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USATSI

The week is over! You've done it! You've survived almost all of the waiting you have to survive before Super Bowl LV kicks off on Sunday. Now you can just kick back and relax while preparing for the final football game of the season.

That's always the strangest part of the Super Bowl for me. It's a constant battle of being excited about the game, but at the same time realizing that, when it's over, I'm not going to have another football game to watch until August. Sure, the build-up to the draft and all that coverage helps fill time, and I enjoy it, but it's not the same as having games to watch.

Though I suppose all the drama surrounding the QB market this offseason could provide enough entertainment. I mean, when you look at Sunday's Super Bowl matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, it's not difficult to figure out why teams are so desperate to find the right QB. You can win games without a great one, but it's tough to hoist the Lombardi Trophy without one. Another great one will hold it up on Sunday night.

Even though I've shared a few Super Bowl props with you during the week, I've got plenty more for you in today's newsletter -- including my favorite play for the game itself, as well as a couple more props. Plus, since I love you, and I couldn't bear the idea of sending you into the weekend without some Friday night wagers, I've included some NBA props for tonight as well. You deserve it.

You also deserve these wonderful stories to read.

Now that you know how they feel, let me tell you what's really going to happen.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Chiefs vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, 6:30 p.m. | TV: CBS
The Pick: Under 56 (-110)
: I do not like either side of the spread for Sunday, but I love the under. I've done some research, and the over has gone 27-26 in the first 54 Super Bowls (there was no total in Super Bowl I). If we dig further than that, though, we discover that among the 27 Super Bowls that finished over the total, only four of them had a total of 49.5 points or higher, with 49 being a key number in football totals (it's divisible by seven.) There have been 12 Super Bowls with a total of 49.5 or higher in history, and the under has gone 8-4 in those games.

If we look at just the last decade, when we've seen an offensive explosion in the NFL, the under is 4-1 in the five Super Bowls to feature a total of 49.5 or greater. It's natural for oddsmakers to inflate the total a bit for the Super Bowl. It's the most heavily bet game of the year, with a lot of public action, and the public is prone to rooting for a lot of points to be scored, so they lean over. Books adjust for that.

More so than just the trend, or the public action, the matchup strikes me as a good one as well. Tampa will likely approach Kansas City the same way it did Green Bay. The best way to beat Patrick Mahomes is to keep him off the field, so the Bucs will want to run the ball. Tampa should find success doing so, with Kansas City's defense ranking 31st in the league in defensive DVOA against the run. I don't know if they'll find enough to win the game, but enough to limit the overall number of possessions and keep us below a high total.

Key Trend: The under is 8-4 in Super Bowls with a total of 49.5 or higher.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine expert R.J. White is an impressive 24-14 on against-the-spread picks involving the Buccaneers, and he has a pick for their matchup with Kansas City.


💰 More Super Bowl LV Picks

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The Pick: Travis Kelce to win MVP (+1100): I think this is an excellent matchup for Travis Kelce. The Bucs defense is one of the best in the league, and while it doesn't have a significant weakness, it has had more difficulty keeping tight ends in check than receivers. So with both Kelce and Tyreek Hill sitting at the same odds, I'm leaning toward Kelce. I wouldn't be surprised if he catches multiple touchdowns in this game and puts up a great stat line.

Nor will I be surprised if Kelce does all that and they give the award to Mahomes, but that is the risk we take when betting Super Bowl MVP props.

Key Trend: Nine of the 22 receiving touchdowns Tampa has allowed in the red zone have been to tight ends.

The Pick: Leonard Fournette Over 11.5 rushing attempts (-105): As I mentioned earlier, I expect Tampa to try and control the clock as much as possible by running the ball against a Chiefs defense that has been bad against the run all season. But just because I expect Tampa to run the ball and that there's a chance they'll succeed doing so doesn't mean that they will. Still, regardless of whether it's effective or not, the gameplan would likely feature plenty of work for Playoff Lenny.

Fournette averaged only 7.5 carries per game during the regular season, but his workload has increased significantly in the postseason. He's had the ball handed to him 48 times in three games (16 per.) It's a noticeable and intentional shift for the Bucs offense and one that's likely to continue on Sunday. The only way I see Fournette finishing with fewer than 12 carries is if he suffers an injury or if the Chiefs build such a large lead that Tampa has to abandon the run game.

Key Trend: Fournette is averaging 16 carries per game in the playoffs.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Larry Hartstein, who is 22-12-2 in his last 36 against-the-spread NFL picks, has studied the Super Bowl LV MVP odds and has released his pick to win the award.


💸 The DFS Rundown

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Super Bowl MVP or Captain

Patrick Mahomes -- We're not going to overthink this one. Yes, there are concerns about Kansas City's offensive line, but I worry more about those injuries in-game. The Chiefs have known they won't have Eric Fisher for two weeks and have had plenty of time to practice and prepare for life without him. I don't think the impact will be as significant as many.

If anything, I'm more worried about Mahomes' turf toe, but even with it, he's simply too great to count out. He's accounted for multiple touchdowns in every game he's played this season except two, and he's likely to be the highest-scoring player in the game.

Value Play

Ronald Jones -- We know I like the over on Fournette's rushing attempts, and we know I expect Tampa to run the ball often against Kansas City. That means Ronald Jones will have plenty of value on Sunday as well, and he comes at a price considerably lower than Fournette's, so I'm going to have him in a lot of my lineups as well. It doesn't hurt that in the regular-season meeting against KC, Jones finished with 103 total yards and a receiving touchdown. From a fantasy perspective, it was one of Jones' best games of the season. 


 🏀 NBA Player Props

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Can't let you go into a Friday night without something to bet on.

  • Coby White Over 9.5 rebounds & assists (+100)
  • Kyrie Irving Over 5.5 rebounds (+120)
  • Cody Zeller Over 2.5 assists (+150)
  • Mikal Bridges Over 4.5 rebounds (-130)