Maybe because we were talking through masks, the friend I ran into at Safeway who was inquiring on who I thought was going to win the Super Bowl didn’t know I was kidding.
“Well,” I said, “We have to take into consideration that Brady has never beaten an AFC team in the Super Bowl.”
My friend nodded as if that was important information. I waited for a response that would see the absurdity in the statement, given Tom Brady had played the first 19 years of his NFL career with the American Football Conference New England Patriots, who would obviously always be up against an NFC team in the Super Bowl. Today, as a member of the NFC Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he will be facing his old conference for the first time.
While picking the Chiefs today because Brady has never beaten an AFC team in the Super Bowl is no less insignificant than a lot of reasons people are using to plunk money down on one side or the other.
I’ve heard those on both sides of the Brady factor. Some declaring that they would never bet on the cheater out of New England, while others discard any other factors with a declaration that they would never bet against Brady in a Super Bowl.
Betting against Brady in a Super Bowl is a winning proposition. In his nine previous games, he is 6-3 straight up but 4 and 5 against the point spread. As a favorite in the game, he is 2-5 against the number. He has twice been an underdog, against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and the Seattle Seahawks six years ago and won both those games straight up.
He is a three point underdog in Super Bowl LV.
The quarterback in the game with a perfect Super Bowl record is Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. He led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win last year and covered the point spread as a favorite over the San Francisco 49ers.
Before Super Bowl LV, there were 14 quarterbacks who started a Super Bowl with a 1-0 record in the game. Those QB’s were 10-4 straight up in their second Super Bowl appearance, but only 7 and 7 versus the line.
Still, taking a young Mahomes at the start of his seemingly destined to be brilliant career seems the right side against a 43-year-old playing the game well beyond an age most are still effective.
In fact, this game brings to mind a wagering method that is as old as the game, that is bet on the team you want to win.
On the other hand, my job is to separate the factors in the game and determine which team truly has the percentages on their side to first win the point spread decision and in all but 13% of Super Bowls also win the game. Of the 54 Super Bowls played, 47 times the straight-up winner also beat the point spread.
This has been a major challenge to find an edge that has so many reasons to like either the Chiefs or Buccaneers in the game. But, after all the work, we are confident we have the percentage side of the contest to deliver to Qoxhi clients today. Now, all that remains is to make sure we get the players to the stadium and in shape to play before the game kicks off. While the virus could wreak havoc if one team had an outbreak, or a shift in balance was created by an event as unforeseen as Andy Reid’s son being involved in a serious traffic accident, we will hold our final pick until High Noon on Sunday.