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February 07, 2021

Five over/unders for Super Bowl LV

NFL Super Bowl LV
Patrick-Mahomes-Chiefs-Bucs_012521_usat Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes drops back to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this season at Raymond James Stadium.

It's finally game day and if you are a football fan you've no doubt been privy to thousands and thousands of words spilled trying to predict, make sense of, or make you money off of the Buccaneers and Chiefs matchup, which kicks off Sunday evening. 

And whether you're waiting until the last minute to place your bet, make your pick, or get up to speed with the storylines surrounding Tom Brady's duel with Patrick Mahomes, it can never hurt to have a little more reading material to help engrain just a little more appreciation and intrigue before Super Bowl LV is broadcast to hundreds of millions of televisions worldwide.

As we did all season long for the Eagles, we've thrown together five over/under takes for the big game. Currently, the Chiefs are 3-point favorites, according to TheLines.com

Now, for the very last time this season, let's take a look at some numbers to watch in this one, in the form of our five over/unders... 

[A quick reminder for those new to our over/unders: Unless it's explicitly stated, these are my own over/unders based on how I think the players/teams will perform on Sunday — and the advice that follows is where I would put my money if I had to. They are not all actual numbers you can bet on, but we'll let you know when they are.]

Total points: 56

That's the current total being offered over at DraftKings, according to TheLines.com. If you look at the numbers, there is a strong argument for the over. These teams combined for over 60 points per game combined during the regular season — the Bucs were 2nd in the NFL at 30.7 and the Chiefs 5th at 29.6. 

Still, this is the third highest line in Super Bowl history and the last two title games featured relatively high over/under totals and hit the under. Historically there is really no pattern with Super Bowl scoring, with 26 games hitting the under, 24 hitting the over and two pushes since the game has featured the over/under metric. 

It's also worth noting that the Bucs have the 8th best scoring defense in the NFL and the Chiefs have the 11th — two pretty solid but not elite defensive unites trying to slow down high powered offenses. As they always do, the sports books have made this one tough, and overs are more fun to root for — but I think the defenses are a bit underrated and will make an impact in this one.

UNDER.

Total players attempting a pass: 2.5

During the regular season, the Chiefs ran four trick plays that saw Travis Kelce (twice), Sammy Watkins and punter Tommy Townsend throw passes. The Bucs have not run a play like that all season or postseason. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is known for his trickery, and while Tampa head coach Bruce Arians isn't exactly known for dialing up strange looks, he has been known to call a flea flicker every now and then.

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So will this translate into someone who is not Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes throwing a pass in the Super Bowl? This bet, offered by some sports books, will hit the over if there is an injury and a backup throws a pass as well as a trick play. With both teams spending two weeks planning on how to defend one another, and after these teams played once already this season in Week 12, both coaching staffs will be trying their best to do something different to throw their opponents off guard — which is why a trick play is something we expect to see.

OVER.

Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill combined yards: 180.5

Kelce and Hill were two of the top receivers in all of football in 2020, combining for 2,693 receiving yards this past season — accounting for an insane 57% of Patrick Mahomes' yards in 15 regular season games. That percentage is even higher when accounting for the playoffs.

On the one hand, the formula for slowing down the Chiefs' high-powered air attack seems pretty straight-forward — slow down Kelce and Hill. On the other hand, one is a tight end who is re-defining the position, can outrun any linebacker and overpower any defensive back; the other is a freak of nature with cut-on-a-dime speed and the ability to turn a small seven-yard slant into 25 yards in the blink of an eye. The Bucs will have their hands full with this one.

OVER.

Truly memorable Super Bowl commercials: 2.5

Okay, let's leave the football field and have a little fun. The Super Bowl is known for being the most coveted airtime for advertisers every single year (a spot in 2021 reportedly costs $5.5 million), and even with more and more people cutting the cord, there is still a massive audience for the game across various platforms. 

The commercials, often times, are better than the game (though sometimes they're not). Recent years have seen some truly hit or miss assortments of ads, and by the time Monday morning comes around, they've dissipated in your memory. A select few remain the topic of conversation a few days later, like this one from 2019, which was broadcast as the final season of Game of Thrones was nearing its airing:


Because of the global pandemic and craziness of the last year, the thought here is that there will more than a few commercials that aim to inspire or tug at your heart strings. Here's hoping the commercials are good in 2021.

OVER.

Tom Brady Super Bowl rings: 6.5

Tom Brady was probably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game before he even surprised many by taking a new job in Tampa this offseason. He doesn't really need to do anything else, but at age 43, winning a seventh Super Bowl would certainly help his legend and legacy to grow.

However, he will not get a seventh ring — the Chiefs are just too damn good and Brady showed his age with three second-half interceptions two weekends ago in the NFC Championship game. This is not Brady hate, it's just a not-so-bold prediction that he will remain at six rings and Mahomes will continue his pursuit, collecting his second.

UNDER

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