As I teased in my last article about non-football prop bets, here is a list of my favorite football-related prop bets for Sunday’s big game (courtesy of Bovada and BetOnline).
Super Bowl MVP (Favorite is Patrick Mahomes at +105)
Clearly, Mahomes is the most likely to win the award. Though the Chiefs defense has improved, Mahomes still has to be great for them to be successful. I have no hold-ups about calling Mahomes the best QB on planet earth right now.
Betting on the MVP is about finding value. Quarterbacks have won MVP in more than half of all Super Bowls, but there are always exceptions such as Von Miller, Malcolm Smith, and Julian Edelman, just to name a few recent ones. Perhaps it may be smart to hedge your bet by putting a fat stack of cash on Mahomes, but then put some on a long shot.
If the 49ers win, I could easily see a skill player or defender winning MVP. Jimmy Garoppolo has basically been a non-factor in each of San Francisco’s playoff wins, and you could make a case for quite a few guys up and down the roster.
In order for the Niners to win, one has to think that sacks and turnovers would have to be part of the formula. Anyone on that defensive front, or a ball hawk like Richard Sherman (40:1) can be considered. Nick Bosa (20:1) gets most of the attention, but Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner can wreck a game too, and you can get over 100:1 on them!
First Touchdown (Favorite is Damien Williams +700)
First Touchdown may be the most consistently lucrative bet out there. To a degree, basically everyone is a long shot. The starting running backs are favored to find the end zone first, but even there we’re looking at at least 7:1 on your money. This is always a good bet to diversify on. I will probably place a small bet on someone from each team.
For KC, Mecole Hardman (22:1) is a fun bet. He is as explosive a playmaker as there is on this offense, AND he returns kicks. It’s not hard to imagine KC scoring on either a return or a quick 80-yard bomb.
For SF, Kendrick Bourne (20:1) is a solid play. He scored the first touchdown in the divisional round against Minnesota, and he provides a sizable red zone target for Garoppolo to throw to.
Over/Under 53.5 total points (per BetMGM)
This is one of those lines that just feels off. Both of these teams are coming off of conference championship games where their offenses were virtually unstoppable. It’s not hard to imagine this game with both teams in the 30s.
But when we see a bet where the play looks obvious, it’s smart to take a step back and remember that Vegas usually knows more than we realize.
That said, the data indicates that the over is the smart bet. in KC’s 18 games played this year, the over has hit 10 times. In San Francisco’s last 6 games, the over has hit 4 times and there has been 1 push. For what it’s worth, the over has hit in 6 of the last 8 Super Bowls. This might be an example of not wanting to overthink your bet.
Game Spread (KC -1.5) Moneyline (KC -125, SF +105)
I don’t feel real strongly as of now who will win this game. I will be rooting for Kansas City for several reasons (Andy Reid deserves a Lombardi, I like Patrick Mahomes, KC hasn’t won in forever, the Bay Area has won enough with the Niners, Warriors, and Giants). No matter what, there will be a bias.
I want the Chiefs to win and they should win, but I can’t help but remember what happened last time there was a Super Bowl billed as a matchup between a historically great offense and a historically great defense. I remember the Legion of Boom Seahawks beating Peyton Manning and the Broncos 43-8. Often, these matchups favor defense.
While I have my reservations, the Chiefs offense can beat defenses in so many ways that even great defenses have trouble with them. As explosive and talented as Mahomes is, the lack of sacks he takes and turnovers he commits might be more impressive. I think I’ll be placing a bet on KC -1.5, but not the moneyline. The odds that the Chiefs win by 1 measly point is so low that you should always be taking the value here.