A few years ago my state legalized casino gambling, but still hadn’t ventured into legalized sports betting. Just before last year’s Super Bowl they did, and I was like a kid on Christmas Eve.
On the eve of this year’s big game, sports gambling is like an old hat. Being able to bet on a random Nuggets-Clippers matchup on a Tuesday Night has taken a little of the magic away from it, but the Super Bowl is still the Super Bowl.
Aside from picking a winner, with or without the spread, and the over/under, there are literally over a dozen pages of prop bets available to wager on. Looking at all the options is more than just a kid on Christmas Eve. It’s like being a kid in a candy store with an unlimited selection.
In some ways, it can be amateur hour, like people going out on New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day to drink once a year. But nonetheless, it happens once a year and its fun.
I took the liberty of going through all these prop bets and will give you the ones I like, some of which I may have even thrown a few bucks on. To begin with, when looking at prop bets, make sure they make sense for you. For instance, you should cultivate a strategy based on which team you think is going to win, and if you think it’s going to be a high or a low scoring game.
I will get this right out of the way. I took San Francisco with the money line, (-128), and under 47.5pts. I think betting against Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Andy Reid and Steve Spagnuolo is a tough thing to do. However, Kansas City isn’t unbeatable, as they’ve already lost this game once. And honestly, the Niners have been the superior team all year.
The only games San Francisco have lost all year have been when Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel were out with injuries. With the full squad present and accounted for, healthy, they have won. They did lose Week 18, but the game was meaningless to them and they rested their starters.
Kansas City has sputtered for much of the year and although they are seemingly clicking on all cylinders now that the playoffs are here, they could have very easily lost against the Ravens. They didn’t score again in the second half, which has been a problem all year for them.
It can be said that the Niners were lucky in the playoffs too, narrowly escaping both Green Bay and Detroit, but the fact is, the tough wins will actually work in their favor. Everyone talks about Mahomes’ six straight AFC Championship appearances and four appearances, but Brock Purdy has been in two straight NFC Championship games, and if it weren’t for his injury last year against the Eagles, this game could very well be a rematch.
And, for all the talk about Kansas City’s defense, San Francisco’s defense has only given up 0.2 of a point more per game all year and their offense has scored about a touchdown more than Kansas City per game. Because of these reasons I think San Francisco matches up very well and will be able to both; keep the ball away from Patrick Mahomes for large stretches of time with their dominant run game and score enough to force Mahomes to play catch-up. San Francisco’s defense is also strong enough to hold the lead.
Based on this analysis these are my prop bets:
Brock Purdy, Under 249.5 YDs: I believe San Francisco’s gamelan will be to employ a ball control running attack, which will limit Purdy’s need to pass the ball as much, generating fewer passing YDs. I also believe they will be playing with a lead which will increase their running game, further diminishing his passing yardage.
Patrick Mahomes, Over 249.5 YDs: Conversely, Mahomes often likes to, and needs to play hero ball. He will need to in this game, which will add to his passing attempts and yardage. San Francisco’s defense may allow him to dink and dunk which will also take time off the clock. Especially, on the biggest stage, Mahomes is going to throw the ball. As much as they like using Isiah Pacheco in the rushing game to keep defenses honest, this is Mahomes’ game to win or lose.
Mahomes, more passing YDs: He’s -150 to pass for more yards than Purdy. I’ve elaborated why I think this will happen.
Mahomes, Over 100 passing YDs, 1st and 2nd half: Again, if I believe he’s gaining over 249.5 passing YDs, he’ll have to eclipse 100 YDs in at least one of the halves. I think the second half will be a guarantee, and I can’t see him going into the half with under 100 passing YDs.
Travis Kelce, Over 6.5 receptions and Over 64.5 receiving Yds: With no tomorrow’s until next season, both teams will rely heavily on their stars. And with his girlfriend flying in from the orient, he’ll want to do his best to put on a show. As I said, I believe San Francisco’s defense will do their best to keep plays in front of them, creating many chances for him to accumulate receptions.
Kelce, Over 25 receiving YDs in 1st and 2nd half: Under the same strategy of taking Mahomes to get over 100 YDs in each half, he’ll have to throw the ball to someone to accumulate his yardage, he’ll be looking at his main target early and often in this game.
Christian McCaffrey, Over 119.5 combined YDs: McCaffrey was robbed of the MVP this season, but won offensive player of the year. He is one the league’s most lethal dual threats the league has ever had. San Francisco will find him the ball often, whether on the ground or in the air. I’d be shocked if he did get 30 touches in this game, and if that happens all he’ll have to do is average 4 yards per carry to win this bet.
McCaffrey, Over 35 rushing YDs, 1st and 2nd half: He’s the best offensive weapon in the game. He’s healthy, and he’s had two weeks to rest and prepare. He’s rushing for over 35 yds each half.
Isiah Pacheco, Under 74.5 rushing YDs: Pacheco runs hard when he gets the ball, and I do like him. But, especially from behind, the Chiefs will rely on Mahomes, which will diminish Pacheco’s effectiveness. And, in this game, Mahomes may rely on his own legs in certain instances, which will also take away from Pacheco’s rushing YDs.
Purdy, Under 30.5 passing attempts: All of these bets have a theme, and a reason behind them. I’ve already mentioned why Purdy won’t have a ton of passing attempts.
Purdy, Over 12.5 rushing YDs: Purdy has shown the ability to scramble out of trouble in the pocket and run. I think it’s been hammered into him, if the pocket breaks down, don’t play hero ball. Throw it away or run out of trouble; one big run will get him over this number.
These are a few bets I made with larger odds, “just for fun”:
Christian McCaffrey +450 to win the MVP: If San Francisco does prevail it will be in large part to what McCaffrey will do.
Mahomes to score a rushing TD, +440. Purdy to score a rushing TD, +850: These two bets are in essence a tandem bet. The quarterback is the only player who has the ball at the start of every offensive play. Especially in this game, there is the likelihood that one of these two QBs will score, whether it’s a tush push, or a naked bootleg, a QB touchdown isn’t so crazy, and one of them doing it will ensure a profit on these two wagers. On two $100 bets, if Mahomes scores a TD, you’ll win $340, if Purdy does, you’ll win $750…if they both do, you’ll win $1,290.
First and second half same score, +2000: This is completely a shot in the dark. At 20/1 odds if the first and second half scores are identical, a $100 wager will win you $2,000.
Exact Score, San Fransisco 27-17 +12000: The ultimate shot in the dark. Based on my analysis and projection, I believe the score is going to end up 27-17. The odds for this score are 120/1. If that happens, $100 will net you a cool $12,000…(I didn’t wager $100 on this)
This is the ultimate game for predictions, projections, and bets. It happens once a year, enjoy it. Don’t bet what you can’t lose. Have fun with all the options at your fingertips, and hopefully we’ll all come away with a few more dollars at the end of the night, than we woke up with.
Good luck everyone.