Never are prop bets more popular than in the Super Bowl. From the coin toss to the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach to the winner of the Super Bowl MVP award, props have become a ubiquitous part of the game-watch experience for the NFL’s biggest game.
This year’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs has plenty of intrigue on its own. The point spread is Eagles -1.5, indicating that sports books and bettors expect a close game. But there are some particularly intriguing player prop bets out there, so let’s take a look at a few in particular with a focus on one specific player.
Specifically, we’re going to look at Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. There’s no quarterback who has done more with his arm this season than Mahomes; he ranked first in the NFL in DYAR (a measure of cumulative production) and finished third in DVOA (efficiency) during the regular season. He also led the NFL in passing yards with 5,250, touchdowns with 41, and QBR at 77.6.
Mahomes locked up the NFL MVP award on Thursday, and he could finally break the streak of players not winning the MVP and Lombardi Trophy in the same season; that streak dates back more than two decades since Kurt Warner won both awards in 1999.
On the other side of the football, the Eagles’ pass defense is elite, finishing first in the NFL in most categories — total yards allowed, net yards per attempt, and DVOA. Here’s the problem with the Eagles: they haven’t played a quarterback anywhere near Mahomes’ stratosphere. In fact, the Eagles played against top-15 quarterbacks (by DVOA) just three times all season:
- Week 1 — Jared Goff, DET (4th in DVOA): 21-37, 215 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 sack
- Week 4 — Trevor Lawrence, JAX (6th): 11-23, 174 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 4 sacks
- Week 16 — Dak Prescott, DAL (11th): 27-35, 347 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 6 sacks
Note that in each case, the Eagles gave up multiple touchdown passes to these QBs, with Prescott in particular having a huge day, even despite the Philadelphia pass rush recording those six sacks.
The above illustrates just how abysmal a slate of quarterbacks the Eagles got to face this season. They did not face any stiffer competition in the postseason, either, beating the Giants with Daniel Jones and the 49ers with Brock Purdy starting. In the NFC Championship, Purdy was knocked out with an elbow injury and missed much of the game, and even when he did return he was not able to throw the ball.
Again, Mahomes has been head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL in total production this season, but the Eagles haven’t played even one quarterback who is close to him in terms of efficiency or overall production all year. This should definitely affect judgments of their success against the pass.
In contrast, Mahomes played six games against top-ten pass defenses (by DVOA) and ten in total against top-15 units. In those six games against top-ten pass defenses, Mahomes threw for more than 325 yards five times, only coming up short of that mark in a week 2 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Furthermore, Mahomes threw at least two touchdowns in every one of those games, going for three scores in four of those six opportunities. He also took just eight sacks in total, just over one per game, and he is historically one of the least-sacked quarterbacks in modern NFL history. Finally, his passer rating in these six games was 105.0, almost identical to his 105.2 overall rating for the season.
Simply put, Mahomes ate up top-third pass defenses to the same level that he produced against all teams, regardless of defensive quality. That leads this writer to feel confident about his ability to produce against the Eagles defense, even knowing how well that defense has performed this season.
If you come to a similar conclusion based on the above numbers, then a few Mahomes props could interest you. At the DraftKings Sportsbook, the current over/under on Mahomes’ passing yards is set at 295.5, with even odds (-115) on either side. Based on the numbers he has posted against top passing defenses this season, the over looks like a good bet, even though the Eagles have only allowed one 300-yard game all season. Again, that performance came in their one game against the Cowboys with Dak Prescott starting, as he had nearly 350 yards and three scores.
Along with Mahomes’ yardage numbers, he is also getting 2.5 as the over/under for passing touchdowns. However, the over has +165 odds, meaning that a bet on him throwing 3 or more pays out a hefty sum. Feeling really bullish on a big Mahomes game? A same-game parlay with Mahomes over 300 yards and 3+ touchdowns can net you +260 odds.
An intriguing prop on the Eagles’ side involves their quarterback, Jalen Hurts. No other player on either team scored more touchdowns during the 2022 regular season than Hurts’ 13 rushing scores, and he did that while missing two-plus games. Hurts also had a touchdown in each of the Eagles’ two playoff games. A pick on him to run for a touchdown gets -115 odds, a little less than even money.
(For context, Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 12 touchdowns in the regular season, though he added three scores combined in KC’s two postseason contests.)
Another intriguing option to boost your odds with Hurts is to pick him to be the first touchdown scorer in the game, coming in at +700. The Eagles have scored a touchdown on their first offensive series in 10 of their 19 games this season, compared to just five for the Chiefs. Of those ten games, Hurts scored that opening touchdown on three occasions. Plus, given Eagles coach Nick Sirianni’s penchant for keeping his offense on the field on 4th downs — and using Hurts on quarterback sneaks on short-yardage — an aggressive approach from Philadelphia early seems plausible.
Of course, there are hundreds of other player prop bets available, ranging from touchdown scorers to receiving and rushing yards props. Think former Packers receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling will have a big game, for example? His over/under on receiving yards is 34.5.
Drop into the comments with any prop bets that you find intriguing and start the conversation!