Super Bowl 55 Betting Breakdown
Suppose you believe through whatever your assessment process is, the Kansas City Chiefs are the play, investment, straight-up and against the spread winner on Super Sunday. Have you considered alternatives to backing KC while laying the oddsmakers spread or money line?
Like everything in the sports betting market, and the Super Bowl is absolutely no exception, some risks are unavoidable. Weighing the risk and rewards can, for the most part, be measured. The first alternative I outline in this WagerTalk Super Bowl Propositions Preview stretches beyond primary moneyline and yes or no “Player Prop” options.
There’s been a total of 54 Super Bowls. Super Sunday 55 is as different as all of the first 54 matchups have been. The more the league morphs into an offense-heavy scheme, the connection between a quality quarterback and championship rings becomes more prevalent. The correlation is a slap in the face. It’s reality, whether you agree or not. Hence Patrick Mahomes (+100) and Tom Brady (+200) having the shortest odds for Super Bowl 55. All things being equal, it takes an extraordinary performance for a player other than the winning team’s Quarterback to be crowned the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Without taking and using the excessive amount of time and space required to analyze each of the last ten NFL championship games, an example of just how much weight is placed on the quarterback can be outlined and why its good to be King or Quarterback, came in last February’s Super Bowl.
I made a wager on Kansas City running back Damien Williams to win SB54 MVP at odds of +2750. The market undervalued Williams and his role in the Chiefs backfield leading up to last year’s playoffs, through the postseason, and in the Super Sunday 54 game itself. The Divisional Round and the Conference Championship games found Williams with a snap rate of nearly 91 percent. Furthermore, the tailback garnered 29 of the backfield’s 30 carries and 12 of its 14 targets from Mahomes to running backs. In his ten regular-season games as a Chief, his snap rate was in the neighborhood of 60 percent, and he averaged just over 60 yards rushing per game.
Williams’ player prop odds at Fanduel, last year at this time, was as follows: Rushing Yards: o/u 52.5 / Rushing + Receiving Yards: o/u 82.5. At DraftKings, Williams’ MVP odds had opened at +3300 and closed at +2500.
And the MVP Goes To…
When Williams broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run in the final quarter, it ended any hope that the 49ers could earn a come-from-behind victory. Williams’ TD run also issued me the confidence I should and would cash – a +2750 MVP prop ticket on Williams. The KC tailback had 17 carries for 104 yards, four receptions for 29 yards, and two all-purpose touchdowns. Mahomes finished the game with a stat-line of 26-of-42 for 286 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He rushed for 29 yards and a touchdown. It was not one of Mahomes’s best performances, but the third-year signal-caller was the engineer of 21 fourth-quarter KC points.
My belief that Williams would be voted the game’s VIP was naïve. The winning team’s Quarterback, Mahomes (+115), was voted MVP and was ceremoniously announced as the award winner. Like death and taxes for almost all mortals, there are also two givens in the NFL; 1) tie goes to the offense 2) dependent on the situation, the field general receives the butt slaps, or the blame for gameday wins and losses. Furthermore, the NFL is the owner of American Sundays, and it is a quarterback-driven league.
Quarterbacks Or Bust
In the past ten years, seven QB’s, two defensive players, and a wide receiver have taken home Most Valuable Player honors in the Super Bowl.
2020: Patrick Mahomes +115
2019: Julian Edelman +2000
2018: Nick Foles +325
2017: Tom Brady +150
2016: Von Miller +2200
2015: Tom Brady +160
2014: Malcolm Smith +2000
2013: Joe Flacco +250
2012: Eli Manning +210
2011: Aaron Rodgers +175
Quarterbacks have won the game’s most valuable hardware 30 times, compared to seven times for wide receivers and running backs, four times for linebackers, two times each for defensive ends and safeties. A cornerback, defensive tackle, and a kick returner have each won the award once.
Since Super Bowl 34 in 2000, quarterbacks have been the MVP 13 times.
Since Super Bowl 44 in 2010, quarterbacks have won the MVP eight times.
I could breakdown each Super Bowl game in which the Quarterback didn’t win. However, I won’t. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to label that it is Super Sunday fact that the formula for earning the game’s MVP award takes nothing more than a good Week 1 through 17 Sunday QB performance, with the most crucial stat-line being listed as the winning Quarterback.
Defensive Lineman to win a Super Bowl MVP
Super Bowl L saw the Denver Broncos defensive lineman Von Miller earn the MVP award in a game Peyton Manning was the winning Quarterback. Manning recorded a 13-for-23 with 141 passing yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
If you remembered Legion of Doom linebacker Malcolm Smith, you would be in the minority. Smith won the MVP in Super Bowl XLVIII. The final score did not accurately represent the boxscore in a game the Seattle Seahawks won by a 43-8 final over the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning was 34-49, throwing for 280 yards with one TD and two interceptions. A Seahawks wide receiver, Percy Harvin, led the team in rushing with 45 yards, and the Broncos’ tailback Knowshon Moreno led Denver’s ground game with 17 yards on five carries.
Seattle got a defensive score on a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown by Smith, closing out the first half of the game and making the score 22-0 in favor of the Seahawks at the intermission. Smith recorded ten tackles, a PD (pass defended), and the already mentioned interception return for a touchdown.
The way the Kansas City Chiefs are built, with Andy Reid’s DNA stamped all over this team, it is reasonable to believe how Patrick Mahomes goes, so go the Chiefs. If Kansas City wins Super Bowl 55, the odds are shorter than his prop payout; he wins his second straight MVP.
The Chiefs’ Offense is Built on the Back of Mahomes
The backfield on Super Sunday will have three KC tailbacks handling the workload. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (+2800), Darrel Williams (+4000), and Le’Von Bell (+10000) will all be active and carry a portion of the workload. It would take a Super Sunday miracle for one of the three to be awarded the trophy.
The two receivers that have an opportunity to earn SB55 MVP, Tyreek Hill (+1200) and Travis Kelce (+1300), would have to register three touchdowns, with one coming on the ground and not from the arm of Mahomes. It is also reasonable to believe that each receiver would exceed ten receptions and 200 yards receiving. And if one or both receivers were to achieve those statistical marks, Mahomes would facilitate the numbers.
Instead of betting Chiefs -3 and the vig; Mahomes as MVP
Kansas City is between -165 and -175 on the money line depending on the shop, and the Chiefs are -3 (-117) at DraftKings as of 6 am ET on Tuesday, Jan 27, the time I published this in my WagerTalk Super Bowl Big Ticket analysis.
If the Chiefs are to earn their second straight Super Sunday title, it is as probable that Mahomes wins the MVP as it is that the Chiefs win and do so by 4 points or more. All things being, the probability of Mahomes winning the MVP can be argued in the neighborhood of 80 percent; if KC wins the game. The investment at DraftKings on Maholms winning the MVP returns even money (+100).
The probability for an NFL team winning by one, two, or three points since 2006:
1 = 3.7%
2 = 3.8%
3 = 14.7% – Wagering on the Chiefs at -3 regardless of the vig with a final score of KC winning by three would result in a push.
You can, of course, lay a buck-seventy or thereabouts on the Chiefs to earn a straight-up win on the game and your sportsbook game ticket.
In the last 10 Super Bowls I have outlined in this player prop analysis, I believe it offers the mathematical support that betting on the Mahomes MVP prop – SB55 MVP – is an alternative to betting the Chiefs as a team at minus-3 with shop vig.
Super Bowl Trends
Before you dive headfirst into the Super Bowl MVP proposition waters, it would not be responsible on my part to leave out the following SB trends:
• The last ten straight-up Super Bowl winners also covered the closing number.
• The spread has not come into play in the last 11 Super Bowls. Winners are 46-6-2 ATS. The last team to win but not cover was Pittsburgh in 2008 over Arizona, a minus-7 point favorite, with a final score resulting in a Cardinals victory by four points.
• The Chiefs are the fifth straight preseason favorite (+400) to reach the Super Bowl. Three of the last four won the game.
• Kansas City is 5-0 ATS this season when the line is between +3 and -3.
• The Chiefs went 2-8 ATS in its last ten games and 9-1 SU over that game-frame. Kansas City’s lone loss in their previous ten games came at Arrowhead against the Chargers, in which head coach Andy Reid and his staff chose not to play the team’s starters.
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