Super Bowl LVII betting: Deep cuts in the prop market
Part of the fun of betting Super Bowl props is being able to cover every element of the game. With enough well-managed small bets, there will literally never be a dull moment. Here is a pair - one that will have you interested in every kickoff, and another that doesn't kick in until after you've had your last chicken wing.
Longest drive: Under 81.5 yards (-110)
First, the obvious: You can't have a drive of longer than 81.5 yards if you never start with the ball inside the 20-yard line.
There are three ways a team can start inside the 19-yard line:
- A kickoff isn't returned to at least the 19-yard line
- A punt downed inside the 20-yard line
- A turnover inside the red zone
Before we touch on each situation, we'll start with a hypothesis. Both the Chiefs and Eagles are in the top five in third-down conversion percentage, so they're not just good offenses, but ones that take time off the clock while they do business. With so few three-and-outs, we'll assume that each team will get six possessions that won't end with time running out in the half. A 50.5-point total assumes there will be eight scores on average. Along with the start of the two halves, the hypothesis is that 10 drives will start after a kickoff. So kickoff results will play a bigger role than usual in deciding field-position starting points.
Despite playing his home games outdoors, occasionally in cold weather, Jake Elliott had a career-high touchback percentage of 69.2%. Here are his kickoffs and touchbacks when playing indoors.
That's 23 indoor kickoffs for Elliott this season, and he had 22 touchbacks. The lone non-touchback was the Cowboys' KaVontae Turpin returning one from 7 yards deep in the end zone.
The Eagles played at this year's Super Bowl site, but Elliott missed the game, and Cameron Dicker was four of five in touchbacks.
Despite playing his home games outdoors, occasionally in cold weather, Harrison Butker has a career touchback rate of 68.3%. Here are his kickoffs and touchbacks when playing indoors this season.
Butker got hurt after his lone kickoff in Arizona in Week 1. Chiefs safety Justin Reid came in and kicked five touchbacks on seven kickoffs. The climate-controlled environment of State Farm Stadium might just be a great place to kick.
With Elliott and Butker combining for touchbacks on 37 of 41 kickoffs, there's a 90% chance that a drive after a score starts on the 25-yard line. The Chiefs will be without their best kick returner in Mecole Hardman, while the Eagles' Boston Scott had the 30th-most kick returns this season. Neither team will be looking to push the envelope from deep in the end zone. When Scott did return a kickoff, he was fifth in average return yardage at 27.1, so even without a touchback, he should get past the 20-yard line.
Both in the bottom five of punt attempts, neither the Eagles or the Chiefs are dying to play the field-position game - punting at a place on the field where they're looking to down the ball inside the 20. Instead they'll opt to go for it around midfield. As for failed fourth-down conversions inside the 20-yard line, both teams are top five in converting fourth downs into first downs and red-zone trips into touchdowns.
There should be very few chances for the Eagles or Chiefs to have long drives of 82-plus yards, but even if they get opportunities, they still have to drive all the way down the field to hand us a loss.
Chiefs to win 4th quarter by shutout (+500)
Let's sprinkle in a bet to keep things going long after most of our other wagers have been decided. The Eagles didn't score very many fourth-quarter points this season because they rarely needed to. There are a couple of situations where they could have a scoreless final quarter Sunday.
As in most of their games, maybe they're ahead by so much that killing the clock is more important than scoring. However, if the Chiefs have a modest lead, and the Eagles are forced to rely on Jalen Hurts' arm in comeback mode, maybe he's unable to pass that test. In both cases, the Eagles might be less likely to try a field goal, instead going for the kill shot with a fourth-down conversion to keep the ball or needing to go for it on fourth down to keep hope alive. At 5-1 odds, it's worth a small bet to make sure you're perked up for the fourth quarter, regardless of the state of the game.
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.