.5 recs (over at 4/6ish)
- Rob Gronkowski – 27.5 (Lads) to 30.5 (PP) rec. yards, o/u 2.5 recs (everywhere)
You’d think after 3,500 words that I’ve have figured out who I’m backing.
I’ve got to say the Chiefs, but once again I’m aware of my bias towards them, they’re fun to watch and I’m happy for this to be the next step in them building a dynasty.
BUT the Offensive line issues cause my problems, and it’s never clever to back against Tom Brady especially in the big game.
I won’t be backing the line, but I think the Chiefs win and over.
The total isn’t much easier to figure out either, again I’ve got to lean over on it, when the Chiefs lose it’s close and generally high scoring, as above, the average points needed to beat Mahomes is over 30.
40, 51, 28, 31, 31, 13, 24, 32, 32 – That’s the points the Chiefs have scored in defeats with Mahomes.
So, summarised summary – Chiefs -3 and Over 56.
With so many markets on the Superbowl this is where you make your money. I’ve got a post up with a few thoughts already – #Superbowl Countdown; Early looks – I’ve not changed my mind on any of them, although the Bucs most rush yards has cratered, now Bucs -6.5 on William Hill, you can get Heads-up on it at 365.
- Scotty Miller o13.5 rec. yards at 5/6 (Skybet)
- Patrick Mahomes to have a passing TD in the 2nd quarter – YES – 4/6 (PP)
You’re looking at a lot of short priced stuff really.
Brady or Mahomes first pass to be complete, they’re both around 1/2. – I should be backing both, and may well do. Mecole (20/23) > Gronk rec. yards (RZ). Brate (8/11) > Gronk receptions (PP),
For a longshot I don’t mind Scotty Miller having the longest reception at 16/1 on Redzone (it’s 17/2 on PP)
Personally I will probably be fairly heavily invested in the game, there’s so many markets that it’s tough not to. There’s the few on here, I’ll try and get a Request-a-bet round-up out tomorrow, obviously there’s 1,000s of those around as well and will try and find some I think are value.
One I should mention before it goes – Kelce 100+ yards and a TD – 5/2 (Skybet) I know this is popular among some clever NFLUK Betting types and I’ve got on already. When his line is 97.5 at 5/6 and a TD is 4/7 it seems like value to me.
Right, job done.
Enjoy the game, should be a belter.
Thank you for reading through the year, tips weren’t great, but the previews were spot-on.
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