Super Bowl LVII betting: Defense, special teams props
In the NFL's fantasy football-driven world, defenses aren't often looked at when it comes to prop markets. The Super Bowl is an exception, with two weeks to prepare for one game allowing for a deeper dive than we'd normally take. That means we can find some value where it's not commonly found and also means you might be cheering for things you're not used to getting excited about. That's the fun of Super Bowl prop betting.
Justin Reid over 5.5 tackles
In-between bites into a chicken wing, as you're balancing various plates with a cold beverage, always be ready to cheer for a tackle on a run-of-the-mill 3-yard gain.
Justin Reid averaged 4.88 tackles per game this season, so you can understand why his tackle total is lined just above five. However, whether it's quick throws or Jalen Hurts running the read-option to put linebackers in decision-making paralysis, the Eagles force opponents' defensive backs to make tackles.
We saw it in the first game of the season - where the Lions' Tracy Walker made a team-high 13 tackles - and throughout the year, as safeties like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Harrison Smith, and Malik Hooker led their respective teams or had close to a season high in tackles. Sometimes both safeties were forced to rack up tackles. Packers safeties Rudy Ford and Adrian Amos had nine each, and three Titans safeties combined for 19 in Philadelphia.
In the divisional round, Giants safeties Julian Love and Xavier McKinney made eight tackles each, and Talanoa Hufanga went over this total in the NFC title game.
With more tackles and fewer passes defensed than teammate Juan Thornhill, look for Reid to be the support in the run game, particularly for when Hurts keeps the ball and takes off for the outside. Lastly, only four teams ran more plays than the Eagles this season, and more plays mean more opportunities for tackles.
Total sacks: Under 5.5 (-130)
One of the headlines for the Eagles' defense is the number of sacks the unit has racked up this season - a league-high 70. Plus, we all saw one quarterback pressure that changed the NFC Championship Game early. However, while the Eagles' soft schedule doesn't preclude them from winning the Super Bowl, there's no denying they haven't faced a quarterback with the ability to maneuver in the pocket like Patrick Mahomes.
With Creed Humphrey and Joe Thuney, the Chiefs boast two second-team All-Pro selections on the offensive line, and only two teams allowed fewer sacks than the Chiefs this season.
And while the Chiefs have a pair of second-team All-Pro linemen, the Eagles have a pair of first-teamers in Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Kelce will be the key in organizing double-team blocking against Chris Jones. With the Eagles' desire to get the ball out quick enough to challenge the young Chiefs secondary to tackle, Hurts likely won't be holding the ball long in the passing game. And when offensive coordinator Shane Steichen does call for a shot down field, Hurts can escape if protection breaks down.
Total field goals: Under 3.5 (-160)
Andy Reid and Nick Sirianni are two coaches who should know what type of contest they're involved in. They won't care that the game total is over 50 points but should know that field goals may not cut it. Both Reid and Sirianni aren't afraid of going for it on fourth down in plus territory.
Harrison Butker has battled injury all season and was just 18 for 24 for a career-low 75% field-goal make rate. Jake Elliott, meanwhile, only attempted 23 field goals despite playing in 16 games this season - furthering the point that the Eagles are willing to risk it on fourth down for a chance at seven points.
While both kickers are capable of striking from long distance in crunch time, I expect the coaches to save the field-goal attempts for when there's no other option.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.