The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are 3-point betting favorites against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. The Big Game is set for Sunday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. While the Buccaneers are the first team to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium, the Chiefs are the official home team as the AFC representatives. Below, we’ll break down the Buccaneers-Chiefs matchup and make our betting picks for the Super Bowl LV point spread based on the odds and lines at the top US sportsbooks.
The Chiefs went 14-2 in the regular season coming off their 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. They earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed and a first-round bye; they then beat the Cleveland Browns 22-17 in the divisional round and crushed the Buffalo Bills 38-24 in the AFC Championship. The Buccaneers went 11-5 in the regular season and entered the playoffs fifth in the NFC; they beat the Washington Football Team 31-23 and rival New Orleans Saints 30-20, en route to a 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.
Let’s dive into the Super Bowl LV point spread. We’ll look at the betting odds and on-field matchup before making our picks to cover the 3-point line.
Buccaneers vs. Chiefs Super Bowl point spread
The Super Bowl point spread opened at 3 points when the matchup was first set. Seventy-seven percent of early bets and 78% of the money had been wagered on the Chiefs by the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 25, at DraftKings Sportsbook. Those splits dropped to just 42% of total bets but still 71% of the money by Friday afternoon. BetMGM Sportsbook reported similar numbers into Tuesday, Jan. 26, with 80% of the money on the Chiefs at -3.5; the line remained there through Friday afternoon. Eighty-three percent of the handle and 71% of bets were on the Chiefs (-3) at FanDuel Sportsbook by Friday morning. PointsBet reported 80% of bets and 88% of the handle on the Chiefs as of Friday evening; yet, their line dropped from 3.5 to 3.
Tampa Bay was 11-8 against the spread, including the playoffs; it covered by an average of 4.2 points per game. Kansas City was 8-10 ATS but with a plus-0.1 margin. The Chiefs covered as 3-point favorites in their 14-point beatdown of the Bills after failing to cover as 7.5-point favorites against the Browns. The Buccaneers covered spreads of 2.5 and 3 points as underdogs against the Saints and Packers, respectively. They failed to cover as 10-point favorites against QB Taylor Heinicke and Washington in the NFC Wild Card Round.
The case for the Chiefs (-3)
The Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium in Week 12. Reigning Super Bowl MVP QB Patrick Mahomes went 37-for-49 through the air for 462 yards and three touchdowns. WR Tyreek Hill caught 13 of 15 targets for 269 yards and three touchdowns, as the Chiefs took a 27-10 lead into the fourth quarter. Rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 37 of the Chiefs’ meager 87 rushing yards as a team.
Kansas City will again need to lean on the Mahomes-led passing attack against the Bucs. Football Outsiders graded Tampa Bay’s defense No. 1 against the rush, and the Bucs were second by ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate. Edwards-Helaire ran for just seven yards on six carries but managed to score a touchdown last week in his first game since Week 15. RB Darrel Williams led the Chiefs’ backfield with 52 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Keeping the ball in Mahomes’ hands worked in Week 12 and has more often than not since the start of the 2018 season. TE Travis Kelce, who has three touchdowns and 227 yards in the postseason, will look to exploit weaknesses against a Bucs defense ranked 18th by third-down and 21st by red-zone conversion percentage. Additionally, Tampa Bay allowed 5.4 receptions, 52.0 yards, and 0.6 touchdowns per game to TEs.
The case for the Buccaneers (+3)
Six-time Super Bowl champion QB Tom Brady threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns but with two picks against the Chiefs in Week 12. RB Ronald Jones II ran for 66 yards and caught a touchdown. TE Rob Gronkowski had a team-high 106 receiving yards on six receptions; WR Mike Evans caught a pair of touchdowns.
The Bucs succeeded in making the Chiefs one-dimensional last time around; unfortunately, they eliminated the wrong dimension. The Tampa Bay pass rush, ranked fifth by ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate and second by Pro Football Focus’ pressure rate, got to Mahomes for just two sacks in Week 12. The Bucs were able to sack Packers QB Aaron Rodgers five times for 32 yards in the NFC Championship.
Tampa Bay will need to get Jones and RB Leonard Fournette involved in order to drain the clock. The backfield duo, led by Fournette, combined for 22 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. They were limited to just 12 total carries in the first go around with KC. The Chiefs were graded 23rd by PFF, 31st by Football Outsiders, and 26th by ESPN against the rush.
Super Bowl point spread: Our pick to win
Kansas City -3 is the point spread pick for Super Bowl LV. Mahomes’ efficiency in the passing game, especially with quality matchups for both Hill and Kelce, will once again eliminate the Bucs’ rushing attack. With the defense focused on Mahomes late in the game, head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will scheme up plays for Edwards-Helaire to foil any comeback attempts from Brady, much like they did with RB Damien Williams against the Niners last year. This is where the Packers failed last week, as the backfield totaled just 67 rushing yards.
The Buccaneers +1.5 should be backed on the 1st-quarter spread. Brady and head coach Bruce Arians will lean on the ground game while trying to keep Mahomes off the field. It’ll take just a single score in the first 15 minutes to stay within a point.
Chiefs -2.5 is the play on the first-half line. The Chiefs scored on four of six first-half drives in the Week 12 meeting in Tampa. The Bucs started with four consecutive punts with a single first down.