Yes — the title of this article is a (bad) joke. If “sure-thing” bets existed, I wouldn’t be sitting in my basement office in frigid Rochester, NY writing this props article for you right now.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t find Super Bowl props that give us an edge (even if that edge is small). I’ve dug into Sunday’s 49ers-Chiefs matchup, looked at the props being offered by the DraftKings sportsbook and come up with 12 worth your money.
Patrick Mahomes under 299.5 passing yards (+104)
Am I scared to bet a Mahomes under? Yup. But this bet offers nice value on paper considering we have Mahomes projected for 248 passing yards.
He’s reached 300 in 8 of 15 games this season. But the ‘Niners allowed 300+ in only 4 of 18 contests — and 2 of those came in Weeks 14 through 16 when they were dealing with injuries to DE Dee Ford, LB Kwon Alexander and S Jaquiski Tartt.
San Francisco ranks 2nd in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA. Mahomes faced New England’s #1 pass defense in Week 14 and came away with 283 passing yards.
Jimmy Garoppolo under 240.5 passing yards (-112)
Garoppolo has topped 240 passing yards in 10 of 18 games this season. But he did so by fewer than 8 yards 3 times. We’ve seen the ‘Niners go extremely run-heavy this postseason, resulting in outings of 131 and 77 yards for Garoppolo.
Expect a similar game plan on Sunday against a Chiefs defense sitting 29th in Football Outsiders’ run defense rankings. The risk, of course, is Kansas City racing out to a big lead and forcing the ‘Niners to chuck it. I don’t expect that to happen, though. And even if it does, it won’t be easy for Garoppolo. The Chiefs rank 6th in FO’s pass defense DVOA and allowed the 8th fewest passing yards per game (221.4) this season.
We project Garoppolo for 203 passing yards.
Jimmy Garoppolo under 19.5 completions (+100)
Similar story here. Garoppolo topped 19 completions in just 8 of 18 games this season. He’s TOTALED just 17 in 2 playoff games. We project him for 17 completions on Sunday.
Damien Williams first rush attempt over 3.5 yards (+115)
Williams averaged 4.5 yards per carry this season. The 49ers allowed 4.2 yards per carry to RBs. Those numbers are partially inflated by long runs — but I’ll still take my chances here, especially getting plus money on the over.
Sammy Watkins under 50.5 receiving yards (-125)
This number is inflated by his huge game in the AFC Championship. But this ain’t the Titans pass defense that Watkins gets on Sunday. The 49ers allowed the 4th fewest receiving yards to WRs during the regular season.
Watkins, meanwhile, topped 50 yards in just 6 of 15 healthy games this season (although he finished with 49 or 50 in 3 others). We project him for 37 in the Super Bowl.
Mecole Hardman over 22.5 receiving yards (-112)
The rookie played 40% of Kansas City’s offensive snaps in the AFC Championship — his highest mark since Week 11. And for the 1st time all season with a healthy Tyreek Hill, Hardman ran more routes (21) than Demarcus Robinson (17).
His role is expanding, and I’m looking for HC Andy Reid to gameplan the ball into Hardman’s hands a few times on Sunday. The speedster can hit this over on just 1 catch.
Emmanuel Sanders more receiving yards than Sammy Watkins (+115)
Let’s pick on Watkins again. We project Sanders for 3 more yards than Watkins, making this a nice bet at plus money. Sanders has totaled just 33 yards across 2 playoff games but has remained a full-time player, running a route on 94% of Jimmy Garoppolo’s drop backs.
Jimmy Garoppolo 1st TD pass under 11.5 yards (-112)
Garoppolo has thrown 28 TDs this season. 17 of them, or 60.7%, have been under 11.5 yards. These -112 odds imply a 52.8% probability of his 1st TD going under 11.5 yards. That’s a nice edge for us.
George Kittle most receiving yards in the game (+400)
We project Kittle to lead this game in receiving yards, but he’s 3rd in odds behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce
I like betting this because Kittle’s receiving production has a wide range of outcomes, depending on how run-heavy the ‘Niners are able to go. This lets us cash in on his upside if San Francisco ends up chucking it a bunch.
Jersey number of 1st TD scorer under 26.5 (-143)
I ran the numbers and found a slight edge on the under based on our projections. We have jersey numbers under 26.5 totaling 2.8 TDs and numbers over 26.5 at 1.8. That’s a 60.9% chance that the 1st TD will be scored by a guy wearing a number under 26.5. The -143 odds imply a 58.8% chance.
Here are the guys on both sides of the ledger that we have projected for at least .1 TD:
Note: This will be a no-bet if Tevin Coleman ends up missing the game with his shoulder injury.
Both teams to score in 1st quarter (+105)
These teams rank 3rd (SF) and 10th (KC) in points scored in the 1st quarter — but just 11th (SF) and 28th (KC) in points allowed in the opening frame. I like both teams to get on the board within the first 15 minutes in what’s expected to be a high-scoring game.
49ers 1st team to score (-108)
As noted above, the 49ers sit 3rd in 1st quarter points scored and the Chiefs rank 28th in 1st quarter points allowed. Then there’s this: The ‘Niners have scored 1st in 12 of 18 games this season, while the Chiefs have done so in 9 of 18 games.