THE Super Bowl draws a whole a host of action from those who don’t normally venture near NFL betting, and outside of the main game markets (spread, total and money line, which we’ll look at next week), punters have plenty of options, ranging from the sublime like picking the colour of the Gatorade poured on the winning coaches head (it was blue last time) to the ridiculous, determining how many times President Trump will tweet during the game.
There’s always a fair share of coinflip style bets on offer too, including actually betting on the coinflip – 5-5 in the last 10 Super Bowls – or picking which team will call the first time out, and some perennial longshots, that come around now and again, the Super Bowl equivalent of backing zero on roulette, like either team to score a safety.
Outlandish gambles are available, such as one team shutting out the other (40/1) – something that hasn’t happened in the 53 iterations that have come before – or seemingly more sensible looks like either team to score a two-point conversions (11/4), though note that the 49ers and Chiefs rank 27th and 28th respectively this season for two-point conversions attempted.
— NFL (@NFL) January 20, 2020
Shrewder gamblers will look at the player prop markets, with by far the most popular market being MVP. Quarterbacks are almost always the favourites here, with the winning QB making up two thirds of the last 15 Super Bowl MVPs. Out of the six non QB MVPs in that time, four were Wide Receivers, and the remaining two defensive players. The last running back to win it was Terrell Davis back in 1998.
No surprise then that Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is the heavy favourite (23/20) and whilst that’s not exactly hugely tempting, he could be worth look if you like the Chiefs to win outright and want more value than the money line (10/13) as it’s highly likely he’ll need a strong game for Kansas City to thrive. This isn’t as clear cut for the 49ers, as evidenced in the last few playoff games, where their QB Jimmy Garropolo (9/4 for MVP) was a somewhat peripheral figure, with the San Francisco ground game taking centre stage offensively. This explains Raheem Mostert, scorer of 4TDs in the NFC Championship game coming in as third favourite for MVP (9/1), and if he is leant on a similar amount, then he could be an interesting contender (Davis ran for 3TDs and 157 yards in his MVP performance).
The Chiefs Tyreek Hill is the best placed WR at 20/1, whilst 49ers Tight End George Kittle is 16/1. Whilst he’s a hell of player, Kittle would be the first Tight End to ever win Super Bowl MVP if awarded the honour on Sunday. Mecole Hardman (80/1) and Richard Sherman (also 80/1) are interesting, as their playmaking ability (Hardman on returns, Sherman with interceptions) means they could load up the highlight reel and steal the show, though remember Jacoby Jones 108 yard kick return TD in Super Bowl XLVII wasn’t enough to land him the prize, which went to Ravens QB Joe Flacco.
The touchdown scorer market is also lively – with Mostert odds on (13/20) to get in anytime. Tevin Coleman (19/10 anytime) may be better value here given his effectiveness inside the 20, but he’s an injury doubt after the knock sustained against the Packers. Kendrick Bourne is not a prolific receiver but has the knack of coming up in clutch scoring situations so at 20/1 (first TD) and 3/1 (anytime) may be worth a look. Kittle isn’t a prolific TD scorer, though I like the look of over 67.5 receiving yards, if you buy into the theory that San Fran will air it out more than in their two playoff games.
Travis Kelce with 6TDs in last nine games as an anytime TD scorer (19/20) is possibly the safest play for Kansas City given the streaky risk of Tyreek Hill or Sammy Watkins, though Hill (15/2) could be worth considering for the high risk, high reward first TD market if you picture Mahomes and the Chiefs coming out blazing and dialling up a big downfield play on their first possession.