It all comes down to this: Super Bowl LV. It'll be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trying to prevent the Kansas City Chiefs from being the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots -- led by Tom Brady -- to win back-to-back titles. Patrick Mahomes and company find themselves in Tampa after defeating the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship and the young quarterback is looking to add a second Lombardi to his already eye-popping résumé. Meanwhile, the Bucs are the first team in NFL history to be playing a Super Bowl in their home stadium. They got there after going through a gauntlet of road games, including defeating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship game.
The NFL odds over at William Hill Sportsbook have Kansas City as a three-point favorite over Tampa Bay in this matchup while the total currently sits at 56.5 (as of 2/22/21). The Chiefs were able to get the better of the Bucs during their regular-season matchup, but will the same result occur on the NFL's highest stage? We're about to find out.
Super Bowl LV is almost here, and you can watch it for free on the CBS Sports App.
Below, you'll see where I stand heading into this matchup along with where we stand on the entire season (including playoffs) heading into the Super Bowl. Let's end the 2020 season with a bang!
Chiefs at Buccaneers
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Given that I'm the only New Englander on the NFL staff, it seems only fitting that I'm rolling with Tom Brady and the Bucs, right? But this isn't really about any sentimentality surrounding the quarterback, it's just a gut feeling. I've seen this story play out dozens of times over the last 20 years up close and, more often than not, Brady finds a way to be the last man standing even when it looks like the odds are stacked against him. I discounted Brady and the Buccaneers even since the divisional round and each time they've proved me wrong. No more.
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While the rare home-field advantage should help the Bucs, they also have a few intriguing trends leaning their way. Teams entering the Super Bowl with a worse record than their opponent have won 10 of the last 12 games. Tampa Bay went 11-5 over the regular season while K.C. claimed the No. 1 seed in the AFC at 14-2. The Chiefs had a tremendously successful season in terms of their actual record, but they went 8-10 ATS this season, which is currently tied for the second-worst cover percentage entering the Super Bowl. Teams who have previously entered the Super Bowl multiple games below .500 ATS lost (1997 Packers, 1979 Rams).
Of course, these two teams also played one another earlier in the regular season and the Chiefs were able to defeat the Bucs in a 27-24 game that wasn't as close as the final score indicates. In Super Bowl history, however, the regular-season winner of that matchup is 6-7 in rematches in the big game. Those trends along with Brady hoisting another Lombardi feeling like an inevitability in my gut has me leaning towards Tampa.
Projected score: Tampa Bay 33, Kansas City 27
My pick: Tampa Bay +3
ATS overall: 120-135-11
SU overall: 178-87-1