2020 Super Bowl Props: Gatorade, First Touchdown, MVP Bets & More
The best non-March Madness betting day of the year is only one day away, and we have plenty of Super Bowl props to choose from at online sportsbooks. From who will win the coin toss to what Gatorade color will be dumped on the winning coach, and everything in between, I’m here to walk through my reasoning for every Super Bowl bet I’m placing on Sunday. Let’s go.
Super Bowl 2020 Betting Odds: Chiefs vs. 49ers
The Coin Toss
This is easy as it gets. Heads is undefeated in the last three 49ers Super Bowls. If you know anything about statistics you know that means there’s a 100% chance it will be heads again this year. Consider betting on the coin toss with a friend instead of at a sportsbook. The Pick: Heads
Also read: Three Tips for Betting the Super Bowl
Super Bowl Picks
I think it makes sense that before we can really get into picking props for the game, I should give my prediction for the game. Everything will be based off of the outcome of the ballgame, so let’s start there.
I have a little model I like to use to predict the final score of NFL games. I use DVOA as my main source of projection, and for the most part it is pretty in line with Vegas spreads. My model has this game at Niners 23.9, Chiefs 23.7. A very close game with a total of 47.6 points.
That gives me a decent baseline, but this game is a lot different than any regular season game. There’s a lot more planning and strategy that goes into this game, so we can’t expect to see the same two teams we saw all season long. So who will win the strategy battle? I think it comes down to two matchups…
Kyle Shanahan vs. Steve Spagnuolo
These guys faced each other six times from 2009 to the present in various coaching positions. Spags was Rams’ HC, Saints DC, and Giants DC before he landed in KC. Shanahan was the Texans OC, Redskins OC, and Falcons OC before he took over the head coaching role in San Francisco.
Spagnuolo’s first three battles with Shanahan were all as the HC of the Rams. He went 1-2 in those games despite facing off with Matt Schaub, late-career Donovan McNabb, and Rex freaking Grossman. The next three match-ups featured Spagnuolo as a defensive coordinator. Things didn’t get any better. Shanahan’s offense rolled in all three match-ups, which featured Robert Griffin III, Matt Ryan, and CJ Beathard.
Shanahan is 5-1 career against Spagnuolo. From a coaching and game planning standpoint, the Niners offense has a pretty significant edge over the Chiefs defense. Adjusted Team Total: 27 points
Andy Reid vs. Robert Saleh
There’s not nearly as much history between these two guys given the fact that Saleh just moved into his first Defensive Coordinator role in 2017, so we’ll have to get creative here. Let’s look at the style of defense the Niners play and see how Reid has fared against those types of defenses in the past.
We’ll start in the most logical place – the pass rush. The Niners were 28th in the league with a 20.3% blitz rate this season (NFL avg 29%). Despite the low blitz rate, they were 2nd in the league in adjusted sack rate at 9.1% (NFL avg 7%). This is just a statistical way of telling us what we already know: The 49ers defensive line is fucking incredible.
Looking at the last two seasons’ worth of stats, the combination and Reid and Mahomes hasn’t really cared whether a team blitzes a lot or whether a team has a high adjusted sack rate, they just seem to score on everybody. The closest comparison we can make is this year’s Broncos defense, who had a 7.6% adjusted sack rate despite only blitzing 24.1% of the time. The Chiefs scored 23 points in that game, which doesn’t tell us much considering they held the Broncos to 3 points.
The only other time in the last three years the Chiefs have faced a team with an adjusted sack rate over 9% was in 2017 when they faced the Steelers and their 9.8% rate. The Chiefs offense, led by Alex Smith, scored only 13 points in that game. To chase after one game two years ago with a lesser quarterback would be stupid, but I think it’s fair to say the Niners pass rush will give Andy Reid some minor fits on Sunday. Adjusted Team Total: 23 points
Final Score Prediction
I think that the only real coaching mismatch in this game is Kyle Shanahan’s underrated offensive mind going up against Steve Spagnuolo and a mediocre Chiefs defense. Starting with the DVOA model prediction of SF 23.9, KC 23.7 and making slight adjustments for gameplanning, I’m landing on the 49ers and the under.
Score: 49ers 27, Chiefs 23
2020 Super Bowl Props: Chiefs vs. 49ers
Player props in the Super Bowl are always interesting to me. The coaches will strategize for two weeks, choosing which guys they’ll let beat them and which guys they’ll want to try to take away. I’ll look a little bit at this past season to see if I can find any major trends from either defense.
I am also a huge fan of fading recency bias. Some of these props could be artificially high or low due to public perception of players’ roles over the last few games. I think I can get an edge on a few of these bitches. Let’s go.
Player to Score the First TD
There’s not much analysis that goes into this pick other than “ooh that’s a nice payout”. I take a guy from both teams to score a TD and just hope to God he’s out there when they’re threatening. I’ve never gotten one of these wrong before and I don’t plan on being wrong on Sunday.
First TD Picks:
Raheem Mostert o/u 77.5 Rushing Yards
This one’s easy to me for a couple reasons. For one, this is prime recency bias. Everybody thinks Mostert is some sort of phenom because he ran through a few gaping holes in the NFC Championship Game. He might be a popular DFS play in Superbowl showdown contests, but he’s still the same average running back he’s always been.
The other reason is that the Chiefs changed their game plan to take away Derrick Henry in the AFC Championship Game, and I would expect them to try to do the same to the Niners rushing attack. Kyle Shanahan is not going to run into a defense that is making themselves vulnerable to the passing game. I expect the Chiefs to come out with one deep safety and ten guys near the line of scrimmage, and I think Shanahan will respond by passing the ball early and often. The Pick: UNDER
Deebo Samuel o/u 54.5 Receiving Yards
This follows naturally from the theory that Kyle Shanahan will look to pass in this game. Deebo Samuel is incredible and also his first name is Deebo which is awesome. The natural thought is that rookies will be jittery in the Super Bowl. I think the opposite. I think it’s house money. If you get a ring in your first NFL season, you’re set for life. If you don’t, you have plenty of time to get back. I don’t think there’s any pressure on him and I don’t see how he doesn’t have at least 55 yards here. The Pick: OVER
George Kittle Longest Reception o/u 24.5 yards
I’ll keep this short and sweet. If the Chiefs come out and try to stop the run, Kittle will get separation and find running room for an early catch of 30+ yards. The Pick: OVER
Travis Kelce o/u 74.5 Receiving Yards
If you go through the 49ers box scores and look at their opponents’ receiving stats throughout the year, you’ll notice a common theme: Whoever you expect to be the top receiver was the top receiver. Davante Adams for the Packers, Michael Thomas for the Saints, Julio Jones for the Falcons, and so on. Just because they have a great defense doesn’t mean they completely take away your best options. So naturally the first guys that come to mind are Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
The next step is to choose between the two of them. Luckily, there’s another trend in 49ers games this season: They don’t like to give up big plays. They allowed only 34 pass plays of 20+ yards this season (Fewest in the NFL) and only 5 pass plays of 40+ yards (T-2nd fewest). Tyreek Hill loves big plays. Travis Kelce is fine with dinking and dunking his way down the field. Kelce is the guy here. The Pick: OVER
Patrick Mahomes Longest Rush o/u 12.5 yards
I mean this one is just a vivid visual in my head: It’s 3rd-and-13, the Niners secondary has the receivers locked down, the defensive line almost gets home with a four-man rush, but Mahomes slips out of the pocket and there’s nobody within 10 yards of him. He darts forward for 15 yards before sliding down, popping up and yelling in celebration as he signals a first down and fires up his teammates. I just talked myself into putting even more money on this bet. The Pick: OVER
Sammy Watkins o/u 48.5 receiving yards
I think Sammy Watkins is kind of bad at football. I also think that when he has big games it’s because the defense is preoccupied trying to stop Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. I don’t think the Niners play that style of football. They don’t focus too much extra attention on any one player, so I don’t think Sammy Watkins is going to be a beneficiary of that the way he has been at times throughout the season. The Pick: UNDER
2020 Super Bowl Postgame Props
Just because the final whistle blows doesn’t mean there isn’t still money to be made. We’ve got a few more bets to settle before we call it a night.
Super Bowl Gatorade Color
I’m quite confused at what has gone on with the Gatorade shower prop betting. . As you probably know, you can bet on what color the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach will be every year. This year, purple opened as a +1400 underdog, but so much money has come in on purple that it is now a -105 favorite. That’s a sign if I’ve ever seen one.
Even still, I would only take those odds if I knew for an absolute fact that one team had only purple Gatorade on their sideline, and even then it would be an iffy bet. I’m going with my gut, which is a surprising longshot. The Pick: BLUE (11/1)
Super Bowl MVP
With everything I’ve said about the game and my prediction for the game, there’s really only one offensive guy I could pick to win MVP: Jimmy Garoppolo. If they win this game 27-23 like I expect, that means it’s almost guaranteed to be Jimmy. The Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo (+250)
The key word there was offensive. I’m obviously going to throw a couple bets on longshot defensive players as well.
The Longshot Picks:
- Nick Bosa (30/1)
- Kwon Alexander (200/1)
|First TD||Kendrick Bourne||+1700|
|First TD||Demarcus Robinson||+3100|
|Mostert RuYd||Under 77.5||-112|
|Samuel ReYd||Over 54.5||-112|
|Kittle LgRec||Over 24.5||-118|
|Kelce ReYd||Over 74.5||-118|
|Mahomes LgRu||Over 12.5||-126|
|Watkins ReYd||Under 48.5||-112|
More Super Bowl 2020 Betting Tips
Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images