Super Bowl weekend is here and it’s time to redeem my putrid conference championship weekend takes. As a transparent person, I have to readily admit that, “…we will look back on this game as a paradigm-shifting game for the way we view championship roster building. The days of simply trying to find the best quarterback in the league and let everything else fall into place are numbered” before a game that nearly entirely hinged on the fact that one team found itself without a quarterback capable of throwing the ball past the first down marker almost immediately is an all-time rough take. News flash (that pretty much nobody but me apparently needs): quarterback is still the most important position on the field. All that said, here’s to having a short memory and shaking off the stains of the past and making all the money back on some fun Super Bowl bets. As you know, I’m a subscriber to the “Have your game script made” philosophy.
I don’t know if it’s my lackluster performance recently or that I’ve had too much time to think about this game but it was difficult committing to a script for this game. Here’s where I’ve settled though. The Eagles are the more complete team. Philadelphia’s ability to generate pressure without blitzing is probably the single most important component to effectively defending a healthy Pat Mahomes, much less one that is three weeks removed from a high-ankle sprain. Kansas City’s interior pass rush is a strength but their secondary is vulnerable against a dynamite receiving duo like A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, plus Jalen Hurts ability as a runner especially paired with the improvements he’s made at using that ability to buy time to throw the ball down the field make it hard to trust the Chiefs’ defense to get a stop if they have to have one. Ultimately, I think this game is pretty close and probably lower scoring than a lot of people think. I think Philadelphia gets one more stop than Kansas City and wins by a touchdown. I also think Kansas City has at least one drive that ends in a field goal that makes us say, “If Pat Mahomes is 100% they score a touchdown on that drive.”
Prediction: Eagles -1.5 over Chiefs
Props and Specials:
The most fun part of betting the Super Bowl isn’t betting the game itself, but rather the game within the game. Sportsbooks have always opened the prop floodgates for Super Bowl Sunday, and now with gambling becoming legal in some states that pastime has only blossomed. Here are the nine special bets I like the most for Sunday’s action in no particular order.
Special #1: Correct Score: Eagles 27 Chiefs 20 +8500
You’ve got to have a correct score bet for the Super Bowl. It’s like having turkey on Thanksgiving or extended family political debates on Christmas…it’s just what you do. I said above that I like the Eagles in a close one mostly due to Kansas City coming up one stop short, which this score fits well. Also, notice that it goes under the score total of 50.5. On that note…
Special #2: Total Points Under 51.5 -125
Personally, I rarely go for point total bets, but again it’s Super Bowl Sunday so let’s just open up the *metaphorical* checkbook. Fifty-and-a-half feels like a sucker bet, even if I do think the final goes under that too. Fifty-one is kind of a magic number for NFL totals. Scores hit or go under fifty-one a pretty significant percentage of the time, so if you are going to bet this just pay a little vig (bumps odds down from -110 to -125) and get this thing to 51.5 and take the under.
Special #3: Margin of Victory of Exactly 7 points +790
See special #1. Some might advise a well-placed hedge here and bet the 3-point margin of victory special instead, but this is an all engine, no breaks kind of column. If you are with me on the score pick, then sprinkle a little more on this too.
Special #4: Jalen Hurts to Rush for 25+ yards in Each Half +300
This bet is predicated on two things: 1) the game being close enough that Jalen Hurts needs to use his legs in both halves and 2) Chris Jones forcing him too. I think if these teams played four times, that scenario plays out more than once so this is a value play.
Special #5: Any Player to have a 60+ yard Reception +300
Still betting that Jalen Hurts gets outside the pocket and uncorks one to DeVonta Smith or A.J. Brown for a huge chunk play. Kind of like this. (Sorry I had to sneak one Alabama clip in here.)
Special #6: A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith Combined 200+ Receiving Yards +500
I think Kansas City’s secondary is at a big disadvantage here. This is a longer shot but at 5/1 odds I think it has value.
Special #7: Miles Sanders First Eagles Touchdown AND Travis Kelce First Chiefs Touchdown +1800
Individually each of these things seem pretty reasonable, so why is this 18/1 odds?
Special #8: Total Yardage of All Kansas City Chiefs Touchdowns Under 32.5 Yards +116
This bet entirely depends on how many touchdowns the Chiefs score. I have them scoring two touchdowns, which just means their average touchdown length has to be less than 17 yards (16.5 if you wanna be a stickler).
Special #9: Both teams make a 33+ Yard Field Goal -102
This one hit for me last year, and I have four total made field goals in my final score prediction. No brainer.
Playoff Record: 6-6
Cover Photo Courtesy of Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images