Super Bowl LV Total Pick

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Date: 
February 7, 6:30 PM EST
Location:
TV:

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
KC -3/ TB +3
Moneyline: 
Chiefs -162/Bucs +142
Total: 
56un -112

As of press time, the total for the Chiefs-Buccaneers Super Bowl game is a robust 56 points. Incidentally, only three Super Bowls have ever featured a higher total. There was the Saints-Colts Super Bowl of a decade ago with a 57-point total that went under with the Saints winning, 31-17. Another high-point total Super Bowl went over several seasons ago, back in that Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl, when they eclipsed the 57-point total in a 34-28 game. But two Bowls back, the Patriots-Rams game (57.5 points) ended up only 13-3. Either way, Super Bowl LV's total is a tough bet where one might feel torn, with viable cases being able to be made for both the "over” and the under.” Let's try to get on the right side!

Is Offense Too Obvious?

In other words, how much betting success lies in making the obvious observation? You have a pair of teams that have a ton of offense. They are each led by two of the biggest names in the business with last season's Super Bowl MVP in Patrick Mahomes and the most illustrious postseason QB of all-time in Tom Brady. Naturally, that would incline people to picture a high-scoring game, and "over" would be the default knee-jerk reaction.

In all truth—that might not be the wrong pick. Both teams run deep in the category of offensive firepower, and therefore, a touchdown per quarter scoring pace is hardly out of the question. Both defenses certainly have their moments and make a lot of plays but are by no means impenetrable. Still, a "damn the torpedoes" approach on the "over" rings of a play a casual fan would make, and this isn't a time of the year where bookies generally pay off moves generated by non-exclusive insight such as simply noting that these teams have a lot of offense.

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Obstacles to an "Over" Pick

Again, no one should register any shock if these teams turn it loose and surpass this total early in the fourth quarter. That outcome is definitely on the table. At the same time, a 56-point total isn't always going to be a cinch. It's going to require both teams to have a lot of offense. A 45-10 win isn't going to cut it. Both teams have to carry that load. And while it looks to be a competitive game with two offensively-inclined teams, Super Bowls often don't follow the script.

As previous Super Bowl games have taught us, we often picture a 60-minute explosion, only to find there to be a lot of lulls. The game can start off, and everybody is tight. A few punts, a turnover in the red-zone, and next thing you know, it's 3-0 early in the second quarter, and your "over" 56 points bet is in massive peril. The same thing can happen in the middle of either half, where untimely penalties on big plays, a pick here, a fumble there, or a few drives going deep and ending in field goals really spoil things for you.

Defensive Playmaking

Cumulatively, the overall defense in this game might just be average. For all the big-name players on both defenses, the results have been mixed this season from a stoutness standpoint. The uneven work of Tampa's corners this season would tend to raise the alarm against Mahomes and his vertical weaponry. And with the Chiefs being either average or below average in most major defensive areas, that would seem to be music to Tom Brady's ears.

It's easy, however, to let certain stats tell a story about two defenses that have actually played a big role in getting their respective teams to this spot. Both of these defensive units are among the most adept at getting turnovers. The Bucs have seven of them in this postseason, with Sean Murphy-Bunting having three picks. The Chiefs have a couple picks this postseason, and with ball-hawks like Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorensen, and L'Jarius Sneed, along with Brady having three picks in his last game, that possibility also looms. And all of it has a way of stifling offense in a major way.

This season, the Chiefs have won a slew of tight games. The Bucs' defense perhaps had a wider range, but were better overall from a stoutness standpoint. For the most part, these defenses are able to dial up the right recipe when the situation is at its most dire. The Bucs' front-seven can apply a mean pass-rush. The Chiefs' is more-sporadic, but their best players tend to step up in the game's biggest moments.

Chiefs vs. Bucs Super Bowl 55 O/U Prediction

On paper, a pick on the “under” may seem counterintuitive, with the biggest offensive sparkplug in the sport in Mahomes taking on the best big-game QB of all-time in Brady. Something just tells me the game will be slightly more subdued than what some are envisioning. For what it's worth, this pair of quarterbacks have gone under seven times in ten combined Super Bowl appearances. I picture enough turnovers, red-zone stoppages, untimely penalties, and overall defensive resistance to make getting to 56 points an uphill battle in this game.

Free Pick: 
I'm betting that the Chiefs-Buccaneers Super Bowl game goes “under” 56 points.
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