Following an enthralling Conference Championship Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Super Bowl LV. Can Tom Brady secure Super Bowl number seven in his 10th appearance? Do the Chiefs become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots? Our NFL betting predictions against the spread for Super Bowl LV has all the answers.
NFL Super Bowl predictions against the spread
All spread lines for our NFL predictions are provided by DraftKings and were correct at the time of writing. They are, of course, subject to change the closer we get to kickoff.
Sunday, February 7th, 6:30 PM ET
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5)
It is a Super Bowl lineup littered with intriguing storylines. Before a ball is even thrown on Super Bowl Sunday, we will have history, with the Buccaneers becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Inevitably the face-off between Brady and Mahomes will dominate the headlines. Will we see the passing of the torch from the old master to the new king of the sport? Or will Brady continue to defy father time and conjure up some magic to add another Lombardi Trophy to his collection?
Not only will two of the game’s top quarterbacks duel, but Super Bowl LV pits two of the game’s top coaching minds against each other. Can Bruce Arians outfox Andy Reid, or will one of the game’s most innovative minds have some tricks up his sleeve to bamboozle the Tampa Bay head coach?
Before we answer those questions with our NFL predictions, let’s look at how they made it to Super Bowl LV.
How they got to Super Bowl LV
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers booked their ticket to Super Bowl LV with their NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers. However, it could be argued that their journey to the big game began when they tempted Tom Brady away from Foxborough. In one year in Tampa, Brady has taken the Buccaneers to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and now they’re playing in their first Super Bowl since 2002.
The road to Super Bowl LV hasn’t been smooth all the way, however. Two defeats to the New Orleans Saints, a tight loss to the Chicago Bears, and late November losses to the Los Angeles Rams and the Chiefs left the Buccaneers at 7-5. They were on the outside looking in as fall turned to winter. Since their bye week, it’s been a different story, with the offense only once failing to score over 30 points on their way to seven straight victories.
Whereas the Buccaneers had a close fought game to secure their Super Bowl berth, the Chiefs stamped their ticket in emphatic style. Although the Buffalo Bills raced to a 9-0 lead, a trio of second-quarter touchdowns gave the Chiefs a lead they’d never relinquish.
Unlike the Buccaneers’ rollercoaster season, the path to the Super Bowl has never felt in doubt for the Chiefs. Even when they’ve struggled to dominate games, they’ve found a way to win. With Mahomes under center, they can never be ruled out of a game. One of their two defeats in the regular season came while he was rested.
NFL predictions — keys to the game
Although the focus will be on the two quarterbacks, the key to the game will be the two defensive units.
The narrative will tell the story that Brady led the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl. However, it was the defensive performance in Lambeau Field that was the true difference-maker. They limited Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams in a way that few defenses have all season, despite not having rookie sensation Antoine Winfield Jr. on the field.
The strength of the Tampa Bay defense is in their front seven. They’ve excelled in stopping the run and have three linebackers who are playing at an elite level. As a result, they created the third-most quarterback pressures in the 2021 NFL regular season.
However, they’ll need to be better in the secondary if they’re to succeed on Super Bowl Sunday. Tyreek Hill torched them in Week 12, and the diminutive wide receiver looks in unstoppable form.
NFL predictions — defense wins championships
Although the Chiefs defense hasn’t had the same acclaim as Tampa Bay’s unit, they’ve improved vastly since last year. They had the sixth-most interceptions last year and have had standout performances from Tyrann Mathieu and rookie L’Jarius Sneed. Mathieu intercepted Brady when the two teams met in Week 12.
When teams put pressure on Brady, he is prone to mistakes. The Chiefs ranked ninth in blitz percentage and 11th in quarterback pressures in the regular season. If they can bring that pressure consistently, then the Chiefs will have the upper hand. Then, the torch may truly be passed from Brady to Mahomes.
NFL predictions against the spread for Super Bowl LV — Chiefs win but narrowly fail to cover the spread.
Final score prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a Pro Football Network staff writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.