Examining trends for each team can help you make better-informed gambling and fantasy decisions. It’s never wise to bet a game based on a single trend and it’s also never wise to back off a wager based on a single trend, either. With that said, trends can point you in the right direction by corroborating stats and information you’ve gathered or they can make you reconsider making a bad wager based on flimsy data. I’ve gone game-by-game and compiled the most relevant trends for each team heading into this week’s contests. I’ve included any bets or leans I have for each game at the end of each writeup. Good luck with your wagers!
Super Bowl LV
Kansas City Chiefs (16-2, 8-10 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-2, 12-6), 6:30 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Chiefs 29.75, Buccaneers 26.75
Spread/Total Movements: 3.5 to 3, 57 to 56.5
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Weather: 66 degrees, clear, 5 mph
Chiefs Injuries to Watch: LT Eric Fisher (Achilles, out), DB L’Jarius Sneed (concussion), WR Sammy Watkins (calf), RB Le’Veon Bell (knee)
Buccaneers Injuries to Watch: WR Antonio Brown (knee), S Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle), S Jordan Whitehead (shoulder)
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs became the first team to reach back-to-back Super Bowls since Brady’s Patriots made it to the Super Bowl in three straight seasons in 2016-18.
Kansas City will look to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl winners since Brady’s Patriots did it during the 2003-04 seasons. Eight teams in NFL history have won Super Bowls in back-to-back seasons, but it’s happened just three times in the last 30 years (Dallas 1992-93, Denver 1997-98, and New England 2003-04).
The Chiefs previously beat the Buccaneers 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium in Week 12 as 3.5-point road favorites in a game totaled at 56 points. Kansas City raced out to a 27-10 lead midway through the third quarter before holding off a late comeback by the Buccaneers.
The Chiefs handled the Bills 38-24 as three-point home favorites in the AFC Championship Game.
Kansas City covered last week for just the second time in its last 10 games and the Chiefs own an 8-10 ATS record overall.
Mahomes and the Chiefs won and covered as 1.5-point favorites against the 49ers last season in his first Super Bowl appearance.
- Patrick Mahomes finished with 325/3 passing in the AFC Championship Game, and he didn’t show any lingering effects from the toe injury he suffered in the Divisional Round. He’s now thrown for 3+ scores in five of his last 10 games and multiple scores in 14-of-17 games this season. Mahomes completed 37/49 passes for 462 yards and three TDs against the Buccaneers in Week 12. Aaron Rodgers posted 346/3 passing and he averaged 7.2 YPA while throwing one INT and taking five sacks against the Buccaneers last week.
- Shaq Barrett became just the third player to have three sacks in a conference championship game since 1982. Jason Pierre-Paul also sacked Rodgers twice in their victory. The Buccaneers will need to speed up Mahomes this week and the Chiefs suffered a massive loss with left tackle Eric Fisher tearing his Achilles against the Bills. Mike Remmers moved from RT to LT, Andrew Wylie moved from RG to RT, and Stefen Wisniewski came in at RG after Fisher’s injury.
- The Travis Kelce freight train rolled right along last week as he posted 13/118/2 receiving against the Bills. He’s now posted 8+ catches in nine of his last 10 games and 7+ catches in all 10 of those contests. He’s averaging a ridiculous 114.2 receiving yards per game with nine touchdowns in that span. Robert Tonyan caught all four of his targets for 22 yards and a touchdown in this matchup last week, and the Buccaneers gave up the 10th-most FPG to TEs in the regular season (11.2). Kelce caught all eight of his targets for 82 yards in this matchup in Week 12.
- Tyreek Hill gave the Bills fits last week with 9/172 receiving, which gives him 16/282 receiving in the postseason after he failed to reach 7+ catches or 80+ receiving yards in his final four regular-season games. Tyreek had a great month in one game against the Buccaneers in Week 12. He posted a ridiculous 13 catches, three TDs, and an NFL-best 269 receiving yards in a game against Tampa Bay. Hill has 105+ receiving yards with 37 total targets in his last three postseason games. The Bucs struggled against speedster Marquez Valdes-Scantling last week, giving up 4/115/1 receiving on six targets.
- Mecole Hardman put the Chiefs in a tough position early last week when he muffed a punt deep in Kansas City territory, which led to an easy touchdown and a 9-0 lead for the Bills. He quickly made up for it with a 50-yard run and 2/4/1 receiving on three targets. He’s now had a carry in four straight meaningful games (KC rested key players in Week 17), and he has 2+ catches in six straight games. Hardman posted 3/23 receiving on five targets in this matchup in Week 12.
- Sammy Watkins is expected to play in the Super Bowl but, then again, he’s been expected to play in their last two postseason games. He topped out at just 10.0 FP against the Saints in Week 15 in his final five games of the season after a six-week layoff in the middle of the year. He posted 4/38 receiving on seven targets against the Buccaneers in Week 12.
- Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle would be hurt the most if Watkins is able to play in the Super Bowl. Robinson has run the second-most routes among the Chiefs WRs in two postseason games, but he’s managed just a 14-yard catch on two targets and 60 routes. Pringle has 5/36 receiving on seven targets and 49 routes in that playoffs.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned to the lineup last week off of ankle and hip injuries after a five-week layoff, and he played ahead of Darrel Williams early in the game before Williams eventually overtook him late in the game as he was far more effective. CEH played on 49% of the snaps but he posted just 6/7/1 rushing and 1/0 receiving on two targets. Meanwhile, Williams saw 46% of the snaps and he posted 13/52/1 rushing and he caught his only target for nine yards.
Le’Veon Bell missed last week with a knee injury, and he’s likely to be a non-factor if he does get a jersey for the Super Bowl. CEH should be healthier and a little less rusty in the Super Bowl, but Williams has clearly been the top option in this backfield in Kansas City’s last three meaningful games. He’s posted 36/172/1 rushing (4.8 YPC) and 9/52 receiving on 11 targets in that span. The Buccaneers allowed a league-low 60.0 rushing yards per game to RBs but they did allow a league-high 6.3 receptions per game to the position in the regular season. Tampa limited Packers RBs to 16/67 rushing (4.2 YPC) but they did post nine catches for receiving yards.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay won three straight road playoff contests to reach the big game, and they’ll become the first team in NFL history to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Brady will also break his own record as the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl at 43 years old — he was 41 years old when the Patriots beat the Rams two years ago in Super Bowl LIII.
The Buccaneers advanced to the Super Bowl with a 31-26 victory over the Packers as three-point road underdogs in the NFC Championship Game.
Tampa Bay has covered the spread in four of its last five games and in six of its last eight contests.
Brady has been a Super Bowl underdog just one other time during his decorated 21-year career. The Patriots were 14-point underdogs against Kurt Warner and the Rams in Brady’s first Super Bowl appearance in February 2002. New England won the game 20-17 on Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal with no time left.
Brady is 6-3 outright in his nine previous Super Bowl appearances but he’s 4-5 ATS.
This game could still challenge Super Bowl LI for the highest total in Super Bowl history. The Patriots stormed back to beat the Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl LI and the game kicked off with a total of 58 points.
Tom Brady threw three interceptions in a road playoff game and his team still beat the Packers. Only seven other times has a QB thrown three or more INTs and his team won a road playoff game. In fact, Brady was actually the last quarterback to do it back in January of 2007 in a victory over Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. Brady has thrown for multiple TD passes in 10 straight games, including 3+ TDs in half of those games. Brady completed 27/41 passes for 345 yards, three TDs, and two INTs against the Chiefs in Week 12. Josh Allen threw for 287 yards and two TDs last week, but he averaged just 6.0 YPA. Kansas City has given up multiple TD passes in nine of its last 11 games.
Mike Evans cleaned up at the goal line for the second straight week as he’s now scored on 10-of-16 end-zone targets this season. Evans was also the target for all three of Brady’s interceptions last week. He’s totaled just 4/54/2 receiving on 11 targets in his last two games after running off 110+ receiving yards in three of his last four games before that. Evans posted 3/50/2 receiving on nine targets against the Chiefs in Week 12. Evans has a catch of 27+ yards in six of his last eight games since his contest with the Chiefs. Kansas City gave up the ninth-most receptions of 20+ yards with 54 in the regular season.
Chris Godwin posted his second 100-yard game in his last four contests after failing to hit the century mark in his first 10 games. He’s also seen 7+ targets in five straight games with exactly five catches in four of those contests. The Chiefs gave up a league-low 11.1 catches per game to WRs in the regular season. Cole Beasley led the Bills with 7/88 receiving last week with the Chiefs limiting Stefon Diggs. Godwin finished with 8/97 receiving in this matchup back in Week 12.
Antonio Brown is expected to be ready to play after sitting out last week with a knee injury suffered in the Divisional Round. Brown had scored in four straight games (5 TDs total) before posting 1/10 receiving on three targets before suffering his knee injury. Brown had just 2/11 receiving on three targets in this matchup in Week 12. John Brown managed just 2/24 receiving on four targets against the Chiefs last week.
Scotty Miller benefitted the most from AB’s absence last week with his massive 39-yard touchdown catch at the end of the first half against the Packers. He has 3/65/1 receiving on five targets and 27 routes in his last two games while Tyler Johnson has 2/31 receiving on three targets and 19 routes in that same span.
Cameron Brate has emerged as a key weapon for Brady in the postseason with 5+ targets and 3+ catches in each of their three games. He has 10/149/1 receiving on 17 targets in the playoffs and the Chiefs gave up 6/42/1 receiving to Dawson Knox last week and 4/59 to David Njoku in the Divisional Round.
Rob Gronkowski has run 10 more routes than Brate (60 to 50) this postseason, but he’s managed just 2/43 receiving on 10 fewer targets (17 to 7) than Brate. Gronk has two or fewer catches in five straight games and in 9-of-11 games since Brown joined the roster. His one standout performance in that span did come against the Chiefs when he posted 6/106 receiving on seven targets.
- Leonard Fournette has taken control of this backfield in the postseason as he saw 69% of the snaps compared to Ronald Jones’ 28% share last week. Fournette finished with 12/55/1 rushing and 5/19 receiving on seven targets against the Packers while RoJo posted 10/16 rushing without a target. Lenny now has 18+ FP, 4+ catches, and 74+ scrimmage yards in three straight playoff games. Jones sat out the Wild Card Round with a quad injury and he doesn’t have a catch with just 23/78 rushing (3.4 YPC) in the last two games. T.J. Yeldon and Devin Singletary combined for just 9/32 rushing last week against the Chiefs but they did add 6/50 receiving. The Chiefs gave up a league-high 48.1 receiving yards per game to RBs in the regular season and the 10th-most rushing yards per game to RBs (101.0). Fournette managed just 6/10 scrimmage in a limited role against the Chiefs in Week 12 while RoJo posted 10/103/1 scrimmage as the top back.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5 (Best Bet)
Mike Evans (TB) anytime touchdown (Best Bet)
Mike Evans (TB) longest reception over 24.5 yards (Best Bet)
Leonard Fournette (TB) anytime touchdown (Best Bet)
Leonard Fournette (TB) over 3.5 receptions (Best Bet)
Leonard Fournette (TB) most rushing yards (Best Bet)
Rob Gronkowski (TB) under 2.5 receptions (Best Bet)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) under 33.5 rushing yards (Best Bet)
Tyreek Hill (KC) over 88.5 receiving yards (Best Bet)
Patrick Mahomes (KC) over 40.5 passing attempts (Best Bet)
Patrick Mahomes (KC) first touchdown (+2200, BetMGM). Risk .25 units at +2200 to win 5.5 units.
Patrick Mahomes (KC) last touchdown (+2500, BetMGM). Risk .25 units at +2500 to win 6.25 units.
Cameron Brate (TB) first touchdown (+3000, BetMGM). Risk .25 units at +3000 to win 7.5 units.
Cameron Brate (TB) last touchdown (+2800, BetMGM). Risk .25 units at +2500 to win seven units.
YES — Will an extra point or field goal attempt hit an upright (excludes crossbar)? (+450, FanDuel). Risk .5 units at +450 to win 2.25 units.
Leonard Fournette (TB) MVP winner (+3000, FanDuel). Risk .25 units at +3000 to win 7.5 units.
Jason Pierre-Paul (TB) MVP winner (+10000, FanDuel). Risk .1 units at +10000 to win 10 units.
Mecole Hardman (KC) MVP winner (+10000, FanDuel). Risk .1 units at +10000 to win 10 units.
Kansas Chiefs D/ST anytime touchdown (+550, BetMGM). Risk .5 units at +550 to win 2.75 units.