The 2020 NFL season has been one for the record books. Due to the ever-present COVID-19 pandemic, the league was forced to navigate some murky waters it had never encountered before.
Regardless, the NFL completed its regular season and three rounds of the playoffs, meaning the stage is set for Super Bowl 55 in Tampa, Florida, on February 7. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be representing the NFC, while Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are back in the big game for the second time in as many years as the AFC reps.
Online sportsbook Sportsbook has released Super Bowl 55 odds with the Chiefs listed as the 3-point favorites over the Buccaneers. The Chiefs are -150 on the moneyline and the total is set at 56 points.
For a different perspective, check out Scott Hastings’ article on why the Buccaneers will win Super Bowl 55.
Here’s why the Chiefs will come through for their backers and cash as favorites in Super Bowl 55:
|Kansas City Chiefs||-3 (-105)||-150||O56 (-110)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+3 (-115)||+130||U56 (-110)|
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Why the Kansas City Chiefs Will Win Super Bowl 55
Super Bowl Pedigree
Unlike the Bucs, who are making their first appearance in the Super Bowl since 2003, the Chiefs are no strangers to the big stage. Kansas City will be looking to notch its second Super Bowl win in a row after ending a 50-year drought in last year’s 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Mahomes, the Super Bowl 54 MVP, came on big time late in the game to lift the Chiefs to a come-from-behind fourth-quarter win. Mahomes is the favorite to win the Super Bowl MVP for the second year in a row.
The Chiefs have a major edge over the Bucs in not just Super Bowl experience, but postseason experience in general. K.C. is in the playoffs for the sixth year in a row, while the Bucs are making their first playoff appearance since 2007.
Chiefs Beat Bucs Earlier This Season
A regular-season contest and a Super Bowl matchup are two entirely different things, but it’s worth noting that the Chiefs already faced off against the Buccaneers in late November – a 27-24 triumph for Kansas City.
The final score makes the game look a lot closer than it actually was, though. Kansas City thoroughly handled Tampa Bay in almost every major statistical category. The Chiefs raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and carried a 20-7 advantage into halftime.
Tampa Bay was awful in the first half on both offense and defense. Tom Brady and company struggled to move the ball, converting on just one of five third downs. Mahomes, on the other hand, had 359 passing yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone. Speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill had an eye-popping eight catches for 210 yards through just two quarters.
Kansas City dominated time of possession in that game 36:47 to 23:13. Don’t be surprised if it’s a similar story in Super Bowl 55.
Chiefs Set to Take Advantage of Tampa Bay Pass Defense
Kansas City was the most prolific passing team in the NFL this year (303.4 passing yards per game, 7.9 yards per attempt), which makes sense given how much head coach Andy Reid likes to put the game in Mahomes’ hands.
The Bucs have injury concerns at safety, which could spell trouble given the type of deep balls Mahomes likes to throw – especially to Hill. Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting and slot cornerback Jamel Dean all can be burned badly one on one, making the Chiefs’ quickness at wide receiver a major advantage.
When Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was able to get pressure without blitzing against the Packers in the NFC championship game, it led to major headaches for Aaron Rodgers. Bowles won’t be able to send extra rushers to Mahomes and risk Hill being able to get loose everywhere like he did in November.
Chiefs Have Edge in X Factors
While names like Hill, Travis Kelce, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski will dominate the headlines going into the Super Bowl, there are a number of secondary players for both sides who could make an impact.
The difference is that Kansas City’s lesser-known depth players are healthier. Tampa Bay’s injuries have mounted as the postseason has gone on: WR Antonio Brown and rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. didn’t play against the Packers and their status for the Super Bowl is still unknown.
Kansas City’s wild cards feature WRs Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle. Sammy Watkins and Le’Veon Bell, two players who didn’t suit up against the Bills in the AFC title game, are both expected to play in the Super Bowl.
Special-teams units never seem to get talked about nearly as much as they should, but there’s no denying it’s an incredibly important aspect of football that can make or break games. This is another area where the Chiefs have an advantage over their counterparts.
Kansas City’s Harrison Butker is a better kicker than Tampa Bay’s Ryan Succop and has the ability to hit incredibly deep field goals. Tommy Townsend is not used much, but he’s one of the most reliable punters in the league and can pin the Bucs deep in their own half of the field if needed.
Hardman and Pringle are a fantastic return duo and are a threat to take punts and kicks back to the house.