What makes Super Bowl LVII such a close-run thing?

As the teams move towards the big day, this weekend’s Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs has the makings of a very close game.

Both teams have fairly complete skill sets, and have beaten some of the NFL’s best to be here. Experts are finding the two teams hard to separate, which is evident from the game odds: Cloudbet has the leading odds for the game and posits a very fine margin between the teams and the points spread has been set at 1.5, which is about as close as it gets. The oddsmakers have been narrowing the margin ever since the two teams reached this stage two years ago, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if the Chiefs, narrow underdogs, were to walk away with the title.

So why is this expected to be such a close-run Super Bowl? Is it a case of neither side having the potential to blow the other away? Or do those odds more accurately reflect the fact that both teams are capable of playing lights-out football, if both bring their A game on Sunday? A look at the competing abilities of the teams in the frame will help us answer those questions, so let’s look at the reasons why even the most experienced of bookies are finding it difficult to offer a wider points spread.

Offense: Both sides good in the air and on the ground

If you want to keep a defense “honest”, you need to have an offense that can move the ball while running or passing. Both teams here get a tick in the box for that capability. In fact, both teams can do that with their quarterback alone – Mahomes and Hurts are equally capable of breaking off a scramble for a key first down. While Miles Sanders will carry most of the running back duties for the Eagles, the Chiefs run the ball by committee. With both sides also well-served for receivers, it’s clear that each coach will have plenty of choice when calling key plays.

Defense: Eagles have the names, but Chiefs are no novices

A sportsbook as experienced as Cloudbet, which has been running a highly efficient crypto betting operation since 2013, knows the old adage that “Defenses win Super Bowls”. In that regard, it’s easy to look at the Eagles D, which features a fearsome front including Robert Quinn and Ndamukong Suh, and decide that this is their game to lose. But while the Chiefs’ biggest names are unarguably on the offensive side, they are no slouches when the defense is on the field. They shine in the big moments, coming up with two key turnovers late on in the AFC Divisional game against the Jaguars.

Coaches: Reid has been there, but Sirianni here on merit

This isn’t Andy Reid’s first rodeo when it comes to winning the NFL’s top honour, but the Eagles are favoured for a reason – check the table above to see how Cloudbet have them as money line favourites with better odds than any rival. The last time KC came to the Super Bowl they were favourites to overcome Tampa Bay, but ended up on the wrong end of a 31-9 blowout. Reid’s vast experience won’t be irrelevant on Sunday and could help the Chiefs bring home the trophy, but Sirianni is coaching in his first title game thanks to his smart marshalling of the resources at his disposal, and he’ll fancy his chances this Sunday.

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