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Super Bowl LV betting guide: How to bet on Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Frank Schwab
·7 min read
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More people than ever will have access to betting the Super Bowl this season.

That will be the case each of the next few years, as more states add legal sports betting. With the proliferation of apps for betting and a fun matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, the amount bet on Super Bowl LV could be staggering. There has already been a $2.3 million bet on the Buccaneers at BetMGM.

Betting on the Super Bowl is unlike any other event. There’s only one game but it has more interest than any other. That’s why, 35 years ago, the first Super Bowl prop was offered on whether Bears defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry would score in Super Bowl XX (he did). For Super Bowl LV, you’d probably miss kickoff just counting all the props that are offered.

The Super Bowl is a holiday for serious bettors and casual ones alike. Here are some tips on how to bet on the biggest game of the year:

Who is favored in Super Bowl LV?

The Kansas City Chiefs are 3.5-point favorites at BetMGM. That means if Kansas City wins by 4 points or more, Chiefs bets are winners. If Tampa Bay wins, or loses by 3 or fewer points, Buccaneers bettors will be happy.

The line has changed a little bit, and could again. When sportsbooks take a large bet, a wager from a respected bettor or a large volume of bets on one team, they will move the line to entice action on the other team. Sportsbooks don’t want too much action on one team, preferring a more even split. That’s why the Super Bowl line has bounced around.

It opened at Chiefs -3.5, then some Buccaneers bets moved it to -3. A majority of bets have been on the Chiefs (about 80 percent of the money bet on the point spread before the $2.3 million Bucs bet was on Kansas City), and that led BetMGM to move it back to -3.5. The line could move without any notice all the way up until kickoff.

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is one of the two favorites to win Super Bowl MVP. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is one of the two favorites to win Super Bowl MVP. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Who should I bet on?

First of all, don’t trust anyone who says they have a lock. There is no such thing.

If you believe in Tom Brady’s history in Super Bowls and want to bet on the Buccaneers +3.5, it’s justified. Maybe you watched Patrick Mahomes dominate in the AFC championship game and think the Chiefs will beat the Buccaneers by four points or more. Plenty of bettors agree with that side.

The truth is, you can find stats and trends to back up either side. It’s the Super Bowl; both teams have played very well to get to this point. Do your research and trust your pick.

OK, but are there any key trends that stand out?

The Chiefs had a weird season from a betting aspect. From Nov. 1 to the divisional round, the Chiefs didn’t win a game by more than six points and didn’t cover the spread once, even though they won all but one game straight up in that time. It’s rare to see a good team like the Chiefs fail to cover the spread nine times in a row, though they did cover against the Buffalo Bills last week in the AFC title game.

Against the spread records aren’t necessarily predictive. But for those who think the Chiefs will roll to a big win, it’s a reminder that such things aren’t so easy in the NFL.

What is the over/under?

A lot of points are expected to be scored in this game. The over/under (which is the combined amount of points scored for both teams) is 56.5 at MGM. The highest over/under in Super Bowl history is 57. Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes each had good seasons, and it’s no surprise there’s a large total for the game.

Aside from the point spread, the over/under is the second-most popular bet in most games. Recreational bettors generally prefer wagering on the over. It’s more fun to root for points to be scored, in any sport.

Should I bet the moneyline instead?

For some, the point spread is frustrating. Betting on the Chiefs -3.5 and watching them win 27-24, failing to cover the spread, isn’t a fun way to end the NFL season.

You don’t have to bet on the point spread. You can take either team to win straight up on the moneyline. The moneyline for the Chiefs is -175, meaning a bettor would win $100 on a $175 bet. For the underdog Buccaneers, it’s +150, turning a $100 bet into a $150 profit. It wouldn’t matter how much either team wins by, just that they win.

Got it. Now how about those props?

The props that get the most attention are the novelty ones. There are cross-sport props, in which you can bet a superstar NBA player’s point total on Super Bowl Sunday vs. the amount of points the Chiefs score, for one example. You can bet on which team will throw the challenge flag first, the position of Super Bowl MVP, who will record an interception, and many, many more. Some books offer props on the color of the Gatorade the winning coach will get splashed with.

One odd prop that has become popular is the pregame coin toss. That’s right, you can bet heads or tails. A slight majority of bets has come in tails, which according to sources never fails.

Are all props weird ones like the coin flip?

While the novelty props get a lot of attention, there are many conventional prop bets. At BetMGM, you can bet over or under on Patrick Mahomes passing yards (329.5) or Tom Brady passing yards (300.5). There’s also an over/under bet for Brady’s rushing yards, set at 0.5. If Brady runs for a single yard, the bet wins (and the over has +150 odds, meaning a $100 bet would earn a $150 profit if Brady runs for at least one yard).

There are also bets on which players will have 100 yards rushing or 100 yards receiving, how many passing touchdowns Mahomes or Brady will throw for, and dozens of others. Bets like these make every play and every yard important.

What is the most popular prop bet?

Year after year, the player to score the first touchdown is the most popular prop. And every year, the players that get the most bets are the two starting quarterbacks.

It cost BetMGM last year. Patrick Mahomes started at 21-to-1 to score the first touchdown, and that line moved to 12-to-1 when a lot of bets came in on him. Mahomes scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl LIV, making a lot of bettors happy.

Can I bet on Super Bowl MVP?

Super Bowl MVP betting has become very popular since it was first allowed in Nevada for Super Bowl 50 five years ago. The quarterbacks are usually the favorites, and Patrick Mahomes (+100 odds) and Tom Brady (+200) are favored for Super Bowl LV. About half of the money bet on Super Bowl MVP has been on Mahomes. At BetMGM, there are Super Bowl MVP odds for 57 players.

What if my team isn’t in the Super Bowl?

There’s always next season, and BetMGM has already posted odds on Super Bowl LVI.

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