There is so much game gear available for Super Bowl LVIII. So what are the best bets to make leading up to the big game?
NFL betting experts Eric Moody, Tyler Fulghum, Seth Walder, Anita Marks, Kevin Pulsifer and Aaron Schatz explain what they like best, and Mackenzie Kraemer offers his best betting picks.
Odds from ESPN BET
As you look at this game and how you think it’s going to go, are there any supports that fit into that narrative?
Schatz: I’m on the OVER side the whole game. Yes, these defenses are very good. But the 49ers were the ninth best offense of the last 43 years according to my DVOA ratings, and the Chiefs offense was a bit underrated, they still ranked eighth despite their issues. In particular, I like the ending for the first part. Both of these defenses played much better after halftime during the regular season. The Chiefs offense ranked seventh in the first half of games and 15th in the second half. (The 49ers were first in both halves). Overall, I’d expect the offenses to come out with a few notes and then the defenses to adjust, so I’ll take total first half points OVER 23.5 (Even).
Walder: I like UNDER 4.5 total sacks (-130) in the game. I have added a new model to address this question and it feels very much for the bottom, rating it at -162. I think it makes sense. Patrick Mahomes is elite at avoiding the sack (3.7% sack percentage, second only to Josh Allen) and Brock Purdy (5.5%) is also better than average.
Fulghum: I like the Chiefs to jump out to an early lead because of the huge experience advantage at QB with Mahomes and Andy Reid building successful game plans with extra days off. However, I don’t think the 49ers will fade. I think they have proven that they can respond to adversity. So let’s have fun with an awesome LONGSHOT prop: 1st Quarter Score/First Half – Lead/Tie (+3000). This is fair. Let’s say the Chiefs are up 7-3 after the first and we’re tied 13-13 at the half.
Pulsifer: Chiefs to win first quarter with shutout (+320). Tyler and I seem to be on board with the game script across the board here, but I’m going to twist it a bit. Super Bowls have historically started very slowly, with a pregame 1Q total ranked at 10 or 10.5. I would have taken it down but this time it’s 9.5 so I have to roll. In the four Kansas City/San Francisco divisional and conference playoff games, there have been 2, 2, 3 and 3 total possessions in the opening quarter. It’s very possible the 49ers only see the ball once in this span, so give me the 3-0, 7-0 or 10-0 chalkboards.
Scores: Kansas City to score on its First Drive. KC has scored on its first drive in all three playoff games and its first two drives against the Ravens (best defense in the playoffs). Andy Reid is great in the first series script. Mahomes has played in six shutout games and was held under 27 just once.
What other game props do you like?
Walder: This is an extension of my other game support, but if you’re looking for a longshot to root I put a small value on no sacks in the game at 40-1. My model — which takes into account factors such as quarterbacks’ ability to avoid sacks, quality of pass rush, quality of offensive lines and how often defenses attack — prices this back at 33-1.
Pulsifer: Largest game lead UNDER 14.5 points (-125). The Chiefs have had a lead of more than 14 points in their last six games and it came in the Wild Card round finale against Miami. To go back further, they had only one other lead that big since their Week 10: against the Patriots (by just seven minutes). I don’t expect either team to run away with this game and I like it overall. Getting 14 here is essential, and I wouldn’t accept it at 13.5.
Grades: Kansas City OVER 23.5 Total Points. KC has had two weeks to prepare for this 49ers defense, which is highly overrated. San Francisco struggles against the run and punt. Mahomes is 4-0 at Allegiant Stadium and averaging 27 PPG indoors. The Chiefs defense will help with the short field opportunities for Mahomes and crew.
Pulsifer and Dopp: Tails never fail (+100).
Game props betting highlights
A player to score an Octopus is 16-1 on ESPN BET, meaning a player scored a touchdown and 2-point conversion on the same drive. This has happened 11 times this season. The only octopus in Super Bowl history came last season when Jalen Hurts pulled it off. The last Chiefs Octopus was from Mahomes last season, while no 49ers player has had one since 2016 (Carlos Hyde).
Shortest touchdown odds are set at 1.5 yards (under -150). The shortest play has been 1 yard in four straight Super Bowls, six of the past eight Super Bowls and eight of the last 11 Super Bowls.
The 49ers are -110 to score more points in the first half than in the second half and overtime (-120). The second half has had the fewest points in the Chiefs’ eight straight games and 13 of the Chiefs’ last 14 games. The second half has had fewer points in 11 of 19 of 49 games this season (one push).
The 49ers are +200 to score a touchdown in their opener. The 49ers punted 10 times during the regular season, three more than any other team. They haven’t scored in their opening playoff game.
Both teams are -115 to score the shortest field goal. 49ers kicker Jake Moody has attempted just two field goals less than 30 yards in his last 13 games. In that same span, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker has made 10 short field goals, including seven in his last five games.