It’s the living legend against the emerging one when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 on Sunday, Feb. 7. Tom Brady has led the Buccaneers (14-5) to their first Super Bowl in 20 years in his first season with the franchise , while Patrick Mahomes has the Chiefs (16-2) in the big game for the second time in his four seasons. Mahomes was the Super Bowl MVP when the Chiefs won it last year, while Brady is seeking his seventh title in his 10th appearance in the big game.
Kickoff from Raymond James Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Kansas City as a three-point favorite in its latest 2021 Super Bowl odds, while the over-under is 56.5. Before you make any Super Bowl picks or Buccaneers vs. Chiefs picks, you have to see what Tampa Bay expert R.J. White has to say.
CBS Sports’ Fantasy and gambling editor, White is currently SportsLine’s No. 1 NFL expert, entering the title game on an 80-58 run on all NFL picks, returning more than $1,500 during that span. It’s no surprise, as White has cashed huge twice in the world’s most prestigious football handicapping competition, the Las Vegas Super Contest.
In addition, White is an amazing 24-14 on NFL picks against-the-spread involving the Bucs. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
2021 Super Bowl spread: Kansas City -3
2021 Super Bowl over-under: 56.5
2021 Super Bowl money line: Kansas City -170, Tampa Bay +150
KC: TE Travis Kelce has at least seven catches in 10 straight games
TB: QB Tom Brady has thrown for at least 250 yards in 12 games this season
Why the Chiefs can cover
Kansas City is 4-1 against the spread in its last five playoff games, and the Mahomes-led offense has been close to unstoppable. It ranked first during the regular season in total yards and passing, and Mahomes is averaging just shy of 300 passing yards in two games during the 2021 NFL Playoffs.
Receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce are the first pair of teammates to both surpass 100 receiving yards in consecutive playoff games. The Bucs ranked 21st in the league against the pass, and the secondary is a major weakness.
That weakness was obvious in K.C.’s Week 12 victory in Tampa, when Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three TDs. Hill scored all three and exploded for 269 yards as the Chiefs piled up 543 yards. The defense forced two turnovers in that game, and Brady will need to worry about All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, who had one of his seven interceptions for the season in the game. He also will have to be alert for pressure from Frank Clark, who had two sacks last week against Buffalo.
Why the Buccaneers can cover
Tampa Bay’s defense has five takeaways in the 2021 NFL Playoffs, three by linebacker Devin White. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting has three picks, while playmaking safety Antoine Winfield should be back from injury. The Bucs have the league’s top run defense and will force Mahomes to wing it, while Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul (five combined sacks last week) will put the pressure on.
The Bucs are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games against teams with winning records, and Brady has been thriving with his plethora of weapons. He ran the NFL’s No. 2 passing attack during the regular season, and Tampa Bay scored almost 31 points per game. Its past six victories have been by at least five points. Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have combined for 24 catches and three TDs in the 2021 NFL Playoffs, and tight end Cameron Brate has 11 receptions.
How to make 2021 Super Bowl picks
White has analyzed this matchup from all sides and is leaning Under on the total. He also has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing it here.