Betting on the offense
First offensive play of the game?
Given the proclivity of the Bucs and Chiefs to pass the football, it may be a surprise to many that the experts have placed the favorite for the first offensive play of the game to be a running play (-140) versus a passing play (Even). This is a risky play, but we’d put our money on a passing play to open the contest.
Will the Chiefs score or punt first? (-120)
The oddsmakers believe that it is equally likely that the Chiefs will punt or score first. This seems odd given the team’s history, which is to punt on the first drive of playoff games (including all three opening drives last year). One would think the odds would favor a punt, but we’d bet on a score nonetheless.
Will the Bucs score or punt first? (-135 to punt is the favorite over score -105)
In contrast, the Buccaneers are (marginally) favored to punt before they put points on the board. The Chiefs gave up an opening drive field goal to the Bills in the AFC Title Game, and we’d expect the defense to take a minute to get in the groove in this one, too. We’d go score on this one.
How will the first points be scored?
The bookkeepers at Bovada have indicated that a touchdown is the favorite for how the game’s first points would be scored (-230), followed by field goal (+165), and then the long odds on “any other method” (+3300). Avoid the long odds here, but it could be worth it to place a bet on the field goal.
Will both teams score in the first quarter?
In terms of whether or not both teams will score in the game’s first quarter, the current odds indicate a slight favorite to yes (-120) over no (-110). It seems likely, given the roll both offenses have been on, that the yes hits here.
Will Tom Brady’s age (+105) or 10th Super Bowl (-145) be mentioned first?
The first of many ‘fun’ bets one could decide to place on the big game is on which Tom Brady statistic will be mentioned first: that this is his 10th Super Bowl appearance or that he is 43 years old. Our guess is the odds are just about even either way, so take your pick (though I can hear Nantz saying “the 43-year-old Tom Brady, playing in his 10th Super Bowl” as an intro, so I’d take age as the winner).
How many players will have a passing attempt? (O/U 2.5)
One could decide to wager on whether or not a player who is not one of the starting quarterbacks attempts a pass during the game. Oddsmakers suggest that a slight favorite is to the under (2.5; at -130) versus the over (-110). Given Andy Reid’s often eclectic playbook, it may be worth it to bet the over on this one.
Will either team attempt a two-point conversion?
One question which could certainly impact who wins the game is whether or not coaches go bold in attempting a two-point conversion. In what was perhaps one of the bigger surprises (to me) of all the odds, Bovada has set the favorite to yes (-145) over no (+105). The tendencies lean no here, not only in the NFL writ large, but also for these two teams in particular.
New NFL record OVER 76 points total
Everyone loves an offensive shootout. And nothing could be more exciting than watching Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes trade blow for blow in an all time great shootout. But the reality is that this is highly, highly unlikely to happen. Not only do the Buccaneers have a good defense, but Kansas City’s defense is also playing at an elite level as the season comes to an end. Betting the no at -700 isn’t financially a great move, but please don’t bet the yes (even at +400).
Super Bowl MVP
The Super Bowl MVP has been a quarterback in 31 out of 55 games in NFL history. That’s a high number, but it’s not such a high number that you should only consider betting on the teams’ signal callers. Of course and obviously, Patrick Mahomes is the favorite (-120) to win the game’s MVP award, and Tom Brady is next (+210), which also should not surprise anyone. There is a strong argument that Mahomes should not have won last year, so betting on another offensive standout like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Chris Godwin or Mike Evans may make some sense, too. History suggests defenders are very tough bets on the MVP, so we’d probably avoid those, despite the great potential returns.