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Super Bowl LV: By the Numbers (2021)

by January 31, 2021

The Super Bowl is back, and its 55th version is ready to crown the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Kansas City Chiefs. I am here to dive deeper into the numbers and analytics surrounding this matchup, to prepare you in the best possible way for any bets you care to make come Super Bowl Sunday.

In this article, I will primarily be focusing on the matchup at hand instead of historical data. For that, BettingPros has provided a ton of articles and information. You can find 20 Sports Betting Facts, 10 Super Bowl Betting Mistakes to Avoid, and everything else for your Super Bowl betting preparation as you see fit. 

With that being said, here are some important numbers to know for Super Bowl LV. 

All stats via Football Outsiders, Pro Football Reference, and Pro Football Focus (PFF)

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0.12

That is Tom Brady’s Expected Points Added (EPA) per play against two-deep coverage. I won’t dive too much into it, but 0.12 ranked in the bottom half of the league, and considering how Brady ranked 2nd in PFF’s QB rankings for the season, he really struggled against the two-deep look.

I bring this up because guess which team fielded the highest two-deep coverage looks this season – that’s right, the Chiefs. Kansas City’s defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo basically had Brady’s number in their Week 12 matchup. While Brady did throw for 345 yards and three touchdowns, he also threw two picks to finish with a 61.4 QBR. 

The secondary for the Chiefs ranked third-best in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) against deep passes all season. However, they ranked dead last in red zone DVOA. If the Buccaneers expect to avenge their loss earlier this season and come out as Super Bowl champions, Tom Brady will have to improve his performance. Not necessarily with home run balls, but with a million paper cut-like short passes to break the Chiefs defense down and then punch it in every time they get inside the 20-yard-line. Obviously, the future Hall of Famer holds ample experience in Super Bowl games, so it will be interesting to see how he and his Buccaneers team will adjust this time around. 

9.2

Remember in Week 12 when Tyreek Hill torched this Tampa Bay defense, going for 269 yards and three scores? While that game may have skewed this number a bit, 9.2 is the Buccaneers points allowed per game to WR1’s, ranking second highest in the league. 

Now, I’m not expecting those Tyreek Hill numbers to be replicated here, but the Buccaneers secondary has seriously struggled to keep WR1’s out of the end zone this season, and they have been burned by the deep ball as well. Not only did Tyreek post a 75-yard touchdown in Week 12, but in each of Tampa Bay’s last two games, they have allowed a passing touchdown of 50 or more yards. They even allowed a 36-yard completion from the not-so-great Taylor Heinicke-Cam Sims duo in the Wild Card Round. 

Even when the Bucs do hold opposing WR1’s in check, they are still exposed to the potential of a teams’ third or fourth options to go off for big yardage. Each of those two 50+ yard TDs I mentioned earlier were from non-WR1’s (Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Tre’Quan Smith). With the high percentage of blitz packages included in defensive coordinator Todd Bowels’ playbook, I am absolutely expecting a big play or two in this game from the Chiefs offense. I mean, how can you not? Patrick Mahomes was the single-best quarterback against the blitz this year. Even behind a weakened offensive line, he has shown his ability to escape and find any moving target downfield.

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31st

The Chiefs this season ranked 31st in defensive rush DVOA. When analyzing this matchup, many individuals will seek the teams’ Week 12 game and see how the Bucs only rushed for 75 yards. But Tampa Bay fell to a 17-0 deficit in the first quarter, garnering a pass-heavy approach, resulting in a total of just 13 rush attempts.

Even so, Ronald Jones Jr. finished with 7.3 yards/rush with a long of 34. A common strategy I am sure you have heard when playing against Patrick Mahomes is to eat clock and keep the ball out of his hands as much as possible. This very well may be the exact strategy Bruce Arians and Co. roll out next Sunday. It should be advantageous for Tom Brady to keep his throws short and sweet, as I mentioned before. Combine that with an effective run game, and Tampa Bay can be in business. 

The Buccaneers ranked 10th in rushing DVOA and improved in the latter half of the season, with four of their six best rushing outings coming from Week 10 on. When in the red zone, their rushing DVOA jumps to 3rd, while Kansas City’s defensive rush DVOA inside the 20 sits at 31st. Playoff Lenny is a vast improvement of his regular-season Leonard Fournette self, and the extra week should allow Ronald Jones Jr. to recover from any lingering ailments. Don’t be surprised to see some big rushes out of those two in this game.

Quick Hits

  • 4th and 2: The Buccaneers offensive Power Rush Success Rate ranks 1st while defensively, the Chiefs Power Rush Success Rate ranks last. If the Buccs find themselves in a short-yardage situation on 4th down, they should go for it 100% of the time. 
  • 3: The number of touchdowns Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis has allowed in his last two games. He allowed five during the entire regular season, with three coming from Week 12 vs. the Chiefs alone. Throughout the playoffs, Davis has allowed 296 totals yards. Davis will need better safety help when covering Hill in the Super Bowl.
  • 14th and 1st: The Chiefs offensive Adjusted Line Yards ranks 14th while the Buccaneers defensive Adjusted Line Yards ranks 1st. When it comes to the trench war, Tampa Bay absolutely has the upper hand.  

Check out our Prop Bet Cheat Sheet for the top bets of the Super Bowl >>


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Ryan Coleman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive.

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