super bowl

Full Super Bowl preview with NFL pro punter Scott Kellen

Super Bowl: Conference Championship Games

Kansas City was pretty impressive in their 38-24 victory over Buffalo. They out-gained the Bills 6.9yppl to 5.2yppl, and out-passed Buffalo 8.3yps to 4.5yps. Buffalo did out-rush Kansas City 7.2ypr to 4.6ypr, thanks mostly to Josh Allen’s 12.6ypr and 88 of the 129 yards rushing for Buffalo. Buffalo picked up a cheap touchdown on a drive that started at the Kansas three-yard line following a muffed punt. Meanwhile KC effectively had seven drives in the game that they cared about scoring and they scored on six of those seven drives.

Tampa Bay held on for a 31-26 victory over Green Bay. Tampa Bay had jumped out to a 28-10 lead on Green Bay thanks to a fumble deep inside Packers territory and a botched play at the end of the first half. The Bucs out-gained Green Bay 5.8yppl to 5.5yppl and out-passed them 7.4yps to 5.9yps. Green Bay ran for 4.2ypr to 3.2ypr for Tampa Bay. The theme for the Bucs continued, in that if they get sacks (sacked Green Bay five times) they typically hold their opponent to a respectable yards-per-pass number. If they don’t, their secondary isn’t good enough to hold up and they give up big plays.

Super Bowl: Head to head

These two teams met here in Week 12, with KC holding on for a 27-24 victory. The Chiefs jumped out to 17-0 and 20-7 leads in that game before finally holding on. For the game Tampa Bay out-gained KC 7.6yppl to 7.5yppl and out-rushed the Chiefs 5.8ypr to 4.4ypr, but were out-passed 8.8yps to 8.1yps. KC controlled the clock for about 13 more minutes in the game. KC was 0-3 in the red zone while Tampa was 1-2.

Seven of the eight longest pass plays for Kansas City went to Tyreek Hill, including 75 & 44 yard touchdown passes in the first quarter. Brady was also intercepted twice in that game from the Kansas City 36 & 24 yard lines. Mahomes was also sacked deep inside Tampa Bay territory with KC leading 17-0 and about to go up 24-0. Tampa recovered and scored later to close the gap. CB Jamal Dean (Tampa Bay’s best corner) did not play in the game. NT Vita Vea also missed the game.

Hill had a huge game, gaining 269 yards receiving and scoring three touchdowns. Tampa Bay’s best corner, Jamel Dean, missed that game. Their other corners Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are not very good and were clearly exposed in that game. Tampa Bay will be in better shape with Dean back this week. But there is still a challenge for Tampa. If they are not getting to the quarterback, their corners are not able to hold up. That is evidenced by the Bucs allowing 7.1yps against teams they get less than three sacks against, and allowing just 5.2yps against teams they get three or more sacks against.

Super Bowl: The Mahomes factor

Patrick Mahomes doesn’t get sacked often. And he was only sacked once in the Week 12 game in TB. But not having Jamel Dean made that easier and KC had LT Eric Fisher, who was hurt in the AFC Championship game and will not play here. Mahomes was sacked three or more times in four games. He averaged 6.8yps in those four games compared to his season number of 7.5yps. He was sacked two or more times in six games this year and averaged 7.1yps in those game vs the season average of 7.5yps. In those six games they won by more than three points in just two games with 33-27 and 43-16 victories over Miami and Denver respectively.

Super Bowl: Scoring

Tampa Bay seems well equipped to get to 30 points in this game, and they’ve scored 30 or more in six straight games. The Bucs have allowed more than 27 points in only three games this year:

  • Week 1 vs New Orleans – the Saints got a pick six to get them to 34 points, or it would have only been 27.
  • Week 4 vs the Chargers – but LA got a pick six to get them to 31 points, or it would have only been 24 points
  • Week 9 vs the Saints, who picked up two touchdowns on drives that started at the TB 35 and 27 yard lines.

Kansas City, although they didn’t score more than 27 points in the first meeting, is certainly capable of scoring more than 30 points. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, simply because they are that good. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucs keep KC to less than 30 points. The Chiefs play a lot of dime defense which almost invites teams to run the ball on them. If Tampa Bay gets down 17-0 again they will be less likely to do that. But if they stay in the game early, there’s a chance they will control the clock the best they can and use their power running game against a defensive front that many times invites the run. That, in and of itself, could keep the Chiefs scoring down even though they may be very efficient with their drives.

Super Bowl Preview: Prediction

My numbers favor Tampa Bay by 1.2 points and project 53.5 points total. As a whole KC is the better team. And Tampa Bay has some deficiencies in their secondary if they can’t get pressure.

But Kansas City is moving around their offensive line because of injuries. While Andy Reid can scheme some of that weakness away, it will still be a challenge against a fantastic front seven for the Bucs. Mahomes is great at avoiding pressure, but he figures to be under attack by this Buc defensive line.

Tampa Bay 27

Kansas City 26

Super Bowl Preview: Recommended bet

Tampa Bay +3 at $1.90 or better

It’s recommended that you wait until closer to game time to try and get +3.5 at $1.83 or better. It does look highly unlikely to go the wrong way (to +2.5), so you can probably be patient.

As always, TopSport is the best place to bet on.

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