Beating the Spread: Super Bowl Edition

Last Week’s Record: 2-0

Recap: We are on a roll here to finish up the season: from the Saints-Bears game to now, I’ve correctly called eight consecutive games correctly. This seems like an apt correction for my earlier disastrous 0-6 week earlier this year. So, let’s review this past weekend. There was a stat floating around the Twittersphere after Green Bay lost that Aaron Rodgers in his career is 0-42 when trailing by greater than a point in the 4th quarter vs. a team with a winning record. Brady has 9 such wins in the playoffs alone (2 in the Super Bowl). Media alike has expounded on the prodigious talent of Aaron Rodgers and the ease he makes near impossible throws. 

Yet, his defense gave him the ball 3 times in the 4th quarter down by a score or less, and they came away with only 3 points. Brady was dynamite in the first half and hovered between shaky and downright awful in the 2nd half. Rodgers was more consistent, but never made THE play. This is not to say that Rodgers deserves 100% of the blame – Matt LaFleur made a ridiculously poor decision kicking the FG. It’s a risk against most playoff opponents, let alone Tom Brady, to give them the ball back. The Buccaneers after going up 28-10 just had to hang on to cover. 

The 2nd game was quite anticlimactic, as the Chiefs went on a 38-6 run after the Bills scored a touchdown after a muffed punt. Similarly, to the NFC title game, the game seemed to be decided by decision making at the end of the first half. When McDermott chose to hit a field goal, it seemed like a concession. When Bruce Arians (or maybe Tom Brady) decided to go for it on 4th and 3 and then ultimately score a touchdown to end the half, that felt like an early dagger for that game. 

Without further ado, I want to move on to my last call of the year, welcome to Beating the Spread: Super Bowl Sunday Edition! (Note: All spreads are as of Wednesday night on DraftKings).  

SUPER BOWL:

Buccaneers (+3) v. Chiefs

This week I’m going to provide 55 little betting nuggets/important facts to consider for Super Bowl LV – mostly about Brady and Mahomes. Forgive me if I’m being reductive, but let’s not kid ourselves on what this game is going to come down to – who gets the ball last. 

ATS = Against the Spread

  1. Tom Brady has a .769 winning percentage (230-69) in the regular season
  2. Patrick Mahomes’ winning percentage is.826 (38-8) in the regular season
  3. Tom Brady has a .750 (33-11) winning percentage in the playoffs
  4. Mahomes has a record of 6-1, a .857 winning percentage in the playoffs
  5. Patrick Mahomes has never lost a game by more than 8 points
  6. Tom Brady has never won a Super Bowl by greater than 10 points. The Chiefs won last year by 11. 
  7. Patrick Mahomes and the loaded Chief’s offense has scored 30 points in every playoff game he’s played to completion played
  8. This is the 3rd consecutive game Brady is an underdog in the playoffs, which has never happened before
  9. Patrick Mahomes has never been an underdog in the playoffs 
  10. This is the first time a team a team has had home field in the Super Bowl. 
  11. Tampa Bay is 6-3 at home, losing by 3 points to Kansas City and Los Angeles, and by 35 to the Saints. 
  12. Tyreek Hill had the most prolific first half a wide receiver, in terms of receiving yards since 2000 when these two teams matched up in the regular season
  13. Mahomes and Brady H2H are 2-2 with an average score of 30.25-30 in favor of Mahomes. Brady won the first two matchups – both in the 2018 season. 
  14. Mahomes’ only playoff loss was in OT to Tom Brady in the 2018 AFC title game. In that game, 38 points were scored in the 4th quarter and OT
  15. Brady has thrown an interception in five of the nine Super Bowls he’s played in 
  16. Mahomes has thrown an interception in only one playoff game – the Super Bowl last year
  17. This is the first time Brady has been an underdog in the Super Bowl since 2001 against the Greatest Show on Turf Rams. 
  18. Mahomes is 2-2 ATS against Brady H2H
  19. Mahomes is 5-2 ATS in the playoffs
  20. Brady has won his 6 Super Bowls by a combined 29 points. 
  21. In every Super Bowl Brady has played, there was at minimum one drive to take the lead by Brady. 
  22. Mahomes has only trailed entering the 4th quarter of 2 playoff games. He scored 24 and 21 points respectively in those quarters. 
  23. The Chiefs are seeing 72% of the bets on point spread, but are only receiving 59% money line as of Wednesday
  24. The Chiefs will be without their starting Pro Bowl offensive right and left tackles in Super Bowl LV
  25. Antonio Brown, Antoine Winfield, and Jordan Whitehead appear likely to be available for Sunday’s game
  26. Winners are 46-6-2 ATS in the Super Bowl
  27. The Chiefs are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games
  28. Brady is 41-17-1 ATS as an underdog which is the best record in NFL history (36-23 outright, also the best)
  29. Brady is 1-0 ATS as an underdog, 1-0 outright in the Super Bowl
  30. Brady is 3-5 ATS as the favorite, 5-3 outright. 
  31. If Brady wins this Sunday, he’ll be the latest quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls as the underdog, the last one being Eli Manning
  32. The last time a non-QB won Super Bowl MVP was 2018, with Julian Edelman taking the hardware
  33. Patrick Mahomes has the highest passer rating in postseason history, but his worst playoff game in terms of passer rating was in last year’s Super Bowl 
  34. Tom Brady in his 9 Super Bowls has 18 touchdowns to 6 interceptions 
  35. Tom Brady in the red zone this season has 36 touchdowns to 0 interceptions 
  36. Mahomes in his 7 postseason games, he has a touchdown-interception ratio of 17:2
  37. The spread has been bet down to -3, which seems strange considering a majority of bets were on the Chiefs, but this could be due to Chiefs’ health more than anything
  38.  A common strategy that could explain the spread dropping is that we could see a lot of bets on Tampa Bay money-line and have Kansas City on spread, since the Chiefs are -165 money line but -120 on the spread. This is to increase payout on the spread if Kansas City ends up covering.  
  39. Tampa is EVEN payout on the spread
  40. The last week, we’ve seen that there has been a lot of money on Tampa – 6 bets over $500K on Tampa which dropped the spread on Sunday to -3 from -3.5
  41. Patrick Mahomes’ QBR when under pressure would be the highest in the league (under pressure or no pressure)
  42. Brady will have started in twice as many Super Bowls as any other quarterback
  43. Mahomes has already been to as many Super Bowls as Brett Favre and more than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Dan Marino, and Steve Young. 
  44. Tom Brady has now made the Super Bowl in 5 of 6 years
  45. The Chiefs are looking to be the first repeat champions since the 03-04 Patriots. 
  46. Mahomes joins Brady and Russell Wilson has quarterbacks who made back to back Super Bowls this century
  47. Andy Reid has never defeated a Tom Brady-led team in the postseason 
  48. This is probably Brady’s best pure receiving core he’s taken to the Super Bowl, but it’s likely not one of his top defenses (03-04 and 14 were ferocious)
  49. Mahomes in his matchups versus Brady has thrown for 11 touchdowns to 3 interceptions and nearly 350 yards per game
  50. Brady in his matchups versus Mahomes has thrown for 6 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and 300 yards per game
  51. The Buccaneers defense has had a pick in all 3 playoff games they’ve played for 5 total
  52. The Chiefs defense has had a pick in both its playoff games for 3 total
  53. If Mahomes has a passer rating > 100, the Chiefs in the playoffs are 5-0
  54. If Brady has a passer rating > 100, his teams are 16-1
  55. I’d watch the line, if it shrinks to -2.5 over the weekend before placing, but if your money is on Kansas City, watch the spread payout. That will go up as Tampa gets weekend support. 

I mentioned last week, a spread this close is almost a guarantee that the team that wins pushes or covers. In all likelihood, we’ve been talking about defenses and injured tackles for nearly two weeks now. It’s very rare that a matchup this good lives up to the hype. But, roster to roster, the Buccaneers have more talent. The Chiefs have the better top-end talent – Kelce, Hill, and Mahomes, and it’s going to take all 3 of them being special for them to hold off Tampa Bay. It’s possible, and maybe even likely that Kansas City ends up running away with it, but I’m not betting against Tom Brady. 

Bet: Buccaneers 

YTD Record: 49-51-4

Chris Cioffi

Chris "Chof" Cioffi is the Chief Editor at FGB. A 7-year fantasy veteran, Chof hails from Northeastern University, got a degree in mathematics, and will talk for hours about how Ronald Jones should have gotten more carries than Peyton Barber if the Buccaneers cared about advanced analytics at all in 2019. Repping all teams New England, he definitely embellishes his accent when talking about tha B’s, tha C’s, tha Pats, or the Sawx. When he’s not writing fantasy blogs, Chof is a southpaw pitcher, Club baseball hall of famer, and still is good for giving up a 400-foot homerun every year to some guy in his men’s league.

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