The Super Bowl always comes with a healthy amount of hype and Super Bowl LV is well above average in that department with Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady meeting on the biggest stage.
Big names don’t always translate to big points, but in this article we break down the possible scenarios that would allow Super Bowl LV to go Over, or Under, the implied total. The total opened at 57.5 points and has settled at 56.5 at most DraftKings Sportsbook. We also take a the totals for each quarter, half, and for each team in the Super Bowl, to be held Feb. 7 in Tampa.
Case for the Over
Tampa Bay averaged the second-most PPG (30.7) this season and the Chiefs were T-fourth in PPG (29.6) with the most total YPG (418.3). The Bucs are averaging 34.3 PPG during a 7-game win streak with Brady sporting a 110.4 passer rating and 19:4 TD:INT ratio in that span. Brady has played in 4 of the last 6 Super Bowls and 3 of those games went Over.
The Chiefs give up a TD on a league-high 74% of opponent’s red zone possessions. They’ve played nearly every opponent close while failing to cover in 8 of their last 10 games. Mahomes is a wizard who keeps his team on the field with the second-best third-down conversion rate (49.5%) and Andy Reid’s play-calling has turned 71.4% of red zone opportunities into TDs over the Chiefs last 3 games.
These teams also play fast. Kansas City is seventh in pace in neutral situations and fifth in pace when leading or trailing by 6-plus points. Tampa is fourth in overall pace and third when leading by 7-plus points.
Case for the Under
The Bucs defense is incredibly talented, and they hope to have starting safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle) and Jordan Whitehead (shoulder) active for the Super Bowl. Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, and Shaq Barrett lead a LB corps that is athletic enough to contain Mahomes and help in coverage on Travis Kelce. Todd Bowles is an aggressive DC who could devise ways to deny the Chiefs on third downs and keep this game low scoring.
Kansas City’s defense is far better than it was last year, and miles ahead of the 2018-19 version that coughed up a 37-31 OT loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship. The Chiefs have the number one defense in two-minute drill situations, so Brady’s uptempo style might not be effective. That secondary forced Brady into two interceptions in a 27-24 meeting in Week 12, and at that point Brady ranked 31st in passer rating on deep throws. The Bucs best approach against the Chiefs D could be to run the ball early and often, which is bad news for the Over.
The Bucs are implied to score 26.5 points at DraftKings Sportsbook with the Under (-107) getting better odds than the Over (-122). Tampa’s been hot lately, but would not have scored 30 points against the Saints without Drew Brees tossing multiple cupcake picks that Mahomes is unlikely to give away. During the regular season the Bucs went 1-5 against teams with winning records and averaged 21.8 PPG in those contests. The Chiefs are 6-0 against teams with winning records, including playoffs, and allow 23 PPG in those contests.
The Pick: Bucs Under 26.5 points
The Chiefs are also expected to top their implied total of 29.5 points with -129 odds at DK Sportsbook. Kansas City has scored 30-plus points 10 times this season and scored 31 points in the Super Bowl last year against a 49ers defense that allowed just 19.4 PPG. Mahomes is completing 73.5% of his passes this postseason and was 37-for-49 (75.5%) passing with 462 yards when these teams met in Tampa in Week 12. If pressed, we would take the Chiefs to top 30 points, but prefer taking the Chiefs on the “First to 25” (-130) bet at DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Pick: Chiefs First to 25 Points
There are several bets to consider based on how the game might unfold. The biggest value that jumps out is a bet on the game having Over 3.5 TDs in the second half (+124 at FanDuel Sportsbook). These QBs have both shown a penchant for comebacks and Tampa averaged the second-most PPG (15.1) in the second half this season. Look at the Under on the implied yardage (84.5) for the longest drive of the game (-130 at DK).
The overall total for the first half sits at 28.5 points at FanDuel. There is extra juice on the Over (+115) and it’s an appealing contrarian play given the reputation of each QB as a comeback artist. The Bucs ranked third in overall pace in the first half of games and the Chiefs ranked fourth this year. KC is averaging 18 PPG in the first half over their last 3 games.
PlayPicks Take on The Over/Under
While the QBs grab all the headlines, each defense in this Super Bowl has been outstanding in recent weeks. Mahomes and Brady might not show nerves, but their supporting cast could produce gaffs and miscues that cost their offense in key spots. The Super Bowl has gone Under in 10 of the last 17 years and few of those totals approached 56.5 points. There are simply more scenarios in which the winning team winds up in the 20s and that almost certainly won’t get you Over this total.
Note that the total has been bet down to this point and is now seeing more action on the Over, which is typical in a high-profile game. Yet we’re fine fading the public and expecting a better defensive showing than the narrative might indicate.
The Pick: Under 56 or better