The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will emerge victorious or lose by 3 points or less to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday, said Analytic Investors, the $19.6 billion quantitative money management subsidiary of Wells Fargo Asset Management.
The pick is based on Analytic's NFL Alphas measurement, which ranks all 32 NFL teams based on how often they beat oddsmakers' expectations during the regular season. Analytic Investors' theory is that the more a team beats expectations in the regular season, the higher the team's alpha. That higher alpha, however, means it will be less likely that the team wins in the postseason.
This year, the Bucs — with a 0.2% alpha — is the value choice for the Super Bowl over the Kansas City Chiefs, which chalked up a 26.4% alpha in the regular season.
Christopher Lardieri, RFP manager for the Analytic Investors team, said in a telephone interview the Bucs should beat the spread of 3.5 points.
The Bucs' quarterback is former New England Patriot Tom Brady, appearing in his record-setting 10th Super Bowl appearance and sixth since Analytic Investors debuted the NFL Alphas measurement.
The Analytic Investors team is 12-5 since 2004, but has had little success in predicting games involving Brady and the Patriots, posting a record of only 1-4.
"Is it a Patriots thing or a Brady thing? This is the year we'll find out," Mr. Lardieri said.
In the regular season, the resurgent Buffalo Bills posted the best alpha at 40.7, "which is relatively low dating back to when we started this paper," Mr. Lardieri said.
The relatively low number for the highest alpha meant that the market makers were more efficient in the 2020 season.
A notable outlier was the Baltimore Ravens, which ended the season with an alpha of -6.9, down from 39.3 in the 2019 season.
"The Ravens, which were a playoff team did not have the alpha you'd expect them to have because people expected them to do much better," Mr. Lardieri said.
The Ravens posted a record of 11-5, but they were the favorites in 15 of the 16 games in the regular season.
Meanwhile, despite a 4-11-1 record, the Cincinnati Bengals posted a positive alpha of 15.8%.
"A huge upset against the Steelers on 'Monday Night Football' at the end of the year drove their alpha into positive territory," Mr. Lardieri said.
This year's paper on the NFL Alphas measurement is available on Wells Fargo's website.