Ultimate Super Bowl 2021 Chiefs vs Buccaneers Betting Guide
Adam Thompson | 8 mins
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Death, taxes, Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
For the 10th time in 20 years, Brady leads a team to the biggest event of the year in U.S. sports. He’ll aim to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their second-ever Lombardi Trophy – and gain an unprecedented seventh championship ring. He’s already the only player with six.
It won’t be easy. In his way are the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, who won the NFL MVP in 2018, just his second pro season and first as a starter, and the Super Bowl MVP in his third year.
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The initial betting line was split among NFL sportsbooks with a few putting the Chiefs at -3.5. Nearly all sportsbooks have the Chiefs at -3 now. The Over/Under is a robust 56.5, not a surprise with the No. 2 and No. 5 offenses facing off.
One unique wrinkle to the action is the presence of a “home team” for the first time in Super Bowl history. Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, is site of this year’s Big Game. Familiarity may be on the side of the Buccaneers, though how many local fans will be in attendance is debatable – the Super Bowl draws fans from around the globe and it won’t be a packed house.
Let’s take a look at how Super Bowl betting enthusiasts should be playing this one across the board, from spread and total to several prop bets ahead of the big game in Tampa.
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Super Bowl 2021 Moneyline Betting
The Chiefs are a slim favorite, just as they were last year. KC was -1.5 at kickoff against the San Francisco 49ers, and used a huge second-half rally for a 31-20 victory. Underdogs, however, have more than held their own. The last nine years, the dog has straight-up won the game six times.
The Buccaneers have been underdogs five times this season. They’re 3-2 straight-up in those games. Tampa Bay has won seven in a row. Kansas City lost just one game its starters played, a 40-32 shootout with the Raiders back in early October.
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Super Bowl 2021 Point Spread Betting
Tampa Bay was one of the NFL’s best teams as an underdog, winning 3-2 and covering in four of five, tied with the Steelers for the NFL’s top mark. The Bucs are also 5-2 ATS when the spread is three points or fewer.
The Chiefs, for all their success, have not been a good bet lately. They’ve covered the spread just twice in their last nine games, in the AFC Championship over the Bills and a blowout win over the lowly Jets. But they’ve also been overwhelming favorites most of the time. When the spread is under six points, KC is 4-1 ATS. The only non-cover in that situation: Nov. 29, when the Chiefs (-3.5) won a 27-24 decision – over the Buccaneers.
Favorites have covered the spread in three of the last four Super Bowls, but underdogs had hit in eight of the nine games prior.
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Super Bowl 2021 Totals Betting
The opening Chiefs-Buccaneers total would rank as the third-highest in Super Bowl history. The only games to post a higher Over/Under: Super Bowl 52 (57.5), when Brady’s Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to shock the Falcons 34-28; and Super Bowl 44, when Drew Brees and the Saints downed Peyton Manning and the Colts 31-17.
Offense is the trend in the NFL. The Over hit in both the NFC and AFC Championship games. These teams combined to average 60.3 ppg – Tampa ranks No. in scoring at 30.7 ppg (behind only the Packers’ 31.5), while the Chiefs were fifth at 29.6. The Over is 6-2 in the last eight Super Bowls.
Both teams rank in the top four in pass yards while ranking 15th and 23rd, respectively, in pass defense. But each has a unit that may bend but didn’t break much. The Bucs (22.3 ppg) and Chiefs (22.4) ranked ninth and 10th in points allowed – the combined 44.7 ppg given up is far below the Super Bowl’s O/U.
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Super Bowl 55 Prop Bets
Betting on the game itself is just the start of the biggest sports betting day of the year. Last year, roughly 400 prop bets were posted at online sportsbooks, from the typical NFL betting wagers such as QB pass yards and second-half total points, to items regarding the color of the Gatorade and even how many Instagram posts Mahomes’ girlfriend will make on Super Bowl Sunday (last year the line was set at 4.5).
And of course, there’s the venerable coin toss bet – truly a pick ‘em bet if there ever was one.
By kickoff, literally hundreds of prop bets have been posted, and it can get overwhelming to sift through them all and determine which can add a little bankroll to your Super Bowl and viewing pleasure.
There are a number of different types of props to consider:
Player props: How many yards (Over/Under a posted total) or touchdowns a specific player may get are available for the Super Bowl.
Team props: Total points in a quarter or half and which team will score first (or last) are examples of the many team-based bets available.
Exotics: These are the props that often aren’t available on any given Sunday but are saved for the fun of the Super Bowl. The coin toss, what color Gatorade the winning coach may be doused with, halftime show antics – these are among the dozens of examples that will be available by kickoff.
Super Bowl MVP: Arguably the most popular prop bet is Super Bowl MVP. Quarterbacks are typically the favorite – and they usually take the award, with the winning QB named MVP in eight of the last 11 Super Bowls.
Here’s a look at this year’s top Super Bowl MVP candidates (+5000 or lower) at DraftKings.
Super Bowl 55 MVP Odds
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5 Essential Super Bowl 2021 Betting Strategies
Consider the spread: A whopping 14.4% of NFL games since 2015 have finished with a final score margin of three points. No other margin is even close. The Super Bowl 2021 line is currently at 3. Depending on which side you’re leaning, a spread of 2.5 or 3.5 points dramatically adds – or decreases – the value of your bet.
Avoid the 50-50 bets: The coin toss is one of the most popular Super Bowl props every year, but betting on it is exactly what the sportsbooks want you to do. The chance of winning is literally a coin flip; with odds at -110 or even -115 at some places, there is no value in a game of chance.
Offense wins championships: For the fifth year in a row, both Super Bowl teams ranked in the top five in scoring. All 10 of them ranked in the top half in passing. Don’t overthink Tampa Bay’s top-ranked run defense or its 23rd-ranked pass defense, or KC’s 15th/21st rankings in those stats, too. These teams got here by scoring a lot and making enough defensive stops.
Punt on RBs for MVP: Quarterbacks dominate the Super Bowl MVP award, winning eight of the last 11 and well over half of all the MVPs all-time. Other positions can win, but RBs hasn’t been one of them. The last: Terrell Davis of the Broncos in 1998. Three linebackers and a safety had won it since the last time a running back did.
Don’t worry about game location: This is the first time in Super Bowl history a team will be playing on its home field for the title. But the Big Game brings in fans from around the nation, and the unique circumstances of 2020-21 add even less chance of a frenzied home crowd. Plus, the Chiefs went a perfect 8-0 on the road, so even a slight crowd edge to the Bucs likely won’t concern them. Tampa Bay, by the way, was just 5-3 this season at Raymond James Stadium.