Sunday’s Super Bowl 2021 will be the 55th in history. With a sample size of 54 previous games, you’ll want to consider those results as you contemplate how this year’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers might play out, checking for similarities between this year’s matchup and past games. How can you know where you’re going if you don’t understand where you’ve been?
ATS and moneyline trends
— Super Bowl favorites are 34-19 SU and own an ATS mark of 25-25-3, with the 1982 game having been a pick ’em point spread. However, over the last 18 years, underdogs own a 13-6 ATS (68.4 percent) edge, including 9-4 ATS in the last 13. Kansas City won as the slimmest of favorites in 2020.
— The straight-up winner is 45-6-3 ATS (88.2 percent) in the 54 previous Super Bowls, and the ’dog has never covered a point spread without winning on a Super Bowl line of fewer than six points. This figure is now the highest of the four playoff rounds. Champions typically leave no doubt.
— Remarkably, the AFC and NFC have split 27-27 outright in the first 54 Super Bowls, but the NFC holds a 27-24-3 (52.9 percent) ATS edge. However, AFC teams have turned the tide recently with a 5-2 SU and ATS surge in the last seven.
— The team that is the higher playoff seed is just 2-14-2 ATS (12.5 percent) in the last 24 Super Bowls. Equal seeds matched up six times.
— The team with the better record going into the Super Bowl is 29-18 SU all time but has lost 10 of the last 11, including the 49ers (13-3) against the Chiefs (12-4) a year ago.
—Teams that scored more points per game during the regular season are only 5-13 ATS in the last 18 Super Bowls. The Buccaneers averaged 30.8 ppg to the Chiefs’ 29.6.
— The ability to run the football has been much overrated for Super Bowl success. Teams that averaged more rushing yards per game are just 4-12 ATS since ’05. The Chiefs rushed for 112.4 yards per game this season, the Buccaneers 94.9.
— Passing yardage has also meant little in terms of Super Bowl success, with teams owning an edge in total offensive passing yardage going only 8-11 ATS in the last 19 games. These were the top two passing teams in the NFL in 2020 with the Chiefs throwing for 4,854 yards and the Buccaneers 4,626.
— In the 53 Super Bowl games that have had totals, the Over is 27-25-1 (51.9 percent). The last two have gone Under, the first time for back-to-back Under results since four straight from 2005-08. The 2019 game between the Patriots and Rams went Under in record fashion, falling short of the posted number by more than 40 points.
— On average, 46.3 points have been scored per Super Bowl, with posted totals averaging 44.7. However, the early years’ totals were often in the 30s, dragging down that number significantly. The last 16 years have featured an average posted total of 49.7, with 46.9 scored. Nine of the 16 games in that era went Under.
— In the last 11 Super Bowls with totals in the 50s, the Under is 8-3 (72.7 percent).
— The 2020 Super Bowl was one of only 17 in which both teams reached the 20-point mark. Fourteen of those went Over. Consider that with the quality of offenses expected in this year’s game.