The teams are set, and the ad scripts have been proofed. Super Bowl LV is just over a week away, and the online sports betting community is pouring over mountains of data to identify thousands of different angles on hundreds of different Super Bowl prop bets.
Fortunately for you, dear gambler, I’m here to highlight some early favorites in the deeper recesses of the BetMGM Sportsbook. It’s time to take that Groundhog Day money that dear ol’ Aunt Izadora sent you and put it to good use!
As I said in my prop bet profile from last week’s AFC Championship, it’s important to remember that we’re hunting for things that could happen. Early next week, Andrew Doughty and I will break down the game’s point spread and total numbers on High Motor by BetMGM; for now, I’m taking a first pass through some of the game prop numbers and looking for value opportunities.
For this crop of bets, I’m drilling down even deeper, asking myself what the first half of Super Bowl LV might look like.
For one thing, I think a lot of people expect Tampa to look energized and offensively dynamic right out of the gate. It has been well-documented that Tampa will become the first team to ever play a home game in the Super Bowl, and so public sentiment – even though it favors Kansas City on the whole – is likely to think highly of Tampa in the first half.
The reality is that the majority of players on Tampa’s roster not named Tom Brady are inexperienced at the Super Bowl level and could be overwhelmed by the unprecedented nature of the moment. When you factor in the idea that there is often a great profit margin in betting against public narratives, I’m looking at a play on 1Q Under 9.5 +145. And before the Chiefs’ potent offense scares you off, consider that each of Kansas City’s January playoff games included first quarters with exactly nine points of offense.
While we’re on the subject of Kansas City’s offense, how about a flyer on the first scoring play of the game? Because the quarterbacks in this game are Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, this particular market understandably favors touchdowns, with Kansas City Touchdown +130 and Tampa Bay Touchdown +180 marking the most likely occurrences according to the odds. Further down the list is where you’ll find Kansas City Field Goal +550.
Given the fact that Kansas City has suffered some struggles in the red zone this year, this feels like good value to me. I especially like it because I believe Kansas City will spend much of the first half running the ball right at Tampa’s very capable defensive front, leading to more threes than sevens.
There are plenty of ways to lose this bet – the coin toss alone might screw you – but if you’re hunting for ROI, this definitely has potential.
Super Bowl Winner
As I said, I’ll provide a full breakdown on the point spread in a few days, but I do want to look at some early props that involve game outcome. The first is a halftime/outcome switch parlay that predicts Tampa will lead at halftime, but Kansas City will ultimately win. At +550, this could be an interesting addition to your card – particularly if you’re planning on taking the Chiefs straight up or against the spread. The Bucs have led at halftime in five of their last seven; the Chiefs haven’t trailed at halftime in either playoff game, but their penchant for slow starts (dating back to last year’s Wildcard game against the Texans) is fairly well-known at this point.
Speaking of halftime: Tampa Bay 1H TT Over 13.5 +100. The Bucs haven’t no-showed in a first half since Week 15, so this feels like a good opportunity for a soft hedge for KC fans.
Finally, we come to a special prop that MGM has posted: Kansas City trails by 9+ points at any stage of the game but Wins by 9+ Points +600.
You might feel like this overlaps a bit too much with the Tampa HT/KC Winner bet I already mentioned, but I like this bet because I’m not tied to an explicit halftime status. They can trail at any time, rather than a specific moment. Maybe it’s an early pick-six; maybe it’s just a garden-variety slow start. Either way, I have a much larger window for Tampa to lead before I have to come. Nine is on the right side of a big key number (10). So there’s a lot to like in this bet, especially at +600.
The one thing that I don’t like is that this feels like a cutesy public narrative bet. But is it a public narrative when it’s also true? Kansas City trailed big in multiple playoff games last season. It trailed San Francisco by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter of last year’s Super Bowl. Heck, it trailed Buffalo by nine in last week’s AFC Championship Game! So at a certain point, it’s both a public narrative and a statement of fact. I think the bookmaker who wrote this prop thinks he’s baiting a square hook, but the reality is that this prop has some real historical legs. Of course, this is an improbable prop, but Kansas City’s offense allows it to do some improbable things.
How do you square those two mathematical opposites? You’ll probably need a smarter data scientist than me to answer that. But if you’re feeling conservative, you might just opt for something a little more straightforward, like Kansas City -8.5 +200
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Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development. Follow him on Twitter: @chaseakiddy.