It figures that the first time a team gets to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium, it’s the first time a Super Bowl has restricted attendance.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did something that hasn’t happened in the first 54 Super Bowls. They’ll play the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV in Raymond James Stadium, their home stadium. The Buccaneers made it to their home Super Bowl by winning three road playoff games.
Since this hasn’t happened before, what is the possible effect? Bettors looking for any angles on the Super Bowl are curious.
Is there a point spread adjustment for Buccaneers?
There might be a small adjustment for the Bucs being at home in the Super Bowl. Emphasis on small.
“Home field really doesn’t figure into the line all that much, maybe a half-point,” said Jeff Stoneback, Director of Trading for MGM Resorts.
The Buccaneers opened as 3.5-point underdogs, but the line moved to Buccaneers +3 before Monday morning. There are many factors involved in a line move like that, and the fact that the Bucs have a slight advantage may be one.
The biggest edge for the Buccaneers is they won’t have to travel in this weird situation. Usually teams arrive at the Super Bowl site a week ahead of time. This year, teams aren’t allowed to travel to the site that early. The Chiefs plan to go to Tampa the day before the Super Bowl according to Fox 4 in Kansas City, which is standard for a road game in the NFL.
But some of the normal edges home teams have won’t apply to the Buccaneers.
“It likely will be a neutral fan base and the limited number of fans allowed in the stadium will make it more of a neutral site game,” Stoneback said. “The only advantage for the Bucs is that they don’t have to travel and will have that ‘home game routine.’”
Not that home field advantage has been that important to any team this season.
Home-field advantage disappeared in 2020
Road teams were above .500 for the season. The finished 134-133-1 straight up. In the playoffs, road teams were 5-7.
Of course, it was an unusual season. None of the games this season took place in front of a full crowd, and in most cases the stadium was empty. There will be 22,000 fans, about one-third of capacity. The NFL announced that 7,500 free tickets will go to vaccinated healthcare workers from hospitals and healthcare systems in Tampa and Central Florida, and presumably there will be some Buccaneers fans in that group.
Typically one team has more fans than the other but it’s generally not a huge majority and it rarely affects the game. The Seattle Seahawks fans traveled very well to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos in New Jersey, and crowd noise did have an effect on the game. But that’s rare.
In a normal time, perhaps Buccaneers fans would fill the home stadium. Their team hasn’t been to a Super Bowl since the end of the 2002 season, and the Chiefs broke a 50-year drought just a year ago. Tampa fans wouldn’t have to worry about travel costs. Typically, it would be a legitimate edge, one that hasn’t happened in the Super Bowl before.
But like everything else, it’s an atypical season.
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