If you are looking for the Kansas City Chiefs to do the “ground and pound” against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55, you may be waiting and waiting. But we thought that way last year at about this time, and running back Damien Williams had such an outstanding game that he could have been named the Super Bowl MVP.
So much of this depends on the way the game unfolds. This has an impact on how one of the 1000+ props at BetOnline will pay off.
And so we will concentrate on Patrick Mahomes and how many times he might throw the ball. here is the way it looks:
Over 41.5 attempts -140
Under 41.5 attempts +110
This is not necessarily a qualitative analysis of how Mahomes will do in this game. It is an assessment of what the Kansas City “game script” might be and also reflects on what actually happened when the teams got on the field with each other.
In Week 12, the Chiefs traveled to Raymond James Stadium, where Sunday's game is going to be held, and looked like they were going to blow the Bucs out in the first quarter. Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill hooked up seven times on seven targets in that opening period, with Hill racking up 203 yards. We repeat – this happened in the very FIRST QUARTER.
Obviously they were not going to keep up with that kind of pace. But on the day, Mahomes threw for 462 yards on 49 attempts.
Was that an aberration?
I don't think so. Mahomes averaged a little more than 39 attempts per game this season. But those numbers against the Bucs aren't unusual, because the Chiefs didn't come into the game with the expectation that they were going to be able to maintain a viable ground game.
That's because Tampa Bay, by almost every measure, is the best in the NFL at defending the run. And, well, other teams have done the same as the Chiefs had, to a great extent.
Opposing teams have passed the ball a league-high 65.4% of the time, as they know the same thing too. In the Week 12 game between these teams, which KC won by a 27-24 count, they threw it on 72% of their plays from scrimmage.
BetOnline patrons may have read something about Kansas City's offensive line difficulties. Right now they have only one player on that line who is in the same position he was at the season's outset.
They have lost a four-time All-Pro tackle on one side (Mitchell Schwartz) and a two-time Pro Bowl tackle on the other (Eric Fisher).
This is a patchwork line. And Tampa Bay has one of the premier defensive fronts in the NFL. If the Bucs are weak anywhere, it is in the secondary. And they also have the great equalizer for all of those OL problems with Mahomes, who can find room to throw from anywhere.
What they AREN'T likely to do is go face-up with the Bucs and run the ball with any consistency. And I would say that they are kind of singular in the respect that they can give themselves a chance to win, even if they don't run the ball. Mahomes will have people he can use out of the backfield, but he'll do so on short passing routes.
It seems as if the oddsmakers here derived their number here partially from Mahomes' average of pass attempts over his last ten games (41.4). But the circumstances dictate that he is going to fill the air with footballs.
The Bucs blitz a lot, but they won't blitz HIM a lot, because he kills it. And Tampa Bay is likely to do more to keep the action in front of them, which will, I think, require more attempts out of Mahomes.
So you know I'll be going OVER on this one.
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