Super Bowl LV odds and predictions: who is the favourite to win?
Sunday sees reigning Super Bowl MVP in Patrick Mahomes vs. the greatest of all time in Tom Brady, but who will come out on top?
Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will battle in Super Bowl LV from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, which makes the Buccaneers the first team to play the big game in their home stadium.
America's biggest sporting spectacle will play out in a mostly empty stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday with more cardboard-cutout fans than real ones taking in the Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It's the young reigning Super Bowl MVP in Patrick Mahomes vs. the greatest of all time in Tom Brady, and it's a showdown that could come down to which quarterback can out-duel the other.
With covid-19 restrictions limiting attendance to 25,000 living, breathing spectators sprinkled among 30,000 happy-faced cutouts, the atmosphere inside Raymond James Stadium - which has a capacity of 70,000 - will be largely manufactured.
Favourites to win?
When this matchup was put up on the board at William Hill two Sundays ago, the Chiefs were listed as three-point favorites with -165 on the moneyline, while the Buccaneers were listed as three-point underdogs with +145 on the moneyline, but William Hill did bump the Chiefs up to 3.5-point favourites at a point last week.
These two teams actually faced off in Tampa in Week 12, and it was the Chiefs that came out on top with a 27-24 win. Kansas City jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, but they slowly allowed Brady and the Bucs to get back into the game. Tampa Bay scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Kansas City's offense were able to run out the clock and escape with a victory.
SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh says that his initial Super Bowl simulations have the Chiefs as a 55 percent favorite to defeat the Buccaneers with an average score of 28-26. While Oh doesn't have the Chiefs covering the spread at William Hill, our early belief is that they will. With how explosive that offense looked on Sunday, it's hard for me to bet against Kansas City. As for the total of 57 points, that's a bit trickier. The Bucs and Packers combined for 57 points on Sunday while the Bills and Chiefs combined for 62. We're leaning towards the Over.
Classic in store
But not even a pandemic, which will force those with tickets into protective masks and socially distanced seating, will detract from a contest that has the look of a genuine classic featuring perhaps the greatest Super Bowl quarterbacking matchup of all time.
Quarterbacks have been at the center of every Super Bowl going back to the first in 1967 when Bart Starr led the Green Bay Packers to victory over Len Dawson and the Chiefs.
But never before has there been a generational showdown of such quality as the one NFL fans around the world will devour on Sunday when the quarterback many consider the greatest of all time - the Buccaneers' ageless wonder, Tom Brady - goes against his heir apparent and the best there is in the game today, Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes.
Underscoring that excellence, the game will mark just the second time that the winning quarterbacks of the two most recent Super Bowls will face each other in the championship game. It will be the first Super Bowl matchup between quarterbacks who have Most Valuable Player Awards for both the NFL and the Super Bowl in their trophy cases.
After 20 seasons, nine Super Bowl appearances and six rings with the New England Patriots, Brady decided not on retirement in Florida but a new challenge, signing with Tampa and taking a team that had not been to the playoffs in 13 years to the NFL championship game.
At 43 years old, Brady produced one of the greatest seasons of his Hall of Fame career, passing for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns. Among his other accomplishments, he will be the oldest player ever to take a snap in the Super Bowl.
If there is one player NFL fans and pundits are even more smitten with than Brady, it is the 25-year-old Mahomes, who possesses otherworldly athleticism and talent.
In just his third season as a starter, Mahomes has the Chiefs back in the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year, trying to become the first repeat champions since - guess who? - Brady and the Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
"If you’re a young athlete, and you’re playing any sport, and you don’t look up to guys like Tom Brady, you’re crazy,” said Mahomes. "He’s the type of greatness that you strive to be, to be like and to be towards as you grow up.
"As I continue in my career I'm still trying to do whatever I can to watch the tape on him because he's doing it the right way and you can tell by how many Super Bowl championships he has and the rings on his fingers."
They may be from two different eras and styles but both Mahomes and Brady mesmerise when at the controls of explosive offenses packed with weapons to showcase their abilities.
The Chiefs' arsenal includes a lightning-fast receiving corps led by speedsters Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, who would not look out of place on a U.S. Olympic sprint relay team.
But Mahomes' favourite target is Travis Kelce, who hauled in 105 passes for a tight-end record 1,416 yards.
Brady also has no shortage of-game breakers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown along with his big tight-end Rob Gronkowski.