The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have beaten the odds this offseason, winning three straight road games to make a Super Bowl. They’ll need to beat the odds again in Super Bowl LV.
BetMGM released its opening line for Super Bowl LV just before the AFC championship game was done, and to nobody’s surprise the Kansas City Chiefs are favored. They opened as 3.5-point favorites over the Buccaneers. The Chiefs easily handled the Buffalo Bills in the AFC championship game to advance to their second straight Super Bowl.
The over/under for the game opened at 57.5, a high number befitting two MVP quarterbacks. The line did dip to 56.5 on Sunday night, shortly after it was released. If the total closes at 57.5 or more it will be the highest total in Super Bowl betting history. The Patriots’ Super Bowl LI win over the Falcons and the Saints’ XLIV win over the Colts both closed at 57. Super Bowl LI went over and Super Bowl XLIV went under.
Being in the Super Bowl is something Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is used to. This will be his 10th Super Bowl, extending his NFL record. But this will be the first time in 19 years that he’s an underdog in a Super Bowl.
Chiefs are popular among bettors
The Chiefs hadn’t covered a spread since Nov. 1, but that hadn’t slowed bettors down. They were a popular play in the AFC championship game as 3.5-point favorites and covered easily. It was the Chiefs’ first double-digit win since that Nov. 1 victory over the New York Jets.
Given Patrick Mahomes’ stature as the game’s biggest young star and the offensive potency of the Chiefs, there will be plenty of Chiefs bets coming in for Super Bowl LV. Especially since the Buccaneers took the long road to get to the Super Bowl. At least they’ll have home-field advantage; the Bucs are the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Tampa Bay joined the 1985 Patriots, 2005 Steelers, 2007 Giants and 2010 Packers as the only teams to win three straight road games to make a Super Bowl. The Bucs won straight up as underdogs the past two games. About 75 percent of bets in the NFC championship game were on the Packers at BetMGM, so they helped out the sportsbook Sunday.
The Buccaneers have already been on BetMGM’s mind. They were a big liability for the sportsbook in the Super Bowl futures market.
Their odds to win it all started at 60-to-1, then dropped way down to 16-to-1 when they signed Tom Brady. Bettors kept buying Buccaneers Super Bowl tickets. At 11.5%, the Buccaneers had the second-most money bet on them to win the Super Bowl at BetMGM. The Chiefs had the most money but at much lower odds, meaning the Buccaneers were the team BetMGM has been rooting hardest against this postseason.
But it has been impossible to knock them out.
Favorites have covered last two Super Bowls
The past two Super Bowls, the favorites and the under has won. Last season the Kansas City Chiefs had to rally to win 31-20 and cover the 1.5-point spread. The over/under was 53.
There was a long stretch of the underdog covering before the past two Super Bowls. From the Super Bowl at the end of the 2001 season (New England Patriots over St. Louis Rams) through Super Bowl LII (Philadelphia Eagles over Patriots), the underdog covered 12 times, the favorite covered only four times and one game was a pick’em.
Favorites are 36-17 straight up and 28-23-2 against the spread according to Vegas Insider’s history, with Super Bowl XLIX between the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks as the only Super Bowl that was a pick ‘em.
Brady has been an underdog in a Super Bowl just once, his first one against the Rams. The Patriots were 14-point underdogs and won straight up. Brady is 6-3 straight up in Super Bowls, but his teams are just 4-5 against the spread. Wins over Philadelphia and Carolina early in his career were by less than the 7-point spread.
It’s amazing that Brady has started Super Bowls 19 years apart. It would be even more impressive if he can pull off a win as an underdog again.
More from Yahoo Sports: