Super Bowl Preview
Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday has all the making of another classic. The Super Bowl odds for this game opened up with the Chiefs as the early favorite but quickly swung to the Eagles within a day.
There’s no shortage of drama as Andy Reid will face his former team and Travis and Jason Kelce will become the first brothers to play against each other in a Super Bowl. The Chiefs, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, have the NFL’s top offense and have been on a seven-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Eagles have won the last eight games that Jalen Hurts has started and have the league’s top-ranked defense. Philly comes in as a slight favorite in a game projected to be very close.
On offense, the Chiefs have surpassed the expectations most analysts had for them in the preseason after they lost their biggest playmaker, Tyreek Hill, to free agency. Mahomes didn’t miss a beat, however, surpassing last season’s passing yards and touchdowns. Kansas City tied with Philadelphia in points per game, with 28.7, including the postseason, a full point ahead of the Buffalo Bills. Mahomes will face his toughest test against the Eagles, who own the league’s top passing defense, giving up only 171 yards per game. The Chiefs have faced six opponents with top-ten pass DVOA defenses and Mahomes has averaged 334 yards and 2.7 touchdowns in those games, showing he appears to be matchup-proof.
One major concern for Kansas City is Philadelphia’s pressure rate. The Chiefs have one of the top offensive lines in the league, but the Eagles lead the league with 4.1 sacks per game. (Kansas City’s defense, by the way, is second with 3.3.) Mahomes will need time to find open receivers who will struggle to get open. Travis Kelce figures to be the key to the offense, as usual, and, like Mahomes, is generally matchup-proof. Philadelphia’s run defense is exploitable, so the Chiefs will need to have success rushing to keep their drives going.
The Eagles have the best-rushing offense in the league and the best offensive line in football. It’s key for them to not get behind early so they can stick with their run game. If they can move the ball on the ground successfully, it opens them up for big passing plays to A.J. Brown and Davonta Smith, both of whom have excellent matchups against the Chiefs’ secondary. Kansas City’s Red Zone defense could also factor into this game. They rank 30th in the league in Red Zone scoring percentage, while the Eagles score a touchdown on over 68% of their Red Zone opportunities.
From a betting standpoint, there are a few trends worth considering. The winning team in the Super Bowl is 47-6-2 against the spread. If you feel strongly about one of these teams winning outright, it’s probably a good bet to pick them against the spread, too. No team has won the Super Bowl finishing with a season ATS record below .500. The Eagles are 10-9 ATS, but the Chiefs are only 7-11-1. One of the more interesting trends to me is the kicking team to start the game has lost the last eight Super Bowls. I wonder if this will influence either of the coaches to receive first, if given the choice. If I were Andy Reid, I would want to try to get up early and force the Eagles to abandon the run game.
As for my bet, this is a very difficult call to make. I had Kansas City ahead in my power rankings after the regular season, but Philadelphia ahead after the playoffs. However, the Eagles’ stats against San Francisco probably shouldn’t be factored in, so without that game, they’re essentially tied in my rankings. On paper, the data suggests the Eagles should win, but it’s very close. My model has Philadelphia -1.1, slightly under the consensus of -1.5. I don’t think this line will go any higher and it might even drop to -1, which I would be way more comfortable with.
Ultimately, I think the Eagles will be able to control the pace of the game with their running ability and limit the Chiefs’ offensive snaps. I think the game goes under the 50.5 total and Philly wins a very close Super Bowl.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.